Office Lingo, Office Shmingo

Things that I hate: office lingo.

1. “…and so I reached out to Jodi…” I’m sorry you did what? You reached out to her? Did you touch her? Did you spin around in your rollie chair and physically reach out and touch her? No. No you didn’t. This phrase grates on my ears like nails on a chalk board. My coworkers use this phrase like it’s water. They “reach out” to the angry mom who has a questions about her daughter’s bill; “reach out” to the person who submitted a report; “reach out” to the IT Director for an answer to a tech question. Knock it off, people. You “reach out” to a sick neighbor or a person in crisis or need. You don’t reach out to a coworker for an answer to a question.

2. “Can you circle back with Stacey?” You mean can I respond to her email? Yes, I can do that. No, I cannot circle back with her. We are not on aplayground or a carousel or a roller rink.

 3. Thanks Now I’m all for a polite work space. But with my coworkers, this is overkill. Send a report that’s part of your job: thank you! Answer a question: thank you! If they ask you a question: thank you! Literally. Everything is signed with “thank you.” WHAT ARE YOU THANKING THEM FOR? For letting you ask them a question? For letting you submit a requested time sheet or report? For being able to request their attendance at a meeting? For being able to notify them that something they did was wrong? People, THIS IS YOUR JOB. Stop thanking me and everyone else for everything! It is a report! It is my job to submit this! I am not doing you a favor or going above and beyond or paying you a compliment…I am answering your question or request. So thank YOU for not saying thank you.

4. “I would encourage you to…” Apparently, it is no longer possible to give a direct instruction to someone. Please stop encouraging me. Just tell me what to do.

And just in case you didn’t get my point…here’s an example of a typical email I see every day at work:

Hi Autumn,

Could you reach out to this mother about her questions? Circle back with the volunteer lead as well. I would encoruage you to consult [my coworker] about best practices for these types of situations. 


Your Boss

OR…I get this.

Hi Autumn,

I wanted to reach out to you about a question I had. Could you find the Risk Audit report for XYZ Group and circle back with me? I’m looking for it, but can’t locate it. 

Thank you! Love, your coworker.

Why can’t we just be DIRECT? Why not just say:

Hi Autumn: Please respond to this mother. Ask Ashley if you need help. Or: Hi Autumn, Do you have the Risk Audit report; or know where I could find it?

Thanks [for reading]!

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