Parking Lot Used to keep meetings on track. It's a separate sheet of flip chart paper where good ideas not on topic are recorded. Supposedly they'll be brought up at a later meeting, but are often forgotten altogether.
Passing the Trash The practice of transferring a problem employee to another department without alerting the supervisor to the person's objectionable traits.
Peacock Principle Your value to the company is inversely proportional to the number of awards you display in your office (q.v. 'I Love Me' Wall).
PEBCAK An acronym used by techies to describe a "problem" when the user is in the room. "Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard."
Percussive Maintenance The time-honored art of whacking the heck out of something to get it running again. Long performed on vending machines, it has now migrated to hard drives and computer monitors.
Personal Coordinates An individual's contact information: name, address, phone number, e-mail, etc. "Please leave your personal coordinates at the tone." Also: "Could you get me Jack's coordinates?"
Personal Inertia HR-speak referring to someone's lack of motivation, procrastination or simple laziness. "Jake has personal inertia issues."
Phonesia a) The affliction of dialing a phone number and forgetting whom you were calling just as they answer. b) The inability to remember where in the house you left your portable phone.
PICNIC Problem In Chair, Not In Computer. Techie-speak for user error.
Ping To get someone's attention. "We're behind on the project. Make sure you ping Jim to get the ball rolling." Stolen from the Internet world where it's a command that searches to see if an Internet address exists and is accepting requests. And us old timers
Planful A word created by those who think "well-planned" isn't adequate. A favorite of academics and marketers (particularly PR execs). "We have to allocate the time of senior management in a planful way."
Plowing Water Meaningful contribution. "The CEO says it's important, but in truth we're just plowing water trying to impress the shareholders."
Pocket Call The accidental speed-dialing of a friend, spouse or business associate while carrying your cell phone in your pocket. Result: They discover the real you as they listen to 18 minutes of jangling coins and muffled repartee.
Possumist Someone (generally in upper management) who ignores the truth in the hope that the facts will change or simply go away before disrupting his or her theory.
Post Mortem post mortem: A meeting at the completion of a project or event to dissect what worked and didn't work -- supposedly for the purpose of improving the process but more often to assign blame.
PowerPoint project Any project where the only thing actually produced was a PowerPoint presentation outlining the project team's original grandiose plans.
PowerPointless The spicing up of business presentations with unnecessary animation and seemingly important yet uninformative charts and graphs. Result: More sizzle than substance.
Prairie Dogging A modern office phenomenon. Occurs when workers simultaneously pop their heads up out of their cubicles to see what's going on.
Premumble Opening comments by speakers (or writers) before they begin their real presentations. Hopefully interesting, frequently not.
Presenteeism When employees are so worried about/devoted to their jobs that they won't leave or take time off -- even when it is in their best interests. The opposite of absenteeism.
Preward A reward given in advance as motivation to tackle a big project.
Proceduralize To formalize a process in writing, liberally adding buzzwords and company acronyms to make it sound far more complicated and important than it really is.
Pulp Pilot A non-electronic and time-honored method for keeping telephone numbers and addresses. Generally consists of a small, folded piece of paper that can be tucked into a wallet or purse.
PURE Previously Undetected Recruiting Error. Used to describe a recent hire who looked good on paper but has proved to be somewhat lacking once on the job.
Purpled Out Out of the office. Taken from Outlook calendar, which generates a purple bar when someone is out of office. "I tried to invite you to the meeting, but you were purpled out for the day.
Pushback Feedback. Usually negative and requiring reassessment. "Let's float the idea out there and see if there's any pushback."
Race Team Six months later another race team is fixing the mess the first one made.
Read-Only Values Values that are unquestionable, unalterable, non-negotiable. Drafting a corporate mission statement is largely a search for the company's read-only values.
Realignment Program A corporate euphemism for layoffs. "You've been selected for our corporate realignment program."
Recognition Seen by most companies as a way to boost morale. Viewed by most employees as a poor substitute for a pay raise.
Refrigerator Art A business presentation (generally done in PowerPoint) that looks pretty but has little content and even less value. Also refers to the attractive, colorful and expensive bound handouts that accompany such presentations.
Refrigerator Magnet A person who can't pass the refrigerator without opening the door and searching for a quick snack.
Reskilling Techie-speak for retraining. Primarily used by consultants to convince you to pay more for their "retraining" programs.
Resume Stain A previous job that was so bad (or was with a company whose reputation is so bad) that you'd rather make up an excuse for the time gap on your resume than list the job.
Retired in Place Describes someone who is in the home stretch of his or her current job or career and is just coasting until the finish line.
Reverbiagized To reword a concept or proposal with the hope of changing the minds of the people who didn't like it the first time around. "It's the same ad campaign, but we reverbiagized it."
RIF Reduction In Force, the corporate PC term for layoffs. Common usage: "Yeah, Joe's gone, he was RIFfed."
Rightsizing A perversion of "downsizing," meant to showcase the wisdom acquired by the "sizer" since his/her last foray into the re-scaling jungle. BuzzWhack does admit that it sounds better than "layoffs."
Salad Dodger Someone who is overweight. "What does he look like?" "Well, he's a bit of a salad dodger."
Salmon Day The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.
Scaremail Any e-mail circulated en masse that includes the latest "scare," such as LSD-laced postage stamps or needles being placed on gas pump handles, etc. Most are urban legends run amok.
Schadenfreude Take malicious satisfaction in the misfortune of others. A German term that's increasingly popping up in U.S. media. Apparently there isn't an English word that adequately describes some critic's delight in Phil Donahue's poor ratings.
Scooby Snacks Token compensation, generally nonmonetary, given as an award. "All we got for pulling that project out the fire was Scooby snacks – two ‘extra’ casual days." Taken from the cartoon "Scooby-Doo."
Scope Creep When a project continues to grow after the contract has been signed. In the end, the vendor does more work than it gets paid for.
Screensaver mode To be sitting in one's office, staring blankly into space. (from Readers' Digest)
Sheeple Have you felt herded lately? Do you blindly go where everyone else is going? Sheeple are folks who follow like sheep. There's been a lot of them in the stock market lately.
Sidewalk Meeting A meeting held on the sidewalk outside the building where managers make plans, decisions and coalitions -- while grabbing a quick smoke. Also see Open Air Conference Room.
Silver Ceiling Management bias that stymies older workers from rising further up the corporate ladder. Instead younger employees with "potential" get the nod.
Six-Inch Calibration Closely related to "percussive maintenance," it refers to lifting a piece of equipment approximately six inches and dropping it onto a hard surface to see if that will make it start working again.
Sneezers People who help spread an "ideavirus," which is a nifty marketing concept created by author Seth Godin. By "sneezing," they infect others who then go out and buy Seth’s latest book. Once upon a time it was called "word of mouth."
Social Software The core beliefs and norms of behavior that are really what makes a company run. "At EDS, we work hard on our 'social software,' because it's at the core of how we get things done."
SODDI Defense Some Other Dude Did It. A defense team strategy that contends there were ample opportunities for someone other than their client to have committed the crime.
Sofa Samurai Someone without military experience (often by making a concerted effort to avoid serving) who now froths at the mouth for war. A modern day chicken hawk.
Soft Skills Non-technical skills, such as the ability to communicate, problem-solve, empathize, be courteous, etc. Long assumed that these employee skills are naturally occurring, businesses are only now coming to the realization that their employees lack the soft sk
Space Junk The space-eating files on a computer that you suspect no longer have a purpose but are afraid to delete.
Spam Count The ratio of legitimate email to spam. "Since I started using a spam filter, my spam count's higher than ever. Go figure."
Spamish The insertion of symbols, numbers and spaces into words in an effort to fool today’s more sophisticated spam filters. Result: Sp&m g@ts throu?h the f!lters & !nt0 y0ur mai1b0x. And you still can understand it.
Speakerphone Voice The not-quite-shouting-but-loud-and-strained tone of voice necessary to be heard over most speakerphones. Also audible five cubes away.
Special Sauce Business jargon referring to anything considered proprietary. "In the benchmarking study they openly discussed everything except the special sauce."
Spin-Up To bring someone "up to speed" on the latest events or issues. "We'll need to spin-up the new CFO on the irregularities the auditors found."
Starsky The person in every office who regularly volunteers to take control of the mouse or click the slides for someone else's demonstration or presentation. From the 1970s cop series "Starsky and Hutch," where Starsky always drove the car.
Stealth Parenting The practice of claiming you have a business appointment or breakfast meeting to hide from a less-than-understanding boss the fact you are really taking your kids to school.
Stick-around A meeting that takes place immediately after and in the same location as another meeting, where the meeting leader asks a subset of the attendees to 'stick around.'
Stress puppy Someone who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny. See also 'crisis junkie.'
Stretch Goal A target so far beyond the seeming capabilities of a group or company that it appears at first to be impossible. Of course, it often still appears impossible to achieve at project's end, too.
Subject Creep The tendency for an e-mail list or newsgroup discussion to veer wildly off topic while the subject line remains the same.
Suit Member of management.
Surfer's Voice The inattentive, half-hearted tone (punctuated with surreptitious tapping of a keyboard) that means the person on the other end of the phone is more focused on surfing the Web, reading e-mails and trading instant messages than listening to you.
Tacit Knowledge Simply put, it's "know-how." And the Holy Grail of today's "knowledge management" systems is to capture an employee's tacit knowledge so that know-how can be retained in case the employee bolts the company.
Tailgate To enter a keycard-controlled area without a keycard by closely following the person in front of you. (seen on Dilbert)
Take-Away The main point(s) to remember from a conversation, document, speech, meeting, etc. "It was a great meeting. Too bad there was no take-away."
Talk Show Host In business, it’s someone who knows just enough to appear in the know. When he fails to meet goal, he blames someone else and moves on to another audience.
Task-Saturated To be overwhelmed with too many things to do at once. "Jack's task-saturated. He's got seven projects due Friday." Borrowed from the military where it generally refers to personnel in a crisis situation, such as a pilot trying to save a crippled aircraft.
Techniban A fundamentalist mindset, repressively opposed to ground-breaking technologies that could upset the status quo. Apparently coined by info warrior Richard Forno in a rant about politicians protecting the entertainment industry from new technology that woul
Templatized Any work or job that's had the creativity sucked out of it and basically been reduced to filling in the blanks.
Thanking You In Advance An annoying phrase that expresses less-than-sincere gratitude while assuming you will do what is being requested. Long considered an offensive cliché, it continues to proliferate, particularly in business correspondence.
Thought Leadership Sounds very Orwellian, but it’s not. It’s what occurs during a meeting when someone states the obvious before anyone else can get it out.
Topic Tiling The practice of projecting the topic or key points of a speech repeatedly onto a backdrop behind the speaker as if brilliant phrases such as "Corporate Responsibility" or "Strengthening the Economy" would keep you riveted to your seat.
Tourists People who use training classes as a way to get a vacation from their jobs. "We had 10 serious students in the class. The rest were just tourists."
Treeware Any paper-based printed material, such as newspapers, books, etc. In techie circles, it generally refers to documentation manuals.
Trickle-Down Ergonomics The practice of stealing (or being given) an Aeron chair, desk, computer or workplace tools after you've been laid off.
Tunneling Refers to top executives transferring assets and cash out of a corporation into their own private accounts, leaving the company primarily with liabilities and assets of little value. Thanks to Adelphia, Tyco and others for bringing this term to our attent
Twit Filter Most e-mail programs come with one. It lets you separate your e-mail by name, address, subject line, keywords, etc., so you can filter the "twits" from your favorite e-mail discussion list. Works well with spam, too.
Two-Comma Denotes anything that costs $1,000,000 or more. "The new server configuration is a two-comma project."

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