The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit: An A to Z Lexicon of Empty, Enraging, and Just Plain Stupid Office Talk

This caustically funny Webster’s of the workplace cuts to the true meaning of the inane argot spouted in cubicles and conference rooms across the land.

At a price even an intern can afford and in a handy paperback format that won’t weigh down your messenger bag or briefcase, The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit is a hilarious guide to the smoke-screen terms and passive-aggressive phrases we traffic in every day. Each entry begins with a straight definition followed by a series of alternative meanings that are, of course, what is really meant.

Take, for example, the widely used, seemingly innocuous term brainstorming:

1. to generate ideas as a group in an accepting environment and in a free-form manner
2. a supposedly relaxed forum in which no idea is a bad idea – that is, until you generate a bad idea and are met with uncomfortable silence/looks that suggest you are retarded or really uncool/the feeling that you are about to be fired

Beyond deciphering corporate commonplaces, you’ll learn the PC term for secret Santa (Holiday Harry); why the Blackberry is “most commonly referred to as a ‘Crackberry’ due to its highly addictive nature”; and that when a co-worker says “Have a good night”, they really mean: “this meaningless, seemingly interminable exchange of small talk is now over. I am no longer speaking to you, and will now flee this awkward social situation. Don’t even think of asking which way I’m walking.”

Just remember to read this only at COB (close of business) to avoid being busted (caught idling by your boss).

From the Trade Paperback edition.

What Up?


Urban Dictionary is an awesome slang recourse. Thanks, , you non-blogging bastard. Before I used to go to Everything2 for all slang related research. But Urban Dictionary is so much better.

For instance there I learned that usage of “word” as affirmation probably originates from “the word of God.”

My Star Trek Strategy

As embarrassing as it is, my wife watches Star Trek. Even the new one with that terrible intro. What I like about Trek is how predictable everything is. For instance, for some reason Klingon ships almost always decloak and otherwise appear off the port bow.

Like doctors, sailors have their own lingo for spatial orientation. Left/right is easy to remember : it matches port/starboard (l is before r and p is before s). Front/back is stern/bow, and I use a mnemonic “stern face”, as stern is the face of the boat. But ya all probably knew that.

Well, let’s ask mighty Google:

“port bow” klingon ship decloak : 59 pages
“starboard bow” klingon ship decloak 32 pages
“port stern” klingon ship decloak 4 pages
“starboard stern” klingon ship decloak 1 page

Well, it kind of makes sense that they appear from the back, buth why do they favor left? I’d make a special ship with more sensors, weapons and armor on the left and back.

Testing. Testing. 1. 2. 3?

When programmers test their code, the need to come up with some kind of test data. And most programmers are not very creative (just as everybody else). Very often you can log into various websites with the login “test@test.com” and password “test”. I am afraid to even think about what test@test.com’s inbox contains. It’s a real email address you know, the emails don’t bounce.

Here are some interesting test strings:

Of course, everyone knows the famous “Hello, World” test string. I’ve heard that for the first time it appeared in the bible, but I am not sure.

The other most famous test strings are “foo” and “bar”, which apparently come from foobar, which is derived from WWII slang. FUBAR is a relative of SNAFU.

A professor that taught VB in college told us, that about the time he was developing a database application for a hospital. His favorite test person was James T. Kirk and his mates, and during testing the poor captain got every imaginable sort of ailment. With funny comments.

When I worked at iXL, our tech lead, a German by the name of Lothar, liked to use a string “4711” as most people use “foo”. Once, in a meeting he asked if anyone new why he was using “4711”. He was pretty surprised that I new what “4711” was. “4711” is what some of you may know as Koeln Water, which was the first commercially produced perfume. That’s where the term “cologne” came from. And “4711” is the number of the building where Koeln Water was produced.

I use “1729” for my testing needs sometimes.