12 ridiculous phrases smart people avoid at work

“Datafication.” “Operationalize.” “Let’s parking lot this.”

These are just a few of the workplace phrases and words that people found “most ridiculous,” according to recent research.

The American Express OPEN ‘Get Business Done’ Survey, released recently, shows that some employees are just spewing words in the office without really grasping what they mean.

“Have you ever heard a coworker say something like, ‘It ladders up to our overarching framework and optimizes the impactfulness of our deliverables,’ and wondered, ‘HUH?’ You’re not alone,” American Express says, comfortingly.

We are all part of the problem: the research found that 88% of respondents said they use jargon without understanding it, and 64% reported using words and terms like this “multiple times” weekly.

Make no mistake: you do have to break the habit. These words make you look silly.

Lynn Taylor, a workplace expert and author who has partnered with American Express to give insight on productivity, told Ladders about how we can perform better at work, based on the research.

“If you want to engender trust from not only team members, but your boss, be yourself and you’ll attract so much more commitment and loyalty from people,” Taylor said.

She later added that you can use this concept as “a litmus test,” saying, “if you catch yourself using this sort of cringeworthy jargon, think about if you transport yourself into a comfortable setting in your home or a party— would people look at you and roll their eyes?”

Here’s the worst office jargon.

Don’t say this at work

For the research, Morar Consulting surveyed 1,061 US employees working in offices with at least 5 people. They got “a small monetary incentive” for participating.

Curious about what other jargon the respondents identified really didn’t like? Take these from the survey. We provided the translations.

Blue-sky thinking

Thinking creatively.

In the weeds

Too detailed.


When you add up the pros and cons, this is the answer.




Add numbers to improve the analysis.


Put into action.

Let’s parking lot this


Siloed thinking

Forgetting to consider the impact on other teams or parts of the company.


Let’s stop thinking of it this way and think about it this other way.

It’s time to eat a reality sandwich

Back to the real world for a second.

It’s time to put the soup through the strainer

There’s a lot of junk here we don’t need.

It’s like trying to put a horn on a donkey and call it a unicorn

A variation on the old standby “trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

Those aren’t the only ones. American Express also provided other examples of irritating office jargon, like “run it up the flagpole and see who salutes,” which sounds a little militaristic for our tastes.

Why we talk like this even though we know better

American Express asked respondents why they use jargon at work, even if it only obscures what they mean.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they drop “industry jargon” every day at work, compared to 36% who do two to three times weekly, 16% who do once weekly, 7% every 2-3 weeks, 4% who don’t even use it once per month, and 10% who don’t at all.

There are different reasons why people put jargon to use. Forty percent surveyed said they’re unaware that they use it because it’s a habit, 35% do “for fun/to secretly test people,” 25% do for assimilation purposes, 24% do to come off as intelligent, and 19% do so to avoid questions.

When they use jargon, 48% said it’s enjoyable, 45% said they are “amused,” 14% don’t like it, 11% said they stop paying attention and 11% are puzzled by it.

Other drains on productivity

A lot of time is spent in meetings each day. Thirty-seven percent of the people said they spend 1-2 hours in meetings daily. Even more people said most of their workday is spent in meetings: 20% said they spend 3-5 hours there, 20% also spend under an hour, 16% say 6-8 hours because they come with the job.

Only 7% of the survey respondents have no meetings. (We don’t get how that’s possible, but we hope they will teach us.)

Some of the things people catch themselves daydreaming about during “pointless meetings” are what they need to do outside of work, vacation, and even coworkers’ outfit choices.

The study touched on other ways we decrease productivity, like “the culture of no,” such as when ideas are quickly dismissed. Instead, they encouraged that ideas be considered before they’re rejected, and preferably adapted into something better.

The research also explored what happens when we lose focus at work because of distractions.

How to escape the lost productivity bubble

As for the excessive meetings, Taylor said that managers shouldn’t invite employees to ones they don’t necessarily need to be a part of. But each team member should also “think and act like a leader” by using their judgment when deciding if they need to attend, instead of constantly asking their bosses.

As for distractions, Taylor suggested trying to cut back on them (the study identifies social media, news and coworkers) and said that not focusing on being liked by everyone at work so you can boost your performance. But she added that we should “think of it more as an evolution, not a revolution, because no workplace is immune to these problems.”

As for the study’s findings on the “culture of no,” Taylor told Ladders that “it’s a lot more work for a manager to say yes, because then they have to go up hierarchy and get approval, and think about it,” But she elaborated, saying that “in the bigger scheme of things, if the manager is open to the possibilities of an idea, then it will actually reflect well on them and more importantly it could be a game changer for the company.”

This article 12 ridiculous phrases smart people avoid at work appeared first on Ladders.

Nissan’s next-gen Leaf will bring semiautonomous technology to the masses

The next generation of the all-electric Nissan Leaf is right around the corner. It will receive more driving range, and it will inaugurate Nissan’s ProPilot Assist suite of semi-automated driving technology.

The post Nissan’s next-gen Leaf will bring semiautonomous technology to the masses appeared first on Digital Trends.

At Tjaden’s Electrical Service Shop

Contributing Writer Rosie Dastgir celebrates a favourite electrical repair shop in Chatsworth Rd

Keith Tjaden

It is easy to miss Tjaden’s Electrical Service Shop, sandwiched between a chic restaurant and the Star Discount Store on Chatsworth Rd in Clapton, but I am on a mission. These days it is hard to find anyone trained in the art and craft of lamp repair and restoration, so I was delighted to discover such a place existed. Keith Tjaden’s shop, like an infirmary for injured lamps, a safe haven for ones like mine that have suffered rough times abroad, was just what I had been seeking.

One evening last summer, I lugged in a batch of battered lamps that had travelled back and forth across the Atlantic with me, and were in need of conversion back to English ways and English voltage. Were they beyond hope of repair?

I return to collect them in early autumn.  The radio chunters away in the background as I gingerly push open the shop door.  Mr Tjaden himself emerges from the back of the shop with an air of quiet triumph.  My pair of skittle shaped lamps, sky blue and pale cream, were damaged on the sea crossing to America and consequently left standing unused in a basement for seven years, half converted, half broken, with the wrong plugs and flimsy cardboard fittings.  Designated PIA. by the shop technicians – Previous Inexperienced Attention – they had cut a tatty and sorry sight.  Restored to gleaming perfection, Mr Tjaden’s fine workmanship is evident in their transformation. Even so, he is swift to credit the original design and craftsmanship of the lamps, Made in England, for Heal’s – they benefit from good bones, at least, in spite of suffering from PIA.

“The finish is so perfect,” he says, “that all I had to do was run the wax polish over the surface; they’ve not been sanded.” Apparently, it is all about the quality of the molding. The bases are made with powder-loaded resin, using an adhesive mixed with blue powder to get a solid base that won’t chip like a painted version.

Mr Tjaden brings out my beloved pair of thirties lamps that he has restored for me: stacked up glass baubles on chrome cigarette tray bases that I found in a vintage shop in New York’s East Village.  The glass baubles are cast, and therefore display no joint lines whatsoever, not something that I’d clocked till he points it out to me.  Polished and sparkling, they are even prettier than when I first acquired them.  The smart new flex is black.  “We use it on almost everything because it matches everything – brass, wood, ceramics.” I learn that electrical flex has a dogged memory, so it retains its kinks and curves.  Which is why cable coiling is such an art, flex refuses to repress its memories without a struggle. “Make sure the wire comes out from the inverted cigarette tray, so it doesn’t tip over,” Mr Tjaden tells me.

Meticulous in his work, both aesthetically and technically, Mr Tjaden is very safety conscious and it dawns on me that I am lucky to have escaped with my life after seven years surrounded by such ill-converted lamp and light fittings while I lived in New York.

“Despite the life they’ve had and the travelling they’ve done, they’ve been restored to new,” he says. He shows me the safety label he’s stuck to the newly refurbished base.  I feel a glow of pleasure and relief.

After doing national service in the RAF, working on navigational instruments, Mr Tjaden started the business in 1958 with his colleague and senior partner, Mervin, who had a background in TV and radio engineering. They took over the premises on Chatsworth Rd in 1990, moving here from Leystonstone High Rd, when the street was a still a bustling mix of greengrocers and washing machine repair shops, locksmiths and pet shops, carpet dealers and newsagents. Jim’s Café opposite has closed down now, after Dave the proprietor died.  The place was a favourite lunch spot serving home made meat pies to all manner of people from the area. Road workers, who parked their barrows outside, sat beside men in suits and teachers who nipped out for a much needed break from Rushmore School up the road.

When families and young people started moving back into Clapton in the nineties, many of the old Victorian and Georgian houses had not been touched since the fifties.  ‘They were literally in the dark ages,’ Mr Tjaden recalls, ‘requiring a huge amount of work rewiring from top to bottom.  Of course, everyone wanted to be modernized in the fifties and sixties and seventies, but nowadays people want to hold onto their old light bulbs from the past.”

Part of the shop’s appeal and longevity lies in Mr Tjaden’s ability to fuse the old and the new – he enthusiastically embraces change and modern technology, yet clearly retains an affection for antiques and vintage pieces. There is a pre-Weimar lamp being restored for a young barrister couple. A leather box from the twenties, a family piece, used for storing white wing collars, is on display.  An old British microphone from the thirtie’s stands in the shadows in the back of the shop, waiting to be hired for a film or photo shoot.

I spot a small gizmo I do not recognize sitting in a glass display cabinet.  It is a 1945 radio valve, found inside old radios and radiograms, TVs and amplifiers. It has a heater that warms up the cathode which produces the electrons and comes out on the plate as a rectified signal.  The radio valve, like the light bulb, is an endangered species.

Nowadays all lamps repaired in the shop are fitted with the latest incarnation of LED bulb, lighting semi-conducted diode devices.  “Filament bulbs or incandescent bulbs are strictly speaking off the market,” says Mr Tjaden, “unless they are extra long life or decorative.  They waste energy and don’t produce much light.” I cannot argue with that, though I feel a pang of nostalgia.  A typical LED bulb of a mere 4 watts, or 470 lumens, to use the newfangled measure, is rated to last 15,000 hours and provides ample light.  The old bulbs are scorching to the touch, and burn out their fixtures.  Their days are numbered, and not just because of European Union directives.

There are some happy endings to the demise of the old bulbs.  An elderly couple, barely able to discern the dimly-lit surroundings of their living room, were delighted when Mr Tjaden came to the rescue with a dazzling new LED bulb. A single pendant of 1,500 lumens.  It did the trick. They will never have to mount a rickety chair to change a bulb again.

“A god send,” Mr Tjaden says. And for a brief flicker, I picture the old couple, instant converts to the new illumination, gathered in the bright circle of light thrown by their thoroughly modern bulb.

Photographs copyright © Colin O’Brien

TJADEN RETRO & VINTAGE ELECTRICAL REPAIRS, 62A Chatsworth Rd, E5 0LS. Vintage, Retro Electrical Light Fitting  & Repairs

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Scroogled no more: Gmail won’t scan e-mails for ads personalization


Enlarge / Microsoft’s description of Gmail scanning from the “Scroogled” ad campaign. (credit: Microsoft)

Google has announced it will no longer scan e-mail messages for ad personalization. Previously, in the consumer version of Gmail, Google’s computers would scan the contents of every e-mail message to determine a relevant ad to show. The scanning “feature” has been turned off for Google Apps for Education and GSuite accounts for some time, but now Google says that “consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change.”

In its blog post, Google says, “This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products. Ads shown are based on users’ settings. Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalization.” Presumably Google means Gmail will now honor the account-wide “Ads personalization” setting, which is available at https://www.google.com/settings/u/0/ads/authenticated.

Gmail’s scanning has long drawn ire from the tech community. It was the subject of a lawsuit alleging the the feature violated wiretapping and privacy laws, which eventually resulted in Google turning scanning off for students. Google has also been sued by non-Gmail users over the feature. That lawsuit claims that non-users that e-mail Gmail users should not have their e-mails scanned. The feature has also been the subject of Microsoft’s “Scroogled” campaign.

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Medical records join revenge porn, credit card numbers for Google removal


Enlarge (credit: Getty | Chris Ryan)

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has now added personal medical records to the list of things it’s willing to remove from search results upon request.

Starting this week, individuals can ask Google to delete from search results “confidential, personal medical records of private people” that have been posted without consent. The quiet move, reported by Bloomberg, adds medical records to the short list of things that Google polices, including revenge porn, sites containing content that violates copyright laws, and those with personal financial information, including credit card numbers.

The policy change appears aptly timed. Earlier this month, a congressionally mandated task force—The Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force report—reported that all aspects of health IT security are in critical condition. And last month, the WannaCry ransomware worm affected 65 hospitals in the UK.

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Dictate – Speech Recognition for PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook


Dictate is a free add-in for Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Once you have Dictate installed you can speak to have text appear in your documents, slides, and emails. Simple voice commands let you insert punctuation, delete words, and start new paragraphs.

Dictate takes just a minute or two to install. Just download the installation file and run the installation wizard once to have Dictate appear in all three Microsoft products.

Applications for Education

Dictate could be a helpful add-in for students who need to speak to insert text into documents or emails.

online PD this summer

This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers

if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission.

Get Inspired By These Videos

This is a guest post from Rushton Hurley. Rushton is the founder of Next Vista for Learning and the author of Making Your School Something Special

I love an inspiring video.

While I think it’s inspiring that there are over two thousand short videos created by and for teachers and students everywhere on NextVista.org, we also have a resource page filled with videos on other sites.

These stories tell of inspiring young people, or an amazing teacher, or simply a moment that captures your heart.


We believe these sources of inspiration might be used to rally your team, or perhaps prompt important discussions with your colleagues.

Next Vista for Learning: Sources of Inspiration


Feel free to share what you find with others. All of us occasionally need a reminder that there are all kinds of wonderful moments happening all around.

online PD this summer

This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers

if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission.