Telling the truth about SME life today

There’s trouble in office land

He goes by the name Don Joe and has spent the past three years as a nontrepreneur undercover. Working for a huge faceless corporation, his opus “Workforced” describes his sufferings and the banal reality of white-collar labour.

Real Business will be serialising extracts from the book over the next few weeks. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and most of all you’ll remember why you spurned a place on the payroll for the life of an entrepreneur.


Excerpt: A guide to corporate jargon By Don Joe

Office jargon is the re-branding of everything to seem more important, intelligent and inspired than it really is. In other words: sitting around with a bunch of nuts and bananas talking about apples-to-apples comparisons.

Most offices have long since abandoned the word “problem” in favour of the word “opportunity”. Losing a limb in a mechanical digger accident doesn’t feel like much of an opportunity. A complete lack of detail is now a “high-level view”. A bad idea is a “negative value driver”. You have no longer been given the sack because the company management is not competent enough to use all the staff they hired; you were “rationalised”.

It gets worse. Giving 110 per cent doesn’t mean you fudged the accounts, can’t count or have multiple personalities. Apparently, “shooting from the hip” has nothing to do with an errant vasectomy, “scope creep” isn’t a stalker with binoculars and “separating the men from the boys” isn’t just something pederasts do. It won’t be long before water-boarding is simply “operationally efficient information gathering”.

Office jargon used to be the domain of the kind of people that read Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’ in the break-room and had Bill Gates screensavers. Sadly, this drivel is now pervasive and ubiquitous, especially at the management level.

“We need to ask ourselves what we should be talking about. Let’s pro-actively take the bull by the horns, leverage our core values to drive our decision-making processes and utilise that leverage, spurring us to boost shareholder value. We will use a long lens to look down the line at the big picture on the horizon. I give the go-ahead to pulling the trigger, pushing the button, raising the bar and switching gears. Considering our over-arching skill sets, our innovative approach rejects the use cookie cutters to reinvent the wheel, such that our upside potential is a win-win. The World is changing and we must change with it. That is what we have been doing; that is what we are doing today and that is what we will continue to do in future. Because at the end of the day, we’re all working for tomorrow.”

Earning five times more than I do does not mean I’m one fifth your intelligence. You’re a no-brainer. I should have slept in, or misaligned myself with my getting out of bed process. You might as well just be talking about sex. In fact, you probably are:

To keep up to date with the fledgling adventures of Don Joe, go to

Related articles Do you speak geek?The jargon game


Related Stories

More From

Most Read


If you enjoyed this article,
why not join our newsletter?

We promise only quality content, tailored to suit what our readers like to see!