Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cubicle Conversation

This is funny.

To succeed in business, it's not enough to have the sleekest laptop, the latest iPhone and the brightest ideas. You also need the right vocabulary. But don't worry.

If you want to be the boss or "fancy yourself the savviest kid on Wall Street," what you need instead, says Gregory Bergman, associate editor of Equities Magazine, is a vocabulary replete with "BizzWords." That play on buzzwords satirizes the mania for using internal capitalization in corporate and trade names -- SwingLine, ChevronTexaco, HarperCollins -- a practice that is prosaically called "BiCapitalization." (I like to call it "upsizing.")

ExxonMobil, InBev; the list goes on and on.

BizzWords constitute the "emerging vocabulary" of business English, according to Mr. Bergman, and in his book "BizzWords" he offers us a collection of "some of the newest, hippest, and most important . . . terms used in corporate America today." His dictionary "is all you need to sound like a business big shot," he boasts with marketing tongue in cheek. "Now if you could only figure out how to use Excel."

Consider these: chainsaw consultant, "an outside consultant brought in to fire employees"; brightsizing, "downsizing by laying off the brightest workers"; layoff lust, "the desire to be fired from one's job"; and to Nasdaq, meaning "to sharply decline in value or quantity."

Brightsizing is funny; I had layoff lust my last year at MetLife.

Apparently because the worlds of business and the Internet are now so intertwined, "BizzWords" culls several terms from cyberslang, including clickstream ("the virtual path a person takes while surfing the Web"), Zen mail ("an e-mail message without text or attachments") and Dorito syndrome (dissatisfaction felt after wasting time surfing the Net and accomplishing nothing).

I get Dorito syndrome; Zen mail is brilliant.

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