Every now and then I get grumpy. I know some of you might find it hard to believe that someone as effervescent as I could be in that state. But it happens. And when it does, I start making a mental list of things that annoy me (Suri Cruise's wardrobe, Cialis ads, the Kardashians—to name just a very few).
I won't bore you with all of my pet peeves. Let's just focus on the ones relevant to my Careerist mission. Here's my list of business phrases that lawyers, consultants, and marketing folks love to throw around, but that few people actually understand:
1. "Climb the lattice, not the ladder."
Translation: You will never make it to the top anyway, so go crazy and keep yourself busy!
2. "Forget mentors. What women and minorities really need are sponsors."
Translation: We never got the mentoring thing down, so let's move on to something else we don't really understand.
3. "You should be a thought leader."
Translation: You are bereft of any original ideas, but with the right hairdo, makeup, and media training, you can be a real force in the industry.
4. "We focus on best practices."
Translation: The firm is getting failing grades in diversity, women, etc., and has no idea what to do about the problem.
5. "You will get real-world experience."
Translation: You will be doing document reviews in Trenton for the next 15 months.
6. "There is a paradigm shift in the industry."
Translation: You have no chance in hell of becoming an equity partner—even though you've been billing over 3,000 hours a year in the last decade.
7. "We have management buy-in."
Translation: It was the managing partner/CEO's idea in the first place.
8. "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem."
Translation: If you don't agree with me, you are (by definition) a problem.
9. "We want team players."
Translation: You will be working with an egomaniacal partner, so if you can't shut up and put up, you are lacking team spirit.
10. "Follow your passion."
Mercifully, you don't hear that advice too much in the legal world, unless we're talking about lawyers who've dropped out to become sheepherders or basket weavers. Frankly, if you are practicing law, you've probably given up on your passion. Or—more likely— you never had one in the first place.
Note: Parts of this post appeared in "Stop the Drivel."
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Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? E-mail The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at VChen@alm.com.