Tag Archives: management

Corporate jargon – no more please

Take a look at the quote in this blog that gets girls to cook stuff wearing J-Crew clothes.


Image by J-Crew

It’s the kind of thing that would have Darwin spinning in his grave. The man who spent years analysing animals and plants all over the world and eventually coining the theory of natural selection would now find that cooking blogs are using his name to describe laziness in washing-up.

It’s symptomatic of many corporate blogs, and corporate writing in general. I was once employed by a big multinational company and asked to produce research for them – thoughts and ideas about where their industry is heading.

When I delivered my initial papers they were all rejected for being too simple. I wasn’t sure what they meant so I asked for some clarification – I was told they just don’t sound like an executive would have written them. I was using titles such as the FT and Economist as guidance for my own style – journals that can explain complex subjects using clear English.

I tried again only to be rebuffed once more, so I went to the other extreme and filled my report with acronyms, jargon, and ridiculous corporate expressions that no “real” person would ever use. “We love it!” was the message from my client and that set the tone of my writing work for them.

I was thinking of this when listening to the FT ‘Gongs for the Greatest Guff’ awards for 2013 – as presented by Lucy Kellaway. Have a listen and see if you can think of a bottle of water (suitable for vegetarians) in the same way ever again?

Water - suitable for vegetarians

First Class is now a two-week service

So the strike by Royal Mail workers is going to start at 4am on Thursday. Here we go again.

I have a lot of sympathy for the postmen and women who trudge the streets every morning. They work hard and they do a good job in challenging times. Their management seem to shift the goalposts regularly and engage in constant efficiency drives. I don’t know of many British people who would say that the post service has got better in the past decade, and it’s really the management that are to blame for that.

But times are changing. Almost all the mail being delivered is from one business to another, or from a business to a consumer. That’s really changing fast now, in fact so fast that there is no longer a correlation between the economic cycle and the amount of mail being sent – that always used to be an indicator of economic recovery.

And the government hasn’t gone for complete support of the postal workers or a complete privatisation either. So it would seem like the management and the government might actually like to see the postal workers out on strike, because it gives them both the right to take emergency action, whatever that may be…

All I know is that I went to the Post Office today and tried mailing three First Class packages. The clerk at the counter advised me that it could take at least two weeks for my packages to arrive ‘because of the strikes, we are all backlogged’. I asked her how a next-day delivery service can change to be a two-week service and all she could offer was ‘it’s the strikes’.

Even the workers are completely clueless when it comes to trying to earn some public sympathy for their cause.