Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Agencies Propose Extreme Measures to Reduce Conference, Travel Spending
Friday, July 20, 2012
Buzzwords and Catch Phrases: The favored language tools of the lazy and unimaginative - An Interactive Blog Post
Recently I have become OVERWHELMED by the maddening overuse of clichés, catch phrases, and buzzwords. So much so, that I posted this to my Facebook wall:
Our Lady of Hopeless Buzzwords and Sorrowful Clichés- Help me to stay silent and stoic as I endure hearing people say "outside the box", and similarly maddening phrases, over and over and over, each day. Amen.
I got some great responses and then I knew- THIS is the topic for the first interactive blog post!
I have been waiting for the perfect discussion for my first stab at an interactive blog post- Which means, I wanted to write a blog post that I could post responses from friends, associates and social media connections. Facebook is the perfect platform for this type of discussion.
Below I have captured the comments and opinions of the individuals listed. I have provided a short “blurb” about each of them to give their comments context. NOTICE: I used a buzz- word, “blurb”. More on that later.
So, without further ado, THE INTERACTIVE BLOG!!
Karen Burch, Writer and Editor at “WayPoints by Karen Burch”-
I cannot stand "jargon"...things people say just to sound cool.
One of my personal unfavorite is: “Ah-ha moment”.
"Transparent!" Hate it.
“Authentic”. Hate it.
Kustancy is an "online journalist". Her blog is called Play Anon. -
As a journalist, you can imagine how often I run across this sh*t - from publicists (who are especially guilty of over-using tired jargon and boring cliches) to fellow digi-scribes...
Nate Brookshire, Assistant Professor at Colorado State University, Co-Author of “Hidden Wounds: A Soldier’s Burden, and blogger -
The current overused phrase for me is "second and third order effects."
Here is an excerpt from one of our manuals that is one of the many that use the phrase.
Field Manual 6-22
Chapter 6 - "Mental agility is a flexibility of mind, a tendency to anticipate or adapt to uncertain or changing situations. Agility assists thinking through second- and third-order effects when current decisions or actions are not producing the desired effects. It helps break from habitual thought patterns, to improvise when faced with conceptual impasses, and quickly apply multiple perspectives to consider new approaches or solutions."
Originally the phrase was used as an illustration to describe tactical decisions that impacted the operational and strategic spheres.
A good example of this is the Strategic Corporal. There are many examples of tactical decisions that have had "second and third order effects."
We use this term A LOT and I am one of the biggest offenders.
Aida Rasulova, a close person friend and
professional linguist -
“Cerebral”- because “Intelligent “is not good enough anymore.
Chelsea Hickey is a social media and email marketing strategist who blogs about everything you're thinking, but afraid to say.
“Totes Adorbs” – Apparently means totally adorable. Abbreviations are getting out of control.
"I know, right?" – Does this really need an explanation? Actually, it probably does. Are you asking for confirmation that you know something?
In the workplace, "Specifically", has become so overused and a big buzzword. You don't need to preface anything with specifically, rarely are you really giving specifics.
“Expert”, “guru”, and anything else of the sort, that will make someone sound high and mighty. Most recently, social media experts and gurus”. No. I doubt it. I am a social media strategist, for real.
“ROI” – Total buzzword with minimal understanding.
“Close of business” and “End of the Day” – Enough, just tell me when you need something. I don't know when you close or the end of your day is. Do you really want me to get you something by 11:59? Too often do people try to sound high and mighty via email?
Debbie Oliveri, A former co-worker -
Dano DeBroux is a self-described, "Subversive Innovator and fan of all things blinky." -
Most Over-used IT Buzz Word: The Cloud (oh, that's TWO words...)
Clyde Willoughby is a childhood friend who works in internet industry -
"It is what it is." Nearly always used by people who don't have the faintest idea "what IT is". It's kinda like "my bad" in some ways regarding difficult situations, like an avoidance of acknowledgement at any depth.
Tom McCuin, Strategic Communication and Government Relations Expert currently working as a contractor for the Department of Defense -
“Dialog” used as a verb. It makes the speaker sound like a new-age guru wannabe. Drives me around the bend.
Mike Jason, an Army officer in Afghanistan with 17 years of experience -
“Synergy”. It means nothing, but used all the time.
“Win-win" situation; like anyone wants to lose.
“Gain some "atmospherics."
And when you have absolutely nothing intelligent to say, just say, "Huah."
James Black- “Not so undercover Police Officer”for an undisclosed jurisdiction -
Funny, I always get punished by my establishment because I am non-conformist.
Anna Sargent, College Student, Mom to a beautiful four year old (my granddaughter!) -
“I beg your pardon.” I don’t use any of these nonsense words and phrases.
When people overuse the word, "right??" Like they are asking a question.
“Honestly”, “literally”, “awesome,” “yolo,” “hella.” Those are just a few that set me off!
Stephanie Chenault is the COO of Venio Inc., whose consultants serve as advisors to inform the development of policy, doctrine, and plans across the DOD -
"Set the condition(s) .Its a buzz-phrase used in ARSTAFF frequently and across DoD .
It's not that the phrase is bad, per se, just worn out!
And “apprised”and “appraised” used interchangeably.
Traci Ault, Long-time friend and all-around expert -
Well, if I hear another person use the word "literally" who does not know what it means, I might shout obscenities.
I'm thinking hard, but I don't think I use any of those catch phrases. I'm not in a nine-to-five office environment, though, so that might help. In my line of work there's a lot of "team player" use, which I avoid at all costs. It ain't baseball. I'm guilty of the incorrect use of the word "awesome," and probably say "okay" and "I know" too much. Verbal laziness.
I hate "proven track record”." Is there a track?! If so, how did I miss seeing it? Who's keeping this record? I just picture some guy with clipboard and a stopwatch following guys around the office taking notes. "Good sale, Jim. Now, if you just shave a few seconds off your 100 meter dash time.”
Deanna Weber Prine, A Research Program
“Metaphorically speaking” or “in a nutshell” are used a lot here.
And my own dear husband, David Miller, provided a great quote -
Therefore a phrase is not in itself a buzzword: it becomes one in the context of inappropriate usage or usage with an ulterior motive.
I hope these comments have been as enlightening and amusing to everyone who reads this as they were to me.
The report notes that among those employees who do telework, there’s a relatively even split between teleworking three days a week (27 percent), two days a week (28 percent) and one day a week (25 percent). Several agencies have high rates of telework... read more-
Growing Trend of Government Telework Gives Employees More Options
Friday, July 13, 2012
Public transportation is one of the most innovative and constructive concepts of the 20th century. Theoretically, it has the potential to make millions of people’s daily commute faster and easier. That is the idea, but in practice it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the growing problems associated with the daily commute for D.C. professionals and tourists alike.
For those who use metro for their daily commute to their jobs in the greater D.C. metropolitan area, the aggravations and continuing dissatisfaction with the quality of service has been become compounded by the July 1st fare hikes that are costing commuters far more than most feel they are receiving in return. A ride that once cost $1.85 (and only a few years ago, $1.35) is now $2.05. Many commuters can spend upwards of $12.00 per day on their commute to and from work.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Secret, secret, I’ve got a secret: The secrets we keep can be more unsettling than the truths we tell
We learn to keep secrets at an early age. Most people will get their cues about secrets and honesty from their parents or role models. If a child has been encouraged to keep secrets, or viewed their parents being secretive, they are bound to learn sneaky or concealing behaviors and believe them to be the norm.
Secrets are universal. Keeping secrets is part human nature, part cultural, and part learned dysfunctional behavior.
PostSecret is an entire website, and many books, that delves into the phenomenon of secrets and hidden events or thoughts. “PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.”
- From the PostSecret Website -
Some of the most terrifying things I’ve ever heard have started out with these sentences:“I’ve never told anyone this before…”
“I know you are going to find this hard to believe…”
“I don’t really know where to begin…”
I’ve had my share of guts spilled all over me. I've spilled mine over other people. It often isn’t pretty. Sometimes it can change your life. But sharing secrets is, more times than not, better in the long run than trying to keep them hidden. I admit to unpleasant, shameful secrets, which have all come to light or I have finally shared. Many of them, I am not proud of.
Almost everyone has shared, or had someone else share, a secret they would rather not have known about or wish they could forget. Wouldn’t life be so much easier and simpler if we didn’t have terrible and shameful things that we have either had to, or chose to, hide?Many people believe it is better to keep their secrets. They convince themselves they are protecting others, or themselves, from pain, hurt, humiliation, or scandal. And every day you can see examples in the headlines, or on television, of the terrible outcomes of that theory.
Some other secrets that people believe they can keep, but rarely do:
- Physical or mental illness
- Gambling or shopping addictions, or secret debts
- “Love children” or secret family members
- Criminal record
- Political scandal
- Addiction to pornography
- Internet addiction, to include internet “affairs” and inappropriate online relationships
- Identity theft
- Stolen valor
- Internet dating secrets
- Misrepresentation of credentials or degrees
- False persona
- Pyramid schemes or dicey investments
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Much of the news coverage is setting an alarming tone. A recent Bloomberg Business article noted: “Contractors worry about a lack of leeway if the full $55 billion in cuts goes into effect. Last year’s Budget Control Act, which established the sequestration process, said cuts should be made at the “programs, projects and activities” level. Meaning that depending on which program or project you support, significant cuts are likely on the way.
The article went on to say, “Not all companies will be affected in the same way. If the budget ax falls, contractors that provide services to the Pentagon, such as Virginia-based Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) (CSC) in Falls Church or SAIC Inc. (SAI) (SAI) of McLean, probably will see a drop in revenue faster than weapons makers such as Lockheed Martin, analysts said.”
See more here:
Potential Defense Cuts Continue to Cause Alarm
Sunday, July 8, 2012
ScienceDaily reported: “Thomas Wright, Jon Wefald Leadership Chair in Business Administration and professor of management at K-State, has found that when employees have high levels of psychological well-being and job satisfaction, they perform better and are less likely to leave their job -- making happiness a valuable tool for maximizing organizational outcomes.”
Wright said: “Happiness is a broad and subjective word, but a person's well-being includes the presence of positive emotions, like joy and interest, and the absence of negative emotions, like apathy and sadness.” Wright continued, “ An excessive negative focus in the workplace could be harmful, such as in performance evaluations where negatives like what an employee failed to do are the focus of concentration’, he said. When properly implemented in the workplace environment, positive emotions can enhance employee perceptions of finding meaning in their work.”
See more here:
Is Just Being Grateful to Have a Job Enough?
Saturday, July 7, 2012
I like to read blogs, and I read lots of them. I will read a blog about almost anything. I enjoy seeing how others write and the topics they find interesting. There are, however, a few topics I find quite upsetting and discouraging.Last year, I wrote a blog piece called, “Crazy bloggers” may think their content is popular, but it’s all about schadenfreude”.
I am often offended and outraged by blogs that contain “TMI” or too much information. The information is almost always about OTHER PEOPLE.
A few examples:
In my humble opinion, and limited experience, most people I know and have heard of, have had more negative than positive experiences. The “formulas” don’t really work very well for matching people up; especially when a huge percentage of people, male AND female, lie about themselves and misrepresent their information. But that is another blog post all together.
Dating can be a humiliating experience. Not all dates have happy outcomes. It can take years of dating to find the “right” person. A few light remarks about the incompatibility or precariousness of the dating scene could be a good blog post. Ripping apart individuals met on failed dates, and calling out all the horrible details, is not cute or clever. It is nasty and it is mean.
It seems ironic to me that these bloggers think t they are so perfect and wonderful that they have the right to spill personal things about another person, they set up to meet on the internet, through a paid dating site. One might wonder, if they were so fabulous, why they are using a dating site to begin with. But I digress.