What Talking You: Cheem Office Lingo And What It Really Means
STORY: Pearlyn Tham
25 November 2021
In the media industry, some of us writers have to hit a minimum word count if we want to be paid by our editors. So when there’s nothing better or left to type, we may insert 26-syllable-words or flowery cliched phrases. Like pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis or supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
It’s the same elsewhere, really. And especially in the office – whether IRL or remote – where most people get to where they are because they are just very good at maxing out their work and business jargon count, using lingo that makes them sound wise and important when all they want to say is: “I am very sian and haven’t picked my nose in the last one hour.”
Recognise any of these?
Do you have the bandwidth for this?
You can also simply say: Got time to do this not?
But you really mean: I don’t care if every team member still has 32.5 days of accumulated annual leave left or if you are mourning the death of your pet ant but you just do OT and get this done, OK.
We have to get their buy-in
You can also simply say: You just talk until your staff or customers get confused and say okay.
But you really mean: If they don’t do or buy, then you no commission or bonus.
Let’s circle back to this OR Let’s take this offline
You can also simply say: Later then discuss again (if I have nothing better to do).
But you really mean: This meeting has gone on for 187 minutes. I really need to pee.
Your staff will get to upskill with these webinars
You can also simply say: Your staff can upgrade themselves with these webinars.
But you really mean: Each department, please sacrifice four people to sit in for tomorrow’s webinar so that HR can tick off their KPIs.
We have to pivot
You can also simply say: We have to adjust.
But you really mean: Gahmen use “pivot” during pandemic so I also use lor.
All the departments need to have synergy
You can also simply say: Everyone please cooperate hor.
But you really mean: I don’t care that your ex-boyfriend is in marketing. You must still update him on the latest project.
You can also simply say: Wah, you are cleverer than me.
But you really mean: Wah, you are cleverer than me because I never even thought of this question and I’m your reporting officer. Must watch you liao.
It is what it is
You can also simply say: …
But you really mean: I wasn’t paying attention to your presentation at all.
Can you hear me? Can you see me in the video?
You can also simply say: I don’t want to switch on audio and video, can.
But you really mean: You can’t hear me or see me in the video meeting because I’m not even there. I’m watching Netflix in my bed lah.