Touching Base with Office Jargon: The Absurdity of Corporate Buzzwords

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Let’s cut to the chase and dive straight into the deep end of the corporate lingo cesspool. If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’ve undoubtedly been bombarded with phrases that make you want to staple your ears shut. Thanks to a recent poll, we now have a definitive list of Britain’s most hated office phrases. And boy, does it read like a thesaurus of nonsense.

“Blue-Sky Thinking”

An Ode to the Absurd: First up, we have “blue-sky thinking.” This gem is the king of pointless corporate drivel. Who came up with this? Someone who looked at the sky and thought, “Let’s turn this into a metaphor for innovation!”? It’s like saying, “Let’s be creative” but with extra pretentiousness. Because why say something simple when you can overcomplicate it?

Why We Hate It: The phrase “blue-sky thinking” is supposed to inspire limitless creativity. But in reality, it often prefaces a meeting where no actual ideas are born, just a lot of hot air. It’s the kind of thing you hear right before someone suggests something that’s been done a million times before.

“Touch Base”

Just Call Me!: Next, let’s touch base on “touch base.” If ever there was a phrase that sounds creepier the more you say it, it’s this one. It’s like corporate code for “I need to talk to you, but I’m going to make it sound like a covert operation.”

Why We Hate It: What’s wrong with saying, “Let’s talk”? Is the English language so limited that we have to resort to baseball metaphors? Unless you’re literally standing on a field with a bat, stop trying to make “touch base” happen. It’s not going to happen.

“Circle Back” 

The Boomerang of Phrases: Then there’s “circle back.” A phrase that makes it sound like you’re involved in some mystical quest, returning to a sacred place. In reality, it means, “I forgot what you said, so let’s discuss it again later.”

Why We Hate It: Why not just say, “We’ll talk about this again”? Or better yet, actually remember the conversation so you don’t have to circle back. This phrase is the epitome of procrastination disguised as productivity.


The Buzzword of Buzzwords: Ah, “synergy.” The word that makes you want to gouge your eyes out with a pencil. It’s the corporate equivalent of saying “abracadabra,” expecting some magical collaboration to happen.

Why We Hate It: Synergy is supposed to imply that working together will create something greater than the sum of its parts. In reality, it often means endless meetings that lead to nothing but wasted time. It’s a buzzword used by those who want to sound intelligent without actually saying anything of substance.

“Move the Needle” 

The Ultimate Vague Directive: “Move the needle” is another offender. It’s meant to indicate progress but is so vague that it could mean anything from making a major breakthrough to adjusting your chair slightly.

Why We Hate It: If you want to see actual progress, give clear directions. Saying “move the needle” is like giving someone a broken compass and telling them to find true north.


The Overhyped Letdown: Let’s not forget “game-changer.” This phrase promises groundbreaking change but often delivers minor tweaks. It’s like calling a new stapler a revolutionary tool.

Why We Hate It: Most things labelled as “game-changers” are anything but. They’re usually small adjustments that barely make a ripple, let alone change the game. It’s the boy who cried wolf of office jargon.


The Pretentious Cousin of “Use”: “Leverage” is a word that makes you want to scream. It’s a fancy way of saying “use,” but with more syllables and less clarity.

Why We Hate It: Just say “use.” It’s simpler, clearer, and doesn’t make you sound like you’re trying too hard to impress.

“Deep Dive”

The Misleading Metaphor: A “deep dive” suggests an in-depth analysis, but often it means skimming the surface with a few Google searches.

Why We Hate It: If you want to analyse something thoroughly, just say that. “Deep dive” is a phrase that sounds more intense than it usually is.


The Empty Promise: “Value-add” is meant to highlight something extra that enhances worth. But in many cases, it’s just fluff added to make something seem more important than it is.

Why We Hate It: Instead of saying “value-add,” just show the value. Actions speak louder than buzzwords.

“Low-Hanging Fruit” 

The Lazy Man’s Goal: “Low-hanging fruit” is a phrase that suggests easy wins. It’s the corporate way of saying, “Let’s do the bare minimum.”

Why We Hate It: If you’re aiming for the lowest effort tasks, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy. Ambition shouldn’t stop at the low-hanging fruit.

The Grand Finale: A Call to Arms: In conclusion, these phrases are more than just annoying; they’re symptomatic of a larger problem in corporate culture. They replace clear communication with jargon-filled nonsense, creating a barrier to understanding and efficiency. So, let’s pledge to banish these phrases from our vocabulary and return to plain, straightforward language. After all, isn’t it more productive to say what we actually mean?

Next time someone asks you to “touch base,” “circle back,” or engage in “blue-sky thinking,” feel free to roll your eyes and suggest they just call you instead. Because in the end, clarity trumps jargon every time.

And if you ever find yourself tempted to use one of these phrases, just remember: you’re better than that. Let’s save our sanity and speak like real humans, not corporate robots.

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