Corporate Jargon

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(1).  Terms those guys in your IT department keep using over and over again.


“What the hell was Ron even saying on that call?  He was just babbling a bunch of corporate jargon.  I’m not even sure what language he was speaking!”


Cost Center

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(1).  A department which doesn’t produce any revenue … you know, like the one 90% of you work in.


“So, we all know it’s been a tough year.  The good news is that layoffs are going to be focused in the cost centers … as always!  Now, give each other a high five and let’s go sell some bonds!”



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(1).  To take expensive and time-consuming exams and classes (see credentializer) in order to add impressive-sounding letters after your name on your resume.


“You’ve got to credentialize that resume, Tom.  I mean, look at me.  I’ve got my CFP, CLU, CTFA, ChFC, AIAF and Series 7, 63 and 24 licenses.  Where did I go to college?  Well…that was a long time ago…umm…”



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(1).  An exam or class taken in order to get some neat-sounding letters after your name.


“So I’m taking my 5th credentializer next week.  They don’t make business cards wide enough for me!”


Critical Mass

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(1).  A term used in an attempt to compare the results of a marketing effort to a nuclear event.  It’s not, by the way, a nuclear event … it’s not even going to be mentioned at next month’s town hall meeting.  Worth it!


“Well, I think we’ve achieved critical mass at this point so we can move on to the next stage … did somebody say ‘roadshow‘?!”


Cross Party Lines

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(1).  When a Congressman votes with the opposing party, thereby generally spelling the end to his or her career.


“I crossed party lines on this issue and we got it done for the American people.  Enjoy your new federally-issued, GPS-tracking implants, America!”


Cross Training

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(1).  A term used by companies to trick employees into doing two or more jobs for no extra pay.


(2).  A ruse companies use to give employees a sense that they are adding value to their resumes by learning a new skill when in actuality they are filling in for an employee who just quit until a replacement can be found.


“Hey Pat, now that Justin is gone we think it would be a great time for you be sit in on some cross-training sessions for paid search. The more you learn the better, right?”



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(1).  A sexually-charged euphemism for forcing employees to plug their company’s other products or services to their existing clients.


“Team, for the coming fiscal year, we are going to be focusing on the cross-pollination of the firm’s other products.  So, get out there and make sure your clients are all opening new checking accounts!  Toasters for all!”


Cry Wolf

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(1).  To habitually create a crisis where none truly exists.


“What?  Lou said we have a huge accounting error in our quarterly earnings report?  I’m sure it’s fine.  Lou just likes to cry wolf to bring attention to himself.”


Crystal Ball Analysis

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(1).  A term used when trying to deflect a client’s request for your opinion on the future of the economy or, even worse, his investment performance.


“Look, Brenda, I don’t want to give you some kind of crystal ball analysis about what’s going to happen two, three years from now.  What I can tell you is that your overall portfolio could’ve done a lot worse considering all the Facebook stock we bought!”


Cultural Evolution

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(1).  The attempt by management to institute changes to a company’s infrastructure in order to rejuvenate their dying and obsolete business (i.e. layoffs and store closings).


“Team, as you know, with changes in technology, the spending habits of our customers are shifting.  In response to these changing times, our company is undergoing a cultural evolution.  Corporate has asked all of us to attend an offsite next week, so they can roll out their new list of ‘Core Beliefs’.  Oh, not you, Joe…would you mind coming to my office after this meeting…?”


Props to Alex for the submission.


Cultural Intelligence

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(1).  The P.C. way to say “don’t giggle at your IT guy’s funny accent”.


“Guys, we really need to work on your cultural intelligence here.  You just can’t go around calling our helpdesk ‘Bollywood‘.”


Cut the Cord

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(1).  To split from a long-standing relationship (like, with a mentor or some other guy you’ve been cowering behind since you got here).


“Hey, Steve, got a minute?  Wanted to talk to you about possibly taking over some accounts on your own.  You and Gary make a great team, but I think you’re ready to spread your wings a bit.  Got to cut the cord at some point, right?”



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(1).  In most industries, an acronym for “cover your ass”.  The term is most often used when describing an email or voicemail sent to your boss about some problem before anyone else beats you to it (see post).


“You should send Tim an email about this right now, Joe.  Just as a CYA.  Better he hear it from you before anyone else…”


(2).  In accounting, an acronym for “call your accountant”.  The term is usually used after receiving some kind of letter from the IRS.


“I would CYA on this, Ken.  It says you haven’t filed a return since 1987.  I know you’re backing Ron Paul for president, but…”


Day 2 Project

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(1).  A term used by Operations or IT to denote a project or enhancement that is considered a low-priority (see nice-to-have), but is promised to be included in a later upgrade.  Day 2 projects generally never get started despite repeated promises by IT to allocate future resources to them “in the next release”.


“Thanks for the input there, Don…but I think we’re going to have to consider your plan to rebuild our transaction processing infrastructure a Day 2 Project for the time-being.  We have much more important things in the hopper right now…like our new app.  People love apps, Don.  People love apps.”


Dead Fish

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(1).  A term describing a type of handshake that can best be compared to holding a dead trout and shaking it about awkwardly.


“Did that guy just slip you the dead fish?  It was like try to grab a live salmon.  I tried to reel it in, but he just wasn’t having it.”


Death By A Thousand Cuts

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(1).  Having so many things to do, that you end up at the bar around the corner, having done none of them.

        altdeath by a thousand paper cuts (for you pencil-pushing office rats out there)


“Dammit, Greg!  This project is like death by a thousand cuts!  I have so many to-do’s on my list, I don’t even know which one to do first!  Arghh!”  (window breaking… …thud… …)



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(1). A term for a presentation or pitchbook (let’s face it, it’s a PowerPoint presentation), mainly invented to give marketing peeps a cool, new term for a presentation or pitchbook.


“Alright guys, let’s get this deck together for tomorrow’s meeting!  Pat, you take care of the slides for your department.  Dave and Dave, same for you.  Pam can you throw together some thoughts around the analytics piece?  I’ll work on the agenda and our logo slide.  Aaaannnddd break!”


Deep Dive

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(1). A nautical term used by management (as well as operations or IT…..really anybody) to describe further meetings or presentations which focus on a particular area.


(2). A term used as a defense mechanism by account managers to deflect clients’ questions and/or concerns about a particular topic that they have no answer or solution for.


“Hey guys, we are going to have to take a deep dive into this subject and get back to you with more in-depth findings.  Let’s pick it up on our next bi-monthly meeting.”




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(1).  A term used to indicate item(s) due at the end of a project.


“Oh, hey Tom…yeah, I know I still have a couple of outstanding deliverables on the conversion project.  Sunday?  Hmm…not sure that’s gonna happen.  I think Jim’s around this weekend, though.  Hey, Jim!  Tom says you gotta come in on Sunday!”


Props to Guy G. for the submission.



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(1).  The difference between what something is and what it probably should be.


“So, you’re estimate said this would cost $1,000, but you just sent me a bill for $5,000.  That’s what I would call a huge delta.”


Props to Paul A. for the submission.



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(1).  The art of taking a productive, manageable space and stuffing it with as many people as possible to save a couple of bucks on heat or air conditioning or something.


(2).  The art of continually hiring people who bring down the overall IQ of the firm.


“Alright, everyone … so next week we’re implementing the firm’s densification strategy.  Mike, you’re now sharing an office with Stacy.  Stacy, you’re also sharing an office with Will.  Will, you’re going to be sharing your space with Paul.  And, Paul … what’re your thoughts on standing all day?”


Die on the Vine

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(1).  When a project that you really want approved just kind of finds itself left off of the budget committee agenda over and over again until it is eventually forgotten altogether.


“I don’t understand it…it wasn’t a huge spend.  I guess it just kind of died on vine…”


Differentiating Factor

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(1).  That little something that makes you marginally better than those guys in the hallway waiting to be interviewed after you.


(2).  That little something that makes your firm marginally better than your competitors (each of which is probably being interviewed right after you).


“Well, I think our differentiating factor has to be our sharp suits.  I mean, everyone basically does the same thing, right?  We simply just look better doing it.”



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(1).  Someone who is a little bit behind the technological times, like Bill from accounting.  He can never understand why The Home Depot “follows” him around the internet, and is flabbergasted every time he accidentally hits the SIRI button on his iPhone his kids got him for Christmas and is asked how it can help him.  Oh Bill, bless his heart.


(2).  If “The Google” got you to this page, then you are a dinosaur.


(3).  If Bing got you to this page, then you are a dinosaur.


“So get this kids, I opened up the Internet Explorer and Binged how to properly stain a deck like you told me, and wouldn’t ya know it, a video popped up and played right in front of me.  Didn’t have to pay a nickel for it, amazing!  Dinosaur no more, am I right?!”


Diplomatically-Challenged Conversation

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(1).  An awkward, and ultimately heated, exchange where someone inevitably says something wildly inappropriate, often ending the conversation with a call to HR.


“Yeah, so … let’s just say it was a diplomatically-challenged conversation from start to finish.  I don’t think Mike is going to be going on any more client calls anytime soon.”



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(1). A miscommunication, usually resulting from one employee checking email while speaking with another employee and/or not writing down whatever it is he is supposed to do.


Discuss Live

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(1).  A suggestion made over email intended to indicate that something should not be discussed over email.


“Paul – We discovered an eency, weency, little SEC-type issue with those short sales you entered yesterday.  Let’s discuss live when you have a minute.  Thx.”



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(1).  That underselling new competitor that’s going to run your little mom-and-pop operation right out of business.


“Let’s be a disruptor in the sector, that’s where we want to be.”


Props to R. James for the submission.


Does That Make Sense?

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(1).  An oft-repeated question asked at meetings by someone who thinks everyone else in the room are a bunch of mouth-breathing imbeciles who can’t understand the painfully obvious point he is trying to make.


“So, the idea is to cut costs by upgrading our OS from Windows 3.1 to Windows 8…does that make sense?  Okay, fine…we’ll convert to Mac…”


Props to Bill E. for the submission.


Dog-and-Pony Show

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(1).  Your standard presentation to a prospect where you showcase all of the hot chicks in your office and a couple of grayhairs who should be able to answer hard questions, assuming they stay awake during the meeting.


“Jim, you and Ashley have to meet with this prospective client tomorrow at the W in Times Square.  Just give them the old dog-and-pony show and get out.  I don’t see this as a short-term prospect.”



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(1).  A term derived from the saying “Eating Your Own Dog Food”, which is when a company (let’s face it, it’s probably a software company) uses itself as the guinea pig for it’s own product to demonstrate how great it is. Ya know, kinda like what Microsoft should have done before it released Windows ME.


“I dunno Bill, you realize that everyone hates dogfooding this crap, right?  Y2K?  Like that’s really gonna happen.  That’s like saying BlackBerry won’t be around in 15 years.  Let’s just push this one out.”


Props to @Jeremiah for the submission!


Dogs And Ponies Stay Outside

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(1).  A term used to discourage overzealous salesmen from overselling themselves and/or their company’s services.


“Ok guys, I’m sorry, but I am going to have to stop you there.  While I find it fascinating that you have an office Roomba and have named it ‘Keith’ and treat it like it’s alive, I really need you to get to the point of this conversation.  Dogs and ponies stay outside, ya get what I’m sayin’?”


Don’t Let the Tax Tail Wag the Investment Dog

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(1).  In finance, an expression used in client meetings to (1) dissuade a client from making or avoiding investment changes purely to avoid (or incur) capital gains taxes, and (2) allow the speaker to show the client how witty he is, while throughly enjoying the sound of his own voice.


“Well, you know what they say, “don’t let the tax tail wag the investment dog“.  Am I right or am I right?  This guy knows what I’m talking about!”


Done Done

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(1).  Completed to the point that it no longer requires discussion, or in other words, 100% completed.


“Thanks for your feedback here, Mike, but this presentation is done done at this point, so next time you might want to respond to my request for comments a little quicker than three months later.”


Props to Josh B. for the submission.


Doom And Gloom

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(1).  When things aren’t going great for your company, this term starts to pop up in every meeting and water cooler conversation to liken the often not so bad situation to the coming apocalypse.


“Well folks the reports coming down from the mothership are all doom and gloom.  Sales and revenue may be at a comfortable level, but it sounds like the company retreat is going to be in Tampa this year.  Tampa!  Can you guys believe it?  Hard times.”


(2).  A term used to describe the curmudgeonly HR director’s attitude when things aren’t going well for the company.


“I can’t even talk to Lynne when she is like this, it’s all doom and gloom with her!  I mean, the bagel guy said he was only going to be on vacation for a week!”


Double Revenue

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(1).  Something used in management reporting that probably means you’re intentionally double-billing your clients every now and then.


“Okay, and if you’ll all flip to page 3, you’ll see our double revenue numbers for this year.  Not as solid as we would have liked, but we’re looking to ramp it up for next year.  Some kind of bundling fee or customer service charge or something…”


Props to Hilari for the submission.



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(1). Fishing term used to describe unknown issues that may arise as a result of a system change, often occuring in other, related systems.  The term is often used by IT as a catch-all excuse for avoiding making any improvement to the current system.


Dress For The Job You Want, Not The Job You Have

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(1).  A statement suggesting that wearing that Pearl Jam t-shirt to work probably isn’t the best path to management.


“Hey Dave, I saw you applied for the director’s position, that’s great!  One thing though.  “Ten” came out like 20 years ago so you might want to start throwing a button-down on once in awhile.  Dress for the job you want, not the job you have!  Ya know what I mean?”


Drill Down

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(1). To discuss a topic in more detail; usually suggested during meetings by someone who has no idea what anyone is talking about.


“I think we need to drill down a bit more on this one.  Just saying ‘it is what it is’ just doesn’t do it for me.”


Drink the Kool-Aid

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(1).  To accept corporate propoganda as truth, often feigned in an attempt to curry favor with one’s superiors.


(2).  To blindly follow what other companies are doing regardless of how silly and/or unprofitable the move may be.


“Alright, team, we’re just going to drink the Kool-Aid on this one.  I have a tee time in an hour.” 


“It’s always scary to drink the Kool-Aid, but it’s far scarier to be different!”


Drop the Ball

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(1).  Expression used to imply someone has not taken proper action when prompted (i.e. shirking or neglecting one’s duties).


“Scott really dropped the ball on that project when he skipped the conference call.  He never referred the information to the client and now they’re irate at us!”


Props to Brad for the submission.


Due Diligence

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(1).  Taking the proper amount of a time (read: an exorbitant amount of time) to vet through a current prospect, acquisition, project, endeavor, thought, initiative, yadda, yadda, yadda.


“Alright everybody, as Sandy always says, we have to do our due diligence on this. I put the timeline at 4-6 months to decide whether or not we are going to buy 1% milk or whole milk for the common kitchen area.  Andrea, you have 2 weeks to put a deck together on the pro’s and con’s for this initiative.”