Behind the Eight Ball

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(1).  To be under intense pressure.


“Dude, Mike is really behind the eight ball this week.  He’s got three client meetings, two presentations and a date with the hot chick in Accounting who thinks he’s the V.P. in charge of Marketing…which he’s not.”


Belt and Suspenders

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(1).  To do way more than you need to do to make sure your a** is covered from every angle you can think of.


“Well, it may seem like a lot, but we really want to take a belt and suspenders approach to this issue.”


Bench Strength

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(1).  A sports related term used to describe the depth of talent a company possesses, and then used again to justify bringing every single one of those people to a meeting.


“I know bringing 15 people seems a bit excessive, but I want to show that we have bench strength back at the office.  I think it totally makes sense to have Kathy come!  Bringing the secretary shows we’re organized in my opinion.”


Bend the Steel

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(1).  To try really, really hard (but still fail).


“I’ve been bending the steel on this, but I just don’t think I’m going to be able to get you that purple Geo you’re looking for.”


Best Practice

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(1).  An unofficial procedure that a small, smug subset of employees deems better than those of their peers.


“Well, as a best practice, my team always sends each of our clients a personalized holiday card and a little tin of cookies.  Our client retention rate is 0.1% better than the firm average, so it’s clearly worth it.”


Bio Break

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(1).  A term often used during long meetings as a euphemism for stopping said meeting so everyone can take a leak.


“Okay, everyone…while this presentation on which design we should use on our promotional flash drives has been riveting, it’s time for a bio break.  Anyone else have to use the big boys’ room?  That’s right, I call it the big boys’ room….no need for lies.”


Props to Kevin B. for the submission.


Bio Buddy

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(1).  That guy who you always see in the office bathroom who (I guess) drinks coffee at roughly the same pace as you do.


“So, I saw my bio buddy again today.  I’ve got to say, I really would prefer that he leave his Blackberry on his desk.  It’s just gross, man.”


Blink Decision

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(1).  A no-brainer.


“So, Andy, what your saying is … if we set the heat in the office at 50 all the time, we can save thousands of dollars of overhead?  Sounds like a blink decision to me.”


Blocking and Tackling

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(1).  Getting back to the basics of the job.


“Look, Joe…I think it’s really great that you are writing all of these articles lately.  But, I think you really need to focus on blocking and tackling for a while.  When was the last time you gave any of your clients a call?”


Props to Joyce G. for the submission.


Bogey Golf

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(1). A golf reference used to describe piss poor performance on any particular dealing with a client.


“That was really bogey golf right there Scott.  You left the flash drive with the presentation on it in your car, you wore a Spuds MacKenzie tie and to top it all off you didn’t even offer them a Fresca.  Everyone loves Fresca!”


Boil the Ocean

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(1).  To try to do too much at once, usually resulting in total, abject and complete failure.


“I like where you’re going with this, Jim, but let’s not try to boil the ocean on our first pitch.  Let’s just focus on phase one of the proposal and see where it goes.”


Bomb Thrower

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(1).  Someone who always asks some embarrassing “gotcha” question just before a decision’s about to be made.


“So, we had the prospect on the ropes, ready to sign us up, and his lousy, bomb thrower consultant asks us to walk him through how we pass along our costs to customers.  I have no freakin’ idea how we do that!  I’m a salesman, not a goddamned accountant!”



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(1).  A conference (1) that requires travel to a hotel or resort (usually connected to a golf course), (2) whose sessions can be easily avoided, and (3) which includes multiple occasions to generously partake of the hotel bar, usually in the form of sponsored cocktail hours.


“I love these boondoggles.  Nothing but golf, booze and time away from the kids.  By the way, did anyone go to that ‘Ethical Financial & Banking Practices’ seminar?  No?  Ok good, I didn’t either.  2008 is going to be a great year!”


Boots On The Ground

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(1).  Actual people who staff one of your branch offices.  Did you ever see “The Office”?  It’s like that.


“So, we’re looking to expand into Uzbekistan.  We’re going to need boots on the ground over there, so…Steve?  Up for a road trip?”


Brainstorming Session

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(1).  An internal meeting (see pow wow) intended to generate ideas, which quickly devolves into (1) a complaint session about the company, (2) a general discussion on last night’s American Idol results, or (3) one employee explaining all of his or her ideas in detail while the others quietly nod and check their blackberries.


“Team, I really just want this to be a brainstorming session about the direction we want to go in this year, so please feel free to speak your minds.  Okay, to start, Ed will be informing you all of the direction we are going to go in this year.  Ed?”


Bread and Butter

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(1).  A term used to describe a low-margin business unit (see keep the lights on) which will never, ever be a major profit center, resulting in mediocre pay for its staff, further resulting in mediocre staff.


“Urinal-mint manufacturing is a bread and butter business, people.  We may not be flashy, but we’ll always be able to say that business doesn’t stink.”


Break-Glass Solution

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(1).  An emergency, last resort move that no one wants to do, but everyone would do if the alternative is fulfilling French fry orders.


“Yeah, so, it looks like the roll out of the new system didn’t work and none of our fixes … umm … fixed it.  I suppose we could turn it off and then back on again.  It’s kind of a break-glass solution, but it might work.”


Bricks and Mortar

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(1).  To have an actual office in another location (Psst!  It’s just a broom closet with a phone!), allowing the company to advertise a local presence (see boots on the ground) when, in fact, there is none.


“We want to start looking into expansion into that Appalachian Outlaws place on TV.  Now, we’re going to need bricks and mortar down there, so…Steve!  Congratulations!  You’re our new Regional Director!  Now, go get packed!”


Bridge The Gap

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(1).  To advance (at least in the mind of your HR department) to the “next level” through some kind of training or seminar or some other crap.


“Jim, we’d like to send you to Binghampton, New York for a week to attend the company’s Leadership Capability Strategic Initiative training.  We think this will help you bridge the gap between your current meaningless role to the all-new meaningless role we have in mind for you.”


Bright Spots

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(1).  Cool stuff somebody other than you did (see best practices).


“Some of the bright spots from this year came from our billing department, so kudos to them.  That new practice of getting invoices out with the correct mailing addresses really helped our bottom line.”


Props to David P. for the submission.


Bring Up To Speed

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(1).  To update someone (usually your boss or your boss’s boss) on what’s been going on while they’ve been golfing.


“Since I’ve been off-site this past week, please bring me up to speed on what’s happened at the office.”


“I’ll feel better about it when I get up to speed on what’s going on.”


“Please bring me up to speed on this matter.”


“We’ll bring you up to speed on the day’s top stories after this commercial break!”


Props to Pablo for the submission!


Bring Your Child To Work Day

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(1).  A day in which the lies parents tell their kids about their job are tested, with moderate to no success.


“Ok Danny, when daddy said he “worked with Derek Jeter”, he didn’t so much mean he played for the Yankees, as he cleans the locker room at Yankee Stadium.”


Brown Bag

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(1).  To attend a conference or seminar that encourages you to bring your own food.  You should think about getting on some better mailing lists or something, dude.


“So, I’m going to this talk about how to land clients tomorrow.  They told everyone to brown bag it, so I guess I’m bringing my lunch.  Come to think of it, they don’t seem very good at landing clients….


Brown Bag Lunch

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(1).  A marketing event for which your company is too cheap to spring for food.


“So, we’re all really excited about next Tuesday’s brown bag lunch.  We have a couple of speakers lined up … well, me and Jim here … and we’re hoping for a great turnout.  Just remind all the people you invited that there’s a Subway across the street … *sigh* ….”


Burning The Midnight Oil

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(1).  A term that can be taken in two very different ways.  On one hand, you are the rockstar employee who works late often to better the firms footprint within your industry.  On the other hand, you are that kiss-ass employee who works late often because you don’t have kids, friends, or anything worthwhile going on, which alienates your co-workers.  Work is great.


Boss – “Hey Matt, great to see that even on a Friday night you’re still here working and burning the midnight oil, thanks for all your hard work.”


Everyone Else in the Office – “Matt is such a dick.”


Business Of People

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(1).  Something you can use as an excuse when someone majorly screws up. (see also: Carbon-Based Error)


“Listen Mike, I understand you’re upset, but you have to understand that we’re a business of people.  “Sandy deleted the database”, “Sandy cost me tens of thousands of dollars”, tomato tomato…these things happen.  Cream?  Ok, no cream.”


Busy Work

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(1).  What you’re currently doing.


“I don’t know Vito.  I don’t really categorize what I do as busy work.  I mean, someone has to make sure we have toner, right?”



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(1).  Something everyone wants to get from everybody, especially when you have no idea what you’re doing (see air cover).


“Looks good, Alex, but I’d like to get Fred’s buy-in before we send it out.  I’m not sure either of us really know the downstream impact of this enhancement.”



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(1).  Something everyone wants to have, but no one wants to get.


“This proposal looks great, Alex, but I’d like to get some buy-in from the team before presenting it to the board.  I’m sure they’ll go along with your plan to cut costs by moving everyone into cubes and getting rid of the coffee machine.”



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(1).  A term used to explain to management how difficult it was to accomplish a particular task or transaction and that their input is neither appreciated nor wanted.


“The calculus of the deal is such that, we risk losing the entire contract if we hold out for a soda machine.”


Props to Jared P. for the submission.



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(1).  Because saying “schedule” isn’t sexy enough to bring all the boys to the yard.


“Alright Megan, how about we calendarize that pow wow for next month in Washington.  What?  We can’t say pow wow anymore?  We can’t call them the Redskins anymore?  Hmm, ok so let’s calendarize that meeting for next month in Washington.  What?  Ok ok, I’ll stop saying calendarize.  Let’s schedule that meeting next month in Washington.”


Props to DF for the submission!


Can of Worms

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(1).  Something you always end up opening just by asking a simple question.  I mean, how were you supposed to know that Rick’s wife wore an eye patch?  You didn’t even know Rick was married!


“Look, Steve … I don’t want to open up a can of worms here, but shouldn’t we be paying taxes on the money we’re making?”


Can’t Fax A Handshake

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(1). A term used by upper management to politely tell an employee that they don’t give their clients enough face time, and how disappointed they are with them about it.


“Well Scott, you should consider going into the city and taking the client out to lunch.  You know, you can’t fax a handshake!  Seriously though, go take them out to lunch.”



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(1).  n.  The workload of an employee or team, which is always too much for them to handle, even when it is less than the previous time they complained about it.


(2).  adj.  A term used by an employee or team to indicate that their workload is too high and too much for them to handle, even when it is less than the previous time they complained about it.


“Listen guys, I am soooo over capacity here, there is no way I am going to get to everything this client needs.  I mean, who’s going to plan karaoke night if I don’t?  Bill’s not gonna do it!  He’s already covering me so I can plan karaoke night!”


Case Study

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(1).  An unnecessary (but so necessary) document a company uses to tout previous accomplishments and put stars in the eyes on new prospects so that they hire them.  Usually they are only created around well-known brands, because nobody cares that you helped that company down the hall do great…what do those guys do again?  Something with David Bowie memorabilia right?


“We’d like to show you a case study that we did for a company that sells David Bowie memorabilia.  Wait a minute, Mike!  I told you to make a case study for the Chloé site, not the David Bowie site!  When we get back to the office we’re gonna be making some ch ch ch changes!”


Center of Excellence

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(1).  Somewhere hot and humid where labor costs are more than reasonable.


“That’s right…we’ve just recently expanded our center of excellence in Bangalore.  Now we have even more “Steve from Dallas”-es ready to tell all of our customers to turn their computers off and then back on again!”


Central Casting

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(1).  Where guys in blue shirts with white collars come from.


“Boy, did you see that guy who just interviewed with us?  Right out of central casting!  There must’ve been a sale at Brooks Brothers yesterday or something!”


Changing Behaviors

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(1).  Something every new manager thinks they can do, when in reality they are the only ones who end up changing.


“I see part of my new role as changing behaviors around here.  From now on, everyone needs to be at their desk by 8 o’clock.  Well, not everyone…not me, anyway….”


Cinco de Mayo

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(1).  Cinco de Mayo is a day dedicated to the commemoration of the Mexican army’s highly unanticipated victory over the French (stupid French) at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862.  Of course, in the United States it is celebrated as a day of Mexican heritage pride by a bunch of non-Mexican heritage white people appropriately buying a ton of avocado’s, drinking Corona, and ordering in from Moe’s.  Ole’.  It is often confused with Mexico’s independence day, which is September 16th.


(2).  Some also believe today is the day the first bowl of guacamole was created, but that seems somewhat racist, so we don’t support that delicious interpretation.


Si usted puede leer esto, que si se puede, entonces usted sabe que he usado una herramienta de traducción de chabolas, entonces usted sabe que este día es paparruchas total y sólo una razón para que la gente irse del trabajo temprano y se cargan en un día laborable. Don t me malinterpreten, estoy literalmente salir por la puerta en On The Border en este momento, ¡pero tanto realistas, esta fiesta no realmente captura la esencia de lo que se supone que este día para estar a punto. Todo el mundo sabe que Cinco de Mayo conmemora el primer lote de guacamole está realizando y todas estas partes son una farsa completa. Independientemente, Feliz Cinco de Mayo!


For funsies, feel free to copy and paste the above into Google Translate.  The sentences will be fragmented, but hey, you’ll get it.


Circle the Wagons

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(1).  A Western-inspired term that makes an emergency meeting between team members when an account goes into crisis mode, feel like an unfortunate run-through of Oregon Trail.  Which is pretty much every run-through of that game.


“We need to circle the wagons on the Silverstein account, it may have just died of dysentery.”



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(1).  An employee who deals with customers regularly.  While usually the highest paid employees, these guys really try to do as little actual work as possible so they can spend more time sleeping with their way-hotter interns.


“Well, I don’t care what you heard.  I didn’t want to be client-facing anymore.  Not enough challenge.  I felt my skills would be better suited to the letter management department.  Luckily, my bosses agreed.”


Close the Loop

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(1).  An idiom that is used when an email is sent to a group of people solely for the purpose of confirming something is complete (so you can all get off my case about it already!).


“Hi everyone – Just to close the loop on this, the wire went out today, so we should be all set.  Great job getting this done for his Royal Highness, the Prince of Nigeria, so quickly.  I can’t believe we were holding all of his money in someone else’s account all this time!”


Color Inside The Lines

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(1).  To be careful in your work.  You, I’m looking at you.


“I don’t know what I’m going to do with Michelle.  She’s been working here for three years and still can’t seem to be able to color inside the lines on anything!  I think it may be time to find a new Michelle.”


Comfort Zone

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(1).  The stuff you’re confident you’re good at, you know, like eating lunch.  Not to be confused with the more popular “Danger Zone”, because we all know what happens when you go there:




 “Hiiiiighwayyy to the comfort zone!  Riiiight into the comfort zone!  Buh dum, buh dum dum dum dum dum dum.”


“Bill, bill…..BILL!”


**snaps out of day dream**


“We are happy you are comfortable within your role, but I don’t think this budget meeting is the right place to sing it out loud…..and Kenny Loggins sucks.”




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(1).  To call or email someone, usually with the intent of asking for something, but rarely just to say hello (see reach out).


“Hey Bill, just wanted to connect with you about that proposal that’s due later today.  Yea the email I sent a few minutes before I called was just to make sure you got the message.”