Instead of Shooting Fish in a Barrel, We Should Go Out and Buy a Fishing Pole

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(1).  A suggestion to stop focusing on many small action items (see low-hanging fruit) and target one, major problem to resolve.  The person who used this thought he was super clever.


“Look, guys, instead of shooting fish in a barrel, we should go out and buy a fishing pole and fix the underlying system issue that’s causing all of these other problems.  I’m awesome, by the way.”


Institutional Arrogance

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(1).  When management thinks they are smarter than everyone else, including their regulators.


(2).  When management thinks they can simply manage their way out of anything.


“Well, Ken…I think there’s a little institutional arrogance coming out of the executive office on this Reg. W thing.  If it were me, I probably wouldn’t have opened the meeting by calling the Fed examiners a bunch of pencil-pushing bureaucrats.  But, that’s just me.”


Props to Tim P. for the submission.


Internal-Use Only

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(1).  A way to identify a document or email that should not be sent outside of the firm, unless of course you are a disgruntled employee seeking a spectacular exit from your current job.


“Dude, I’m pretty sure that spreadsheet you just sent to the Wall Street Journal was internal-use only.”


Ivory Tower

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(1). A magical place where lawyers dwell in which all situations have logical explanations and the real world is not permitted to distract from their pure, academic, legal analysis.



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(1).  A word that compares an individual who excels in their particular field to Luke Skywalker, Yoda, and that other guy Samuel L. Jackson played in the awful Star Wars prequels. When you need your payday loan to be cheap, you go to


“Pat here is our resident SEO jedi and by far the best option to achieve your websites organic goals.  So these other guys aren’t the agency you’re looking for, move along.”


Join Forces

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(1).  Term used in advertising when two firms merge (due to takeover, government intervention, bankruptcy, etc.) to imply that customers should actually be pleased with what will likely result in poorer service and higher fees.


“We are proud to announce that the Bank of the Southern Climes has joined forces with First National Bank of Blister County to bring you an even better client experience than ever before.  Please note the following branch closings…”



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(1).  To work on multiple tasks or assignments at once (see balls in the air), often used during stress-induced nervous breakdowns occurring after a new, unexpected additional assignment has been given.


“I’m juggling so many things right now, I can’t take it!  If Fred gives me one more thing to do, I’m going to go postal!”


Jump Ship

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(1).  To quit your job after learning (or strongly suspecting) your company is going down.


“So, I heard Aaron jumped ship last week.  That’s the second guy to go in the last two weeks!  And guess who’s getting all their accounts?  Go on, guess!”


Jumping Off Point

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(1).  A nice way to tell someone their proposal (which they thought was great) needs serious revisions.


“Thanks for that, John.  I think it’s a great jumping off point for us to nail down how to handle this project.  Eric, why don’t you run point on this going forward…”


Keep in the Loop

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(1). To make sure you have sufficient air cover for whatever you’re working on by cc-ing everyone you can think of on your emails.


“Well, I’ve been keeping Jim in the loop on this the whole time, so he’s definitely aware of what’s going on.  Definitely.”


Keep Some Powder Dry

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(1).  To only execute a portion of an investment plan, just in case your recommendations end up sucking.


“Given the markets lately, I’d like to keep some powder dry in case we see a tactical move we’d like to make down the road.  That’s okay, I’m not really sure I understand what I just said either…”


Keep The Lights On

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(1).  A way for members of a steady, but weak business unit to justify their continued existence to the rest of the firm.


“C’mon, Larry, cheer up.  Here at Best Buy, there’s no shame in being assigned to the wire department.  Sure, it’s not like it’s TVs, but it keeps the lights on!”


Key Takeaway

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(1).  The main point you gleaned from a relentlessly long and confusing conference call.  A key takeaway is generally addressed within the first three to five minutes of the call, followed then by an hour or so of irrelevant fluff.


“Thanks for making the call, everyone.  I think it’s safe to say the key takeaway is that we need to have another call.  How does next Wednesday look for everyone?”



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(1).  The number of things you need to do to accomplish a task on your company’s computer system.  The term is usually used when proposing system upgrades that will never be approved.


“Megan, if we spend a few dollars now on this upgrade, it will significantly reduce keystrokes for the entire team, meaning we should be able to keep headcount static for at least another year.  Bangalore?  No, I wasn’t aware we were moving Operations to Bangalore…”


Kick The Tires

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(1). A term used in initial talks with clients to show them the benefits of working with your company.


(2). The process of trying to belittle and confuse a prospective employee during an interview to make sure they know what they’re talking about and are a good fit for the company.


“Make sure you kick the tires a little bit this time Lynne, tell him we are looking for top talent to make our sandwich shop successful….if he mentions he used to work in a deli, show him the door.”


Props to Mark R. for the submission.



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(1).  n.  Football-inspired term often used to describe the first presentation of a new product or service offering, intended to provide employees with a feeling of excitement.


(2).  v.  To voluntarily start a conference call, mainly in an effort to look important and/or in charge.


“Does anyone know the date of the kick-off meeting?  Does anyone know the name of the client?”


Kill A Fly With A Sledgehammer

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(1).  To grossly overreact to a minor error or mishap, resulting in unproductive meetings, useless checklists, indecipherable procedures, overlapping layers of approval and other bureaucratic nonsense.


“Talk about killing a fly with a sledgehammer!  After Sam double-billed that client last month, they now want us to have two managers review and approve all our bills before they go out!  Why do I have to be punished because Sam can’t send out mail properly?!”


Kissing Frogs

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(1).  To take in a bunch of crummy accounts, hoping one of them will eventually turn into a good account.


“No, no … we’re definitely going to have to kiss some frogs along the way, but if just one or two of them convert … now, that’s a good business!”


Kissing Frogs

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(1).  Taking on a bunch of crummy accounts in hopes that one or two of them will turn into a good account.  Some do, most don’t.


“Look, sometimes you just have to keep kissing frogs until one of them turns into a prince!  One of these companies is bound to go public someday!  And when it does, we’ll be ready!”


Kleenex Issue

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(1).  When your product or service becomes synonymous with it’s function. (i.e. Kleenex is a brand of tissue, not the tissue itself, and Google is a search engine, yet people use the brand name as the actual action of searching.  See, now you get it, and if you don’t and are upset about not getting it, then grab a Kleenex and go Google it, lady).


“You see Ted, your problem is that you have somewhat of a Kleenex issue on your hands.  On one hand, everyone knows your product and brand, on the other, nobody can differentiate between the two and your competitors use both in all of their marketing material.  Guess that patent idea I gave you 10 years back makes a whole lot of sense now, doesn’t it Ted?”


Know Enough To Be Dangerous

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(1).  A term used when an individual isn’t an expert in your particular field, but knows enough about it to get you in trouble when you screw up.


“So Scott, I’m certainly no IT expert, I mean, I know enough to be dangerous, but don’t you think setting the password to the server as “server password” could have led to that virus?  Boss wants to see you by the way.”



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(1).  Stands for “key performance indicator”, which is something that call center in Bangalore points to every time you start complaining about their bill.


“As you can see from Slide 8 of the deck, our KPIs in GUI maintenance are right on par with our SLA.  Any questions?”


Props to KGH for the submission.


Labor Day

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(1).  Declared a federal holiday in 1894 by President Grover Cleveland, Labor Day (according to Wikipedia, at least) was originally intended to commemorate the social contributions of the labor unions.  Today, it is the unholy declaration of the end of summer for millions of children and teachers everywhere.  As for the working man, it just means his morning commutes are about to start getting colder and colder each day.


“I can’t wait for Labor Day this year!  It means all of my kids are going back to school and my weekends will now be filled with soccer games and gymnastics competitions which for some reason are always scheduled for Sundays at 1 pm!  Hooray!”


Lateral Move

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(1).  The act of quitting a job in favor of the same job at a different company, resulting in zero career advancement and, likely, little to no increase in salary.  Lateral Moves are only acceptable when (1) you are about to be fired, (2) you just got divorced and need to relocate, or (3) you work in Wilmington, Delaware and your new job is in a real city.


“Yeah, so I’m happy…I know it’s kind of a lateral move for me, but I think is going to be around forever!”


Laugh Test

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(1).  A gauge of viability of a political candidate’s proposals and/or credentials, generally employed by their opponent and the good people at MSNBC (if a Republican) or Fox News (if a Democrat).  Historically, neither candidate passes this test…ever.


“C’mon, David…the math behind Mitt’s budget plan doesn’t pass the laugh test!  Now, the President’s plan to spend trillions on programs you’ll never hear from again on the other hand…that’s real change you can believe in!”



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(1). n – The release of a new product, service offering or application, intended to get empolyees excited about something that likely has no impact on them whatsoever.


(2). v – To release a new product, service offering or application.  The term is most often used by IT to allow employees to pretend the application they created (which likely will be used to improve the company’s email inbox capacity) has contributed to the launch of the Starship Enterprise.


Launch Party

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(1). An event that coincides with the launch of a particular product or service.  While usually occurring weeks, if not months after said launch, it is a great reason to get drunk on the company’s dime and prepare for the inevitable downsizing of the development team.


“Hey everyone, we are having the launch party at Jamesons on 2nd.  Mark, Joel and Melissa you guys should totally come!  You were crucial to the development and it would be a great networking opportunity for all of you.”


Laundry List

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(1).  A list with no laundry items included.


“Hey Boss, I got a guy on the phone over here with a laundry list of complaints about our site.  The question I got is – why does a porn site have a customer service number anyway?!”


Props to JG for the submission.


Lawyers’ Hours

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(1).  Endless workdays, typically experienced by junior attorneys, which ultimately lead to either (i) a large bonus based on billable hours, (ii) a speedy move to another industry, or (iii) death.


“Still keeping those lawyers’ hours, Bill?  Well, I started a website a while back and now I make my own hours…in between visits to the unemployment office anyway.”


Learning Opportunity

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(1).  A nice way to say “failure”.


“Well, Rob … I would consider losing that $100 million account a great learning opportunity for you.  Wherever you end up, I’m sure they’ll appreciate the experience you gained here.”


Legacy Clients

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(1). A company’s first clients that help them get to the point of notification that they no longer service clients of their size.


“Oh god, Bill from Fountains! Fountains! Fountains! is still on board?  I thought we got rid of all of those legacy clients after the merger?  Ok, let’s just send him an email from Ted’s outlook saying that we can no longer service his needs.  Ted?  He won’t care, he’s a team player!”


Let’s Take That Offline

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(1).  What the host of a conference call says to try to regain control after the call has been hopelessly sidetracked by an irrelevant issue or question.


“Hey Tom, thanks for raising that issue, but let’s take that offline so we can get back to actual topic of our call today.”


Props to Terry D. for the submission.


(2).  May be used to let the room know that leadership is not willing to talk about the subject at hand.


“This has been a great discussion, but let’s take that topic offline and move on.”


Props to Rob for the submission.



Level Of Effort Analysis

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(1).  How Ops or Tech tells you they have no interest in doing whatever it is you want them to do.


“Hmm … so, you’d like us to take over the quarterly account performance metrics reporting … well, I think the first step is for us to conduct a level of effort analysis to see if we are able to resource that … we’ll get back to you ….”


Level The Playing Field

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(1).  To try to make your offering measure up to your competitors.  It doesn’t.


“So, to level the playing field a bit, we revamped our marketing materials.  Now, we’re using glossy paper and … wait for it … color!”



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(1).  To call upon the resources of other areas of the company in order to arrive at a solution for a client request.


(2).  To employ the assistance of other areas of the firm, usually used by H.R. or management to suggest that the firm operates as one, cohesive unit, when in actuality it operates as several, disjointed and often combative factions.


“Look Susan, I just don’t think your leveraging your resources here enough.  There is absolutely no reason that you can’t ask the person sitting next to you where the bathroom is.”


Line of Communication

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(1).  Another way of describing the sporadic and (most likely) canned emails you send your clients every few months to make it look like you’re regularly in touch with them.


“Great talking to you, Richard.  Let’s be sure to keep the line of communication open on that mortgage you’re thinking about.  Remember – I’m here for YOU!”



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(1).  The opposite of “literally”.


“If Bob asks that question again in this meeting, I’m going to literally blow my head off!”


Props to T. P. for the submission.


Living Document

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(1).  A presentation, website or white paper continuously edited and tweaked by multiple parties with no end in sight, often resulting in resentment and conflict among the writers (see pride of authorship).


“Thanks, everyone, for joining this call to walk through our wastebasket management matrix again.  I think we’re getting close to finalizing it.  As you all know, this is a living document, so please feel free to suggest any changes or edits you might have.”


Lob in a Call

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(1).  To follow up (again) with someone who has repeatedly not gotten back to you.  The term is usually used in response to your bosses asking for a status update.


“Sure, Jim, I’ll lob in a call to the attorney to see where he is with our documents.  Although, I’m starting to think it might have been a bad idea to pay him in advance.”



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(1).  “Level Of Effort”, or in other words, how much of a pain in the processors it’s going to be to do whatever the business wants you to do to the system.


“Okay, so after further analysis, our LOE has changed a bit.  We now think it’s going to take 378.4 man-days to complete this phase of the project.  So, based on that, we’re going to need to allocate 25.6 man-boys to this effort.”


Long Runway

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(1).  The sales process for a prospect who takes a really, really long time to make a decision to hire you to do whatever it is you do.


“The Griffin opportunity?  We’ve got a long runway on that one.  This guy took two months to decide whether he was going to try out wearing gray socks to work!”