Nabloposmo Day 3: Common Office Jargon – a Translation Guide

A simple translation guide for the generic terminology and sayings normally heard around an office environment.

 General Conversation

 “Hi, how are you?” – I’m making small talk with you because it’s polite.

“Good thanks, you?” – I’m responding to your small talk with a simple answer so we can get to business.

“Hey, are you busy?” – The answer to this question is irrelevant, you’re about to be given something to do.

“I don’t suppose you can have a look at this with me?” – I value your opinions on this and need to cover my arse if it all goes belly up.

“We need to go back to the supplier and tell them…” – Either myself or you need to get in touch with the supplier and explain this (ideally you).

“The deadline is flexible” – There’s a bit of leeway for when this work needs to be finished.

“This is a firm deadline” – You’re in big trouble if you don’t get this work completed on time.

“Only if it’s not too much trouble” – Even if it is too much trouble you’re still doing this for me.

“Roy from accounts is a #*&@+~>#!!” – “Roy from accounts is not my favourite person.”

“*various expletives shouted at screen*” – perhaps now is a good time to keep your head down.

“Going forward” –  Based on the past, this is what can/will be improved in the future, hopefully. Conversational example, “the office block caught on fire last week. What can we learn from this?” “Well, going forward we now know that fires are started by hot things.”

Telephone Etiquette

“Hello, The John Smith Glitter Company, we make your dreams sparkle and shine, Alice speaking, how may I help?” – I’m dying a little inside every time I answer the phone. I dare you to ask me to repeat that again.

“I’m sorry, they’re in a meeting right now” – there are various places they could be, but it’s not here.

“Let me give you her email” – my colleague doesn’t want you to be constantly calling, but if they’re interested they will be in touch. More likely not, but let’s keep you hoping.

“Can I get that in writing?” – there’s either too much information to process or I’m covering my backside in case I need to refer to this later on.

“We really value your custom” – (Customer Services) We don’t really care either way. (Everyone else) I’m either sucking up to you or apologising on someone’s else’s behalf.

Singular vs Plural

“The printer is useless” – the thing in the corner is broken, again.

“The printers are useless” – our suppliers are not quite putting 100% effort in.

Other Terminology

Synergy – A fancy word used in presentations. Meaning: unknown.

Working from home – they’re at home watching daytime TV.

Meetings – where everyone gathers to discuss things. Degrees of importance/length vary, as does quality of snack and refreshment items.

Training Course – a session used to expand your knowledge or understanding of a particular element. The ‘fun’ ones are usually compulsory.

Expenses – Depending on where you work and what you do, you can sometimes claim money back on things purchased (e.g. train tickets, food, coffee, three course lunches, first class plane tickets, a BMW…).

Expense Claims – Pulling every trick/excuse in the book to get your money back from finance.

Annual Leave – the best piece of legislation ever enforced (just so long as you don’t log into the work email).

Missed any? Let me know in the comments below!

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