Corporate Bullshit

A long ago, there was a movement called the “Plain English Campaign.” It is still around, as you can see by their website, but I don’t know if they have had any effect in the UK. Here is the colonies, things have gone horribly wrong, in terms of plan language. Corporate jargon is the most obvious. Clever guys have made corporate jargon generators like this one to mock the bizarre pseudo-language popping from B-schools and HR departments.

Yesterday, I got en e-mail for a job opening. I’m on so many distribution lists for corporate announcements I have a separate e-mail account for them. I usually just delete this crap, but this one is a classic. The abundance of bullshit is amazing. This is for a Senior Vice President:

Overall Accountabilities:

Your mandate as Senior Vice-President, Application Support will be aligned with the Chief Information Officer’s objectives of developing and integrating the IT strategy with IFDS. organizational-wide objectives, including exploring new business opportunities, defining a viable and effective technology road map and establishing priorities for fundamental organizational transformation to sustain competitive advantage.

What does “aligned with the Chief Information Officer’s objectives” mean? My guess is it means you will be told what to do by your boss, like every other employee. I like “viable and effective” as a goal. Having tried doomed and ineffective a few times, it all makes perfect sense. A big part of corporate jargon is restating the obvious in neologisms and inventive word salad. It’s passive aggressive pandering.

 As a critical member of the IT Senior Leadership team, you will play a

key role in aligning IT programs to corporate goals and strategies. You will be accountable for oversight and quality of all facets necessary to the successful delivery and sustaining activities required to provision and support integrated, sustainable, and secure software applications in addition to development or enhancement of IFDS systems and products on a global level.

More aligning! You will be aligned!!

You will have meaningful impact, leading transformational change and leveraging talent through creation of a global, innovative, high-performing team, focused on delivering quality solutions that facilitates business success. Your technical aptitude, business acumen and experience at the senior management level, will empower you to articulate this technical vision and influence business leaders to

ensure exceptional client centric solutions and future growth.

A guy shooting up the place will make a meaningful impact too. It’s weird how modern managerial types think these emotive words are always good. Transformational could mean burning the place to the ground. Focused? Hitler was focused! Pol Pot was hyper-focused. How’d that work out?

 Competencies: Behavioral & Functional:

Strategic & Systems Thinking: Understand the connections across functions/enterprise and look at issues from multiple perspectives. Anticipate and look at downstream and cross-functional implications, articulating how technology can transform the business

I dare anyone to explain what the hell that means.

Results Focus & Team Leadership: Drive organizational initiatives beyond delivering the IT project component. Set and adjust priorities effectively; remove barriers and act with an appropriate sense of urgency. Infuse the team with a sense of purpose and create clear accountabilities and metrics. Energize team to excel, continuously improve and develop hi-potentials.

Another magic word is “beyond.” You know, like when Stalin went beyond collective farming and starved millions of Ukrainians. I suppose “energizing the team” has something to do with cattle prods and the lash.

Business Acumen and Intellectually Curiosity: Use financial and technical data to accurately diagnose business strengths and opportunities. Pick up cues from around the organization to be able to raise awareness, simplify and solve complex business and technical issues.

Look, I’ve hired a lot of people in my life and I never wanted any of them to be intellectually curious. That type goes through your briefcase when you’re in the restroom. They tend to waste time doing things other than their job.

Leading Change: Champion change in self and others, build a compelling vision and act with urgency to drive change across the enterprise.

Another magic word. Change is not always good. For instance, if the new guy “champions” the idea of working in the nude, that’s not a change anyone would welcome. The hilarious thing about these ads is they are all lies. This firm wants a female to run customer service. That’s what all the emotive bullshit is signaling. The fact that the word “diverse” is not used says they are not hiring a black guy this time.

3 thoughts on “Corporate Bullshit

  1. I’m a corporate lawyer. Many of my clients are dominated by middle managers who speak this corporate jargon crap constantly. It’s incredibly irritating and actually costs the organization more money in legal fees because I have to ask them to explain things five times so that I can understand their issues and provide them with legal advice/work product. Frequently I resort to saying, “Explain it to me like I’m a five year old.” That usually works.

  2. I dunno if I qualify as “intellectually curious” or not, but I did routinely break into my boss’s desk when I was on the graveyard shift (absurdly easy to defeat the lock) to see what he was saying about us techs to his superiors.

    As I suspected – he was lying to our faces.

  3. “Pick up cues from around the organization to be able to raise awareness.” Indeed, that is so female.

    I left an executive job (almost said ‘position’) at a Fortune 500 company where I used to write this stuff in the 80’s and went and pounded nails for ten years before buying a small business. Your post made me queasy. Did I once do this? Did I?

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