Good morning everyone,
In a long-running New Year’s tradition, Lake Superior State University has released its 43rd annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.
The list was started by the late W. T. Rabe, a public relations director at the university in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, a town that is almost as cold as northern Delaware.The list is useful in a business world where words and expressions make their way to the staff meeting or the session with HR.
Here’s an abbreviated 2018 list of words and phrases (and commentary):
- Unpack – Misused word for analyze, consider, assess. Concepts or positions are not packed, so they don’t need to be unpacked.
- Onboarding / Offboarding – Creature from the HR Lagoon. We used to have hiring, training and orientation. Now we need to have an “onboarding” process. Firings, quitting, and retirements are streamlined into “offboarding.”
- Nothingburger – Says nothing that ‘nothing’ doesn’t already. I’ll take a quarter-pound of something in mine.
- Impactful – A frivolous word groping for something ‘effective’ or ‘influential.’
- Drill Down – Instead of expanding on a statement, we “drill down on it.”
- Fake News – Once upon a time stories could be empirically disproved. Now ‘fake news’ is any story you disagree with.
- Gig Economy – Gigs are for musicians and stand-up comedians. Now expanded to imply a sense of freedom and a lifestyle that rejects tradition in a changing economic culture. Runs a risk of sharecropping.
While the term gig economy has been overused, I disagree that the term is being misused. In many references, it accurately describes jobs without benefits.
I would add another word to Lake Superior’s list – transition.
In today’s economy, the term has become a euphemism for seeking work. Sadly, the word recently made its way to the obituary page to describe the ultimate career move. Sample sentence – He was offboarded and transitioned to his next celestial assignment.
I would also throw in the word consequential, which pops up all too often when a writer is struggling to describe a current or future event.
Have a great Wednesday. The newsletter tomorrow will should be more than a nothing burger – Doug Rainey, publisher.