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 http://www.creditcarecenter.com/Loans/cheap-payday-loans.htm


“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.”


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…”



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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?”


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!”


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!”


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 ….”


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!”


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.”



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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!”


Low-Hanging Fruit

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(1).  A euphemism for a low-quality class of prospective clients that the firm believes will be easy to “pick off”.  The term is usually used during strategy meetings in which management announces its decision to focus its marketing efforts on higher volume (as opposed to quality of clients) in order to meet its revenue goals.


“Okay team, this year we’re going to focus on the low-hanging fruit out there.  How do we do it?  VOLUME!  That’s how we do it!”


(2).  A term that describes “easy wins” used by salesmen to give prospective clients a sense of euphoria that you and only you hold the keys to their success.  After the contract is signed, the salesman will then exit the relationship, forever.


“What we’ll do first is go after the low-hanging fruit to give you a leg up on your competition.  Once that process is complete, your account manager will explain the plan going forward.”


Macro Progress

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(1).  A way IT guys claim to be making headway on a project even though they can’t produce any concrete evidence that they have done anything at all.


“The system conversion?  Well, we’re making macro progress on that and expect to pretty much be on schedule.  No, we’re not ready for a test yet…  No, you can’t talk to the team…  Sorry to cut this short, I’ve got to jump on another call.”


Maker-Checker Environment

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(1).  A fancy way to tell someone they need someone else to check their work … all the time.


“Hey Evan, I’m thinking we need to establish a maker-checker environment for depositing the cash from the register at the end of the day.  I’m just finding it hard to believe it when you tell me everyone in here yesterday was just browsing.”



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(1).  Assigned tasks with no obvious goal and with seemingly no end, usually assigned to new hires, interns or anybody working in a bank these days.


“Oh, c’mon Lisa!  This is just makework and you know it!  There is absolutely no reason we need to take information off of our system and put it into this spreadsheet.  I mean…it’s on the system!  Just go look there!”


Mass Affluent

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(1).  A nice way of describing clients who’re not that rich.


“Look, Jim … we’re not really targeting the mass affluent here.  We’d much rather compete with everyone else for the same 400 or so ultra-high-net-worth clients … hopefully score one or two and then retire before they inevitably get bored with us and move on.”


Meet and Greet

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(1).  A brief, substance-less client meeting intended to introduce an additional member of the team to the client (see face to face).  Meet and Greets often turn into in-depth discussions on substantive topics which the newly introduced team member neither expected nor prepared to discuss.


“Don’t worry, Tim.  This is just going to be a meet and greet.  That said, you might want to read up on complex tobacco-industry litigation techniques before the meeting.  See you tomorrow!”


Mental Detective Work

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(1).  Something your boss doesn’t want to have to do … ever.  So, keep it simple, stupid.


“Look, Jim … sounds like a great idea, but you really need to flesh out these requirements a bit more before we can propose this as a new project.  We can’t have our development team doing a lot of mental detective work to try to figure out what you’re driving at.”


Mental Gymnastics

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(1).  Something your boss doesn’t want to have to do in order to figure out whatever it is your 25-page spreadsheet is trying to get at.


“Look, Marie.  I want this presentation to be short and simple…we don’t want John to have to go through a bunch of mental gymnastics to figure out what we’re showing him here.”


Mental Health Day

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(1).  A day you take off when you just don’t feel like going into work.  Like tomorrow.


“Hey Gladys, I’m going to take a mental health day today.  Just tell the boss I called with a bad cough or something.”



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(1).  A word used in a game commonly played by salesmen to spice up sales pitches.  The only rule to this game is to say the word “Mesopotamia” in the meeting.  Good times.


“So as you can see, our firm’s services offer a virtual Mesopotamia of opportunities for your business.”



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(1).  Those useless reports on who does what, how many customers they work with, and so on, and so forth….  The upside: It keeps whole departments of analysts employed.  God Bless America (and/or India)!


“So, Jeremy ran the metrics on our regional sales teams.  It turns out we have more customers in densely-populated areas than in rural ones.  Go figure.”



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(1).  A way to indicate to co-workers the personal benefit you are deriving from a single achievement or project, usually used in a self-promoting yet deprecating manner in order to appear modest.


“Boy, I sure am getting a lot of mileage out of that macro I created!  Thank you, Basic Understanding of Excel!”


Money In Motion Research

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(1).  A fancy way of saying “check our P & L’s”.


“So, I did a little money in motion research and found that our biggest cost is your salary, Bob.  So … how’s your 401(k) lookin’ these days?”


Moving Target

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(1).  An impossible-to-identify goal that keeps shifting and changing with the whims of your client or manager.  Just try to hit it … just try!


“So, Eric … I think we finally have what Ari’s looking for.  It was a bit of a moving target, but it looks like if we just eliminate the ‘liabilities’ line-item, his company’s financials will match what he wanted.”


Naked Resignation

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(1).  Quitting your current waste of a job without having a new job lined up.  Good for you, champ!


“Jim, I quit.  I hate this place so much that I’d rather hand you a naked resignation than work another minute in this dump!  Oh, and if you hear of anyone hiring, would you mind shooting me an email?”


Props to Jack D. for the submission.


Name and Shame List

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(1).  An email sent out to the entire company with the names of the employees who forgot to complete some kind of required training or something.


“What?!  Thirteen people didn’t take the ‘Avoiding Appearances in Page Six” online course?  Let’s send out an email with a name and shame list to get these morons to do what we tell them to do!”


Neck Beards

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(1).  Those lovable, less-then-presentable guys who work in your tech department.  While we all know they are making fun of us behind our backs, we can all take solace in the fact that they are all a stone’s throw away from being Hobbits, and will always fix our computers after we “accidentally” open that porn site.


“Hey Dave, have you seen any of the neck beards around?  Do you think you can call them for me?  I opened up ANOTHER email, which took me to ANOTHER porn site.  Weird right?  Third time this month.  I would ask them, but every time I screw my computer up and ask them to fix it, they look at me like I just deleted their level 80 dark elf in World of Warcraft.”


Negative Consent

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(1).  When you tell your client (usually in an innocuous letter they’re not going to read) you’re going to do something unless they tell you not to.  Why, you sneaky, little ….


“Yeah, go ahead and sell.  We gave them a chance to object already.  That’s negative consent, in my book.  Fire away.”


Next Steps

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(1).  Something you pledge to work on, something you will (probably) work on, and something you have no idea how to work on.  Good way to get off the phone, though.


“Okay, well, thanks everyone for joining the call today.  I’ll take what we discussed away and come back with next steps.”


No Names Discussion

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(1).  A call to a competitor or client by a consultant without disclosing who they are working for (and usually pretending to be a prospect) in order to get some information out of them about their business or operations.


“So, we had a no names discussion with the folks at IBM, as you requested…turns out they make computers.  It’ll all be in our final report…”


Nodding Heads

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(1).  A way to describe virtually everyone in a meeting where the new boss says he’s going to “turn this ship around” by “identifying efficiencies“.  By the way, you’re all going to be fired.


“So, after Alex went into his bit about ‘we’re going to make us the Bank One of banks’, all I saw was a bunch of nodding heads in the room.  I didn’t have the heart to say anything, so I just nodded my head, too.”



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(1). Extraneous or unnecessary imformation (in other words, virtually all information provided at meetings and conference calls).


Office Bunny

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(1).  That hot, new assistant they just hired in the accounting department.  Thank goodness the copy machine is right next to your desk … right, tiger?


“So, did you check out the new office bunny down on the 2nd floor?  I bet I could tag ‘er.  Think I could tag ‘er?  I totally think I could tag ‘er.”


Office Synergies

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(1). Ways in which two firms’ services can compliment each other if working together, usually suggested by the weaker party in an attempt to gain access to the other’s client list.



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(1). Unreachable by email or voicemail, often used by vacationing managers to indicate to their employees that they do not want to be contacted while they are away.



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(1). An all-day or multi-day staff meeting which is intended to address major strategic or workplace issues.  Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, offsites were usually held at a resort or similar location, but are now generally held in a conference room (coffee may even be provided, budget-permitting).