There are lots of phrases that are commonly used in workplaces. However, some of them are so frequently used that hearing them inspires rage and fury. If you're easily angered, you may not want to read this list.
“Back to the drawing board”
There's only one kind of situation when this phrase is appropriate, and that's when the situation involves an actual drawing board. But unless you're a visual artist, it doesn't —so please stop using it!
People who use this term are generally the kind of people who pop the collars on their polo shirts when the weekend rolls around. Most offices have these people; make sure you're not one of them.
“Let’s touch base”
While using lingo from sports can sometimes be appropriate for the situation at hand, there are lots of analogies that get beaten into the ground. Is it so hard to say something simple like "let's talk"?
What? Actually? Anyone who says this is just trying to sound like they're super knowledgeable about anything and everything related to technology. When someone says this to you, they'll be too busy plugging in to the web to notice you throwing up.
“Par for the course”
You know what's par for the course? 72. When someone does exactly what they're supposed to? That's called being average. Or getting the job done. Or meeting expectations. When your boss busts out this phrase, all it really does is remind you that he spends more time on the links than in the office.
“Circle back around”
Did someone miss the runway on the first landing attempt? No? Then there's no need to do any circling. Just bring up whatever it is that you're trying to rehash. There's not shame in wanting to clarify something or make sure that a project is underway as scheduled.
“At the end of the day”
The only thing that you want to do at the end of the day is go home, so when some idiot making a presentation uses this cute turn of phrase to sum everything up, you just get sad because it's not even noon yet.
“Get the ball rolling”
Yet another way that sports analogies have insidiously taken hold of the everyday world. Not only is "get started" a more appropriate way to express the desired sentiment, it's also more efficient as it consists of fewer syllables.
“Think outside the box”
Yes, thinking in an unconventional manner certainly helps come up with new and creative ideas. Yes, such ideas can turn out to be innovative and beneficial. However, that does not give one license to use the most cookie-cutter expression in the book.
“It’s on my radar”
Here's just one more saying that's only accurate if you work at NORAD. If that's the case, hopefully that thing isn't an incoming North Korean missile. In every other case, you don't have a radar. You're aware of something.
While other sayings on this list are just overused, this one is actually pretty offensive when related to work. If you're not using your brain at work, you're either slacking off or you're at a job that's mind-numbing. Neither situation is good.
According to the dictionary, synergy is when multiple things combine to produce something greater than the sum of the individual parts. According to your boss, synergy is something that you have to exhibit or else you'll get fired. As if those meetings weren't bad enough already.
Lots of people like to portray something as mutually beneficial in order to get you to help them with something. Handle with care, though, as a lot of the time this is just a tactic to offload work onto you, the unsuspecting nice guy.
“On my plate”
Some phrases are annoying because they're inaccurate. This one is annoying because thinking about plates just makes you hungrier and hungrier, eventually making it impossible to get any work done at all.
“Hit the ground running”
Part of the problem here is that this phrase implies that somehow, somewhere, someone will be dropped out of a flying vehicle into a battlefield. Maybe the people who use these words should think twice about what they're saying.
“Throw under the bus”
You've heard this phrase so often because it's moved from traffic accidents to the workplace to the world at large. You don't like it because it deals with someone getting screwed over. Its ubiquitous and negative connotation ensure that can't be used too sparsely.
“Get my manager’s blessing”
The pompous guy who always says this is the same guy who does everything he can to suck up to his manager for a raise, a promotion, or just to curry favor. You know this guy can do whatever you've asked of him, but for some reason he just can't give himself the go ahead.
“Bang for the buck”
By this point in time, everyone knows a thing or two about cost-effectiveness. If you can get more out of each dollar, that's a good thing. There's no need to ruin a good thing with a bad phrase.
“All hands on deck”
What is this, a pirate ship? There are better (and less silly) ways to call a team or company meeting. For example, you can always say "there's a team meeting" or "we're having a meeting in five minutes." It's not that hard.
“Elephant in the room”
Yes, sometimes there are awkward issues that must be dealt with, but using this phrase just makes everything that much more awkward. Instead of tiptoeing around the problem, just tackle it head on so that you can all go on to the more important things like actual work.