For 2 years I worked in Corporate Real Estate at Citigroup and it sucked. The place was awash in isms: absolutism, sexism, egoism, nihilism and alcoholism. I refused to embrace the ideology or as my fellow “team members” would call it – “drink the corporate kool aid.”
There are aspects of my experience that still fire me up when I think about them.
Take for example the creation and overuse of corporate jargon. Basically, it’s taking a simple phrase and decorating it so that the person using it sounds smarter.
Phrases such as: fire drill, circle back, and down the pipeline fit this profile.
However, my absolute favorite was, and still is, “What’s the critical path?”
Here’s my beef with it –
- Why don’t you just ask – what do I need to do? There’s no need to gussy it up. Employing sophisticated phrases when unornamented ones will suffice is not necessary. Please find another way to stand out among your fellow taskmasters.
- Nothing that my “team” ever did was critical or of great value. I mean, the projects that we worked on were not capable of altering the earth’s trajectory. No one was going to win the Nobel because they organized a corner office, personal gym, and chocolate waterfall for a Managing Director.
- As far as I know we all worked in an office building and not a hospital emergency room. Doctors and nurses deal with critical situations. Having the wrong graphic on the first page of a Power Point or screwing up an equation in Excel is not critical. No one perished because the papers we pushed were not collated.