17 Office Cliches Deciphered By A 20-Something


It’s been well established that we are the most educated generation in history. We now take jobs that demand more mental capacity of us than physical. No longer are the majority of us working out on the farms, in factories, or as laborers.

Odds are, we’re working in an office where we sheeple, err I mean workers, come and go. Day in, day out, we flock to our desks in large numbers. Our schedules are always changing, yet they really never change. We arrive in the morning and eight hours later we leave at night. What we do inside those eight hours can range from working our asses off to sipping six coffees and trolling the internet for 75% of the day.

If you’re one of those who love to people watch, then you’ll at least find solace in the fact that you have to go to work by drawing entertainment from the seemingly normal actions and attributes of your fellow office mates. Working in an office setting will, at one point or another, probably confirm every stereotype you have ever held. The Office Grump, the Gossissiper, or the Negative Nancy, there is a personality that you can apply to everyone around you. We spend the majority of our waking hours side by side with these co-workers, so we make the most out of our time in there.

Along with individual stereotypes, there are more grouped stereotypes that exist. Some that are applicable to us would be that “Millennials don’t take constructive criticism well” or that “Millennials feel that they are entitled and are lazy.” Like any stereotype (Baby boomers have no idea how to use even the simplest technology) there is some truth to it, but not a whole lot of truth.

Working in the office also makes you want to bang your head against the wall repeatedly or gauge your eyes out with a spoon at times. Along those lines, let’s talk about office clichés. God, must we really use the same jargon, that most of the time makes no sense, over and over? We hear it so much in our daily work lives that I catch myself talking office-speak during off hours all the time. I’ve been corrupted forever, I guess.

Let’s take a little look at the most over-hammed phrases in the office these days:

1. “Let’s take this offline” – Meaning that someone wants to say something to only one person in particular, but they know that saying it in front of the group audience would stir up a pot. It could also be a way for someone to play hero to a never ending conference call, as this is a strong hint to whoever keeps babbling that the time has come to move on and hang up.

2. “Thinking outside the box” – Has anyone ever seen this mysterious box? It’s usually hard enough to think as it is with all the distractions, what the hell do you exactly mean by asking us to include some mysterious box in our thought process?

3. “Transitioning/repurposing” – This is usually never good. It’s a fancy way to say that changes are on the horizon. Changes that you’re not going to like or be able to easily adapt to. This is a fancy and “nice” way for management to convey that shit isn’t working as intended, so we’re going to change it up a bit, like it or not.

4. “Reach out” – Great, now we have to get in contact with someone who we never talked to before and selfishly ask them for a huge favor. Nothing makes me feel more like an ass than having to ask some stranger for a huge favor, and to politely tell them that “Oh yeah, I need this urgently, too.”

5. “Going forward” – You’ve always done it this way, and you do it very well. But too bad, we’re changing that now.

6. “Drill-down” – I’m going to politely tell you that I like the work you’ve done, but come on, man! What I really mean is that you have to give me something better than this. Drill-down into it!

7. “It’s on my radar” – I don’t want to tell you to your face that I really think your idea is, for all intents and purposes, a piece of shit. So, I’ll just perpetually tell you that it’s on my radar so you stop bugging me about it for the moment.

8. “At the end of the day” – I don’t know about you, but at the end of my day, I go home.

9. “Touch base/ Circle back” – Awesome, let’s create some more red tape. Inevitably when you have “circle back”, someone is going to raise an issue, which will delay progress even more.

10. “Loop me” – Don’t leave me out, guys! I want to feel like I’m contributing to the team and want to look like I am as well.

11. “Thanks in advance!” – The ultimate kick in the gut, especially from someone that is higher on the chain. This is the most polite way to tell you that this needs to get done, regardless if you want to or not.

12. “Value add” – A sneaky way to describe all that you do when you feel that others haven’t been paying attention. A great way to brag, without sounding pretentious about it. “Did you see the value add of my research?” a.k.a. “You’re going to love this shit!”

13. “Give 110%” – Okay, that is just impossible. Beggers can’t be choosers, let’s just stick with 100% and call it a day.

14. “Shoot me an email” – You better send me an email soon, before I forget about it. What’s wrong with the sticky note reminders these days? Not everything has to be tech-centric.

15. “Deep dive” – It’s definitely been looked into before, but let’s deep dive into it again. Maybe we’ll find something different this time. A grrrrreat way to go around trying to re-invent the wheel.

16. “Low hanging fruit” – Between business school and office life, this is one of the most common. If it was so obvious and easy, a low hanging fruit as they call it, then why hasn’t this fruit been picked before? Probably because it’s not as low hanging as you thought.

17. Sports clichés – We’re at work, easy there with the sports clichés. Sports are our escape from work and life, don’t de-value our sports experiences with reminders of work.  We don’t want to step up to any plate that, at least one that isn’t 60 feet and 6 inches away from a rubber mound. Your presentation wasn’t a slam dunk, it was just a nicely presented finding of your research. Also, we didn’t drop the ball, stop it. There was no ball involved. Just say that we messed up.

There are a lot of positives that come with our cushy office jobs. We don’t have to be outside in the elements, or stand on our feet all shift. We don’t usually have to deal with the public and we, for the most part, expect a stable workday. We meet a lot of great and interesting people that we’ll no doubt learn a ton from, too. We make friends that we otherwise wouldn’t have met. We (usually) have a set schedule each week and (usually) have weekends off.

Everyone in the office is on the same team and working towards the same goal (earning that paycheck). When everything is gelling and smooth sailing, working in an office setting is indeed be a blast.

The TV series “The Office” is the best series ever produced. We all work with a Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, Creed Bratton and Andy Bernard of our own. For all that is annoying and unexciting about spending 40 hours a week in front of a computer screen(s), there are so many unique experiences and people that make it worth it, most of the time.

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