People Confess Which Corporate Buzzwords Drive Them Absolutely Crazy
Smartworks Coworking on Unsplash

Corporate buzzwords.

Most of us are familiar with them.

Phrases like "paradigm shift," "outside the box," "on brand" and "deep dive" rattle around offices.

Words like synergy, pivot, scalability and leverage get bandied about office emails.

And most of us hate them even as we use them.

Redditor Spec1alistInFailure asked:

"What corporate buzzwords/phrases make your skin crawl?"

the times

"In these unprecedented times...'."


"I want to go back to the precedented times."

- edlee98765

"It’s been 2 years."

"I think a precedent has been set."

- tom267

"In these now very well precedented times...'."

- Paddy_Tanninger

job (lack of) description

“We are looking for a dynamic and enthusiastic team player who is confident and adaptable."

"Responsibilities include supportingsenior leadership and taking responsibility for duties and workloads as assigned."

"You’ll be a member of an exciting and fast paced team working in a challenging environment.”


- Electronic_Rub9385


"Don't forget this nugget, which I saw on a job posting last week, 'Exhibiting courage in the face of ambiguity'."

"Pretty sure that's code for 'You won't know what to do and will have to figure it out in the moment. And it might make you question your integrity'."

- PrincessJos

"Or it means 'You'll be getting conflicting orders from multiple levels of management that all somehow answer to each other but there's zero accountability, so no matter what, your choice will be wrong, so you might as well do whatever you decide is best and take whatever vitriol is thrown at you'."

"'Right to work laws apply, employee can be fired at a moments notice but employee must provide 2 weeks notice if they intend to terminate employment'."

"'Masters Degree desired'."


- loptopandbingo

"WhY dOeSn'T aNyOnE wAnT tO wOrK aNyMoRe?"

- ikindalold

Is there a slow paced one?

"Fast paced environment..."

- llcucf80

"Aka: 'you'll be doing the work of two or three, but only getting paid for one (barely)'."

"Source: I worked in a 'fast paced environment' for nearly five years. I had a nervous breakdown and panic attacks, and am now on anti-anxiety medication."

"My old boss was like 'don't be afraid to drop a few balls' then fired me after saying that after 5 years I was 'no longer a good fit'."

"She also told me that I should be empowered to know when to say no, but then always told me that I wasn't doing enough to help the other members of the team if I said it."

- Darwinian_10



"'Rightsizing'. It means they're going to fire a bunch of people and dump all that extra work on those who remain."

- Coogles

"As in 'Merge departments. Ah, too many people now. Let's fire the undesirables'."

"Wait a bit. 'We're going to split up the department'."

- Tokugawa

"Yeah, funny how 'right sizing' never translates to hiring to meet a higher workload."

- tris_majestis

"No, because you don't need a friendlier sounding euphemism for 'exciting growth opportunities'."

- Mijal

I prefer the classics.


"As in 'we're looking for rockstars' in a workplace that is as far removed from guitars, moshpits, and headbanging as possible."


"Usually, the Rockstars are the best of the best. However, Rockstars cost way more than most companies budget for them."

"They want a Rockstar on a high school musician's salary."

- Jethris

"'Looking for a Rockstar employee'."

"Well you got it boss, I will gladly drink all day and show up hours late on a regular basis."

- BananaDictator29

"Rockstar, superstar, guru, and all-star. I've seen them all and it feels kinda childish."

- Rigel04

"Don't forget ninja. Or actually, let's please forget about ninja."

- regcrusher


"I know."

"There are fully grown adults going around calling themselves these names to help sell marketing books."

"So embarrassing."

- AndyVale

"The more cutesy the term a company uses for employees, the worse they treat them, in my experience."

"It’s doublespeak. I actually viewed them as red flags when I was looking for low-wage customers service jobs, in a tier."

"• Crew/associates/agents: slightly obnoxious but okay, because these are true and pretty much the same as employee."

"• Teammates/partners/family members: bad because they imply that you’re on equal footing with the corporate employees who very much view you as a replaceable piece of equipment."

"• Rockstars/champions/cast members/sandwich artists, etc.: the fact that they have to try so hard with these cringy terms shows that they have nothing to offer. These are usually bottom of the barrel, last resort, short term jobs."



"'Wear many hats'."

"Aka do your job and other people’s jobs as well."

- throwaway28236

"Yeah, my last job at a ~200 employee company was network admin, system admin, cloud admin, voice admin, desktop support, etc..

"If it was IT related in any way, it was on my plate. I don't miss it."

- EvlMinion


"This is usually smaller companies doing things on the cheap, or who can't afford to pay more."

"In my InfoSec days a recruiter LinkedIn messaged me with an opportunity. It was basically CISO, Security Engineer, Penetration Tester and Vulnerability Manager, and a one-man SOC all rolled into one role. Salary £50k."

"That was taking the piss. With the right experience those jobs each are worth more than £50k, the CISO can run into six figures for a good one."

- _spookyvision_

Can I be disowned?

"We’re a family here."

- morphinemso4

"See also: 'You’re not an employee, you’re a partner'."

"'But you still basically make minimum wage. We’ll give you stock options but you won’t make enough money to actually take advantage of those stock options'."

"'Also, you will only get 29 hours of work a week so we don’t have to give any benefits. Oh yeah, and there is no profit sharing'."

"'But you absolutely must refer to yourself as a partner. Now go put on a green apron and make me a f'king Frappuccino'.~Howard Shultz"

- OrchidBest

"Associate is my favorite. You're not even a partner, you're just associated with us in some way."

"'You know, doing the one thing our customers care about paying for, but we'll make sure you get as little money as possible'."

"Me, bitter? Why yes, yes I am."

- Grabnor

It's not easy being green.

"Using 'sustainability' like it is some newfound concept. Bonus points for using it incorrectly."

- FYLBingB0ng

"I do some copywriting for clothing companies and basically if they aren't disposable after you wear them twice and are overpriced they market themselves as sustainable."

- johnbugara

"There's a Levi's ad out now that basically is 'Save the world by wearing Levi's, because it doesn't wear out in a week'."

- Squigglepig52


This should have been an email.

"There are many diabolical buzzword bingo winners, but none more diabolical than 'let's regroup in...'."

"That means there is going to be yet ANOTHER of those interminable, time-wasting, meaningless hot-air spewing, MEETINGS in your not so distant future, and you'll be lucky if it only messes with your WORK schedule and doesn't threaten your lunch hour or quitting time."

- Reddidundant


"Annoying phrases (conference call, webinar and Covid-19 edition):"

"This is a living breathing document"

"It's a fluid situation"

"At the end of the day..."

"It is what it is"

"At the end of the day, it is what it is"

"I could care less"

"2 a.m. in the morning"


"...puts the onus on..."

"You can't make it up"

"In a vacuum"

"Let's put that in the parking lot and revisit..."

"Adding 'gate' to the end of a word to describe the current scandal"

"Non-military 'boots on the ground'"

"I'm not married to that idea"

"I want to piggyback on that point"

"Telework is no longer necessary"

"Stand down"

"A nothing-burger"

"In these crazy, unprecedented, trying times..."

- Jadakevy


Has your paradigm shifted?

Are you feeling synergistic?

Or did we miss your least favorite corporate lingo?

Share your own done to death phrases in the comments.

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