If you’ve spent any time in corporate America, you’ve probably gotten an email asking you to “reach out” to “empower” a colleague and make sure he has “buy-in” or ask him to “move the needle” on a “solution.” Alternatively, you may have been asked to “stay in your lane,” because you may not have the “core competency” to understand the “bleeding edge” product—after all, working on such a project surely has “lots of moving parts” and requires “synergy.”
Pointing out the lack of meaning behind many popular corporate phrases is hardly a new pastime. As varied messengers as Forbes, The Guardian, and the cartoon strip “Dilbert” have been calling out corporate jargon for years. The rubbish that defines nearly every corporation’s mission statement and floods all of our inboxes seems to have two main purposes: to boost perceived competence and to sugarcoat the nature of the employer-employee relationship, which is that the former pays the latter to produce value.
If you want a family, get married and have children. If you want a sympathetic ear to complain to, hire a therapist. If you want truly unconditional love, get a dog. Your boss is none of these, as you will quickly find out if you fail to perform in the private sector, government employee protections notwithstanding.