Office Buzzwords from the 90’s
BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.
SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, messes on everything, and then leaves.
CHAINSAW CONSULTANT: An outside expert brought in to reduce the employee headcount, leaving the top brass with clean hands.
CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles.
IDEA HAMSTERS: People who always seem to have their idea generators running.
MOUSE POTATO: The on-line, wired generation’s answer to the couch potato.
PRAIRIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people’s heads pop up over the walls to see what’s going on.
SITCOMs: (Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage) What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids.
SQUIRT THE BIRD: To transmit a signal to a satellite.
STARTER MARRIAGE: A short-lived first marriage that ends in divorce with no kids, no property and no regrets.
STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiney.
SWIPED OUT: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.
TOURISTS: People who take training classes just to get a vacation from their jobs. We had three serious students in the class; the rest were just tourists.
TREEWARE: Hacker slang for documentation or other printed material.
XEROX SUBSIDY: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one’s workplace.
GOING POSTAL: Euphemism for being totally stressed out, for losing it Makes reference to the unfortunate track record of postal employees who have snapped and gone on shooting rampages.
ALPHA GEEK: The most knowledgeable, technically proficient person in an office or work group.
ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.
CHIPS & SALSA: Chips = hardware, Salsa = software. Well, first we gotta figure out if the problem’s in your chips or your salsa.
FLIGHT RISK: Used to describe employees who are suspected of planning to leave a company or department soon.
GOOD JOB: A Get-Out-Of-Debt Job. A well-paying job people take in order to pay off their debts, one that they will quit as soon as they are solvent again.
IRRITAINMENT: Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying but you find yourself unable to stop watching them. The O.J. trials were a prime example. Bill Clinton’s video Grand Jury testimony is another.
PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the heck out of an electronic device to get it to work again.
UNINSTALLED: Euphemism for being fired. Heard on the voice-mail of vice president at a downsizing computer firm: You have reached the number of an Uninstalled Vice President. Please dial our main number and ask the operator for assistance.* (Synonym: decruitment.)
VULCAN NERVE PINCH: The taxing hand position required to reach all the appropriate keys for certain commands. For instance, the warm re-boot for a Mac II computer involves simultaneously pressing the Control key, the Command Key, the Return Key, and the Power On key.
YUPPIE FOOD STAMPS: The ubiquitous $20 bills spewed out of ATMs everywhere. Often used when trying to split the bill after a meal, We each owe $8, but all anybody’s got are yuppie food stamps.
SALMON DAY: The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.
CLM: Career Limiting Move - Used among microserfs to describe ill-advised activity. Trashing your boss while he or she is within earshot is a serious CLM.
ADMINISPHERE: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.
DILBERTED: To be exploited and oppressed by your boss. Derived from the experiences of Dilbert, the geek-in-hell comic strip character. “I’ve been dilberted again. The old man revised the specs for the fourth time this week.”
404: Someone who’s clueless. From the World Wide Web error message “404 File Not Found,” meaning that the requested document could not be located. “Don’t bother asking him . . . he’s 404, man.”
GENERICA: Features of the American landscape that are exactly the same no matter where one is, such as fast food joints, strip malls, subdivisions. Used as in “We were so lost in generica that I forgot what city we were in.”
OHNOSECOND: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you’ve just made a BIG mistake.
UMFRIEND: A sexual relation of dubious standing or a concealed intimate relationship, as in “This is Dylan, my … um … friend.”