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What are the phrases you are most tired of hearing at work?

I am just tired of hearing a few "catch phrases" and about a few topics at work and I wanted to see if others were having the same experience and/or had other phrases that "get on their nerves" they would like to share. A few that are getting like nails on a chalkboard for me are: "customer centric" (what does this really mean), "Twitter" (I do not see how that helps in B2B), "Growth" (yes, we need to grow sales, but how you do it matters), and "strategic alignment (you should not need to say it, it should be at the core of your company culture)


Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

I hate to hear "It is what it is."

If what it is isn't working it's about time to change whatever it is. This phrase reminds me of a way to get out of changing an antiquated system, thought process, or making long-term improvements for the company's culture, customers, employees, and vendors.

Randy Moore
Title: CFO
Company: SJB Bagel Makers of Boston
(CFO, SJB Bagel Makers of Boston) |

Gawd, I hear that one all the time.
The other one that gets under my skin is 'that's the way we've always done it'. I refer to it as the SALY (sally) method -same as last year.

Ern Miller
Title: Co-CEO
Company: Miller Small Business Solutions
(Co-CEO, Miller Small Business Solutions) |

Reminds me of the old southern Gospel song...don't remember the name of it. The song is about a guy who is going to a new church. On his way, he spots the church is on fire and runs to tell a deacon who replies, "That's a point well put. A timely suggestion. We'll take it up at the board of deacons just one week from now."

The church burns, they meet under a tent, and a tornado comes. The new guy runs to tell the deacon with the same reply. It continues from there.

The new guy finally asks why they have to wait a week for everything. The deacon replies, "I don't know why, but that's the way we do it. Furthermore that's the way we always done it."

Point being, the, "SALY" way is the way of a company, and it's people, who refuse to realize their livelyhood will be destroyed if they don't embrace needed change.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

EBITDA it's the new "net income" phrase. And for the purists out there, yes its a different number but an "adjusted EBITDA" can be anything "you" want it to be (sort of like the old accounting joke)...

(Manager) |

Ha! I thought I was the only one that found EBITDA to be so annoying! I just hated that it was constantly used at my last company in every meeting but it seemed like 80% of the organization had no clue what it even meant. They were just happy when they heard we met the target for it.

Edward Thill
Title: VP - Finance & Operations
Company: Performance Trust
(VP - Finance & Operations, Performance Trust) |

Software bugs as a "known problem" -- I've heard this statement as if the mere acknowledgement has somehow addressed the problem. Me knowing that you know there is a problem does not make me feel any better unless you also tell me it is being addressed and when it will be resolved.

Topic Expert
Brenda Goudey
Title: CFO/VP of Finance
Company: KDR Designer Showrooms
(CFO/VP of Finance, KDR Designer Showrooms) |

Or at least tell me what the 'known workaround' is.

Michelle Rogers
Title: CEO
Company: Virtually There CFO Services
(CEO, Virtually There CFO Services) |

I once worked with a 'progressive' R&D Manager who changed the nomenclature of 'bugs' to 'defects' because he thought 'bugs' was a derogatory term. Changing what we called it still didn't change that they existed or that they needed to be dealt with.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Speaking bugs, the term came about during the first computer, the Univac, where they found an actually bug fried on one of the tubes used for calculation, causing the computer not to work....

oh trivia.... not back to your regularly scheduled program...

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

Love this post! My biggest pain phrase currently is "we're just so busy" Ugh. I'm sorry, and I'm not? Everyone is busy. It's reality.

(HR Mgr) |

Oh, I get that " I've been busy" all the time anymore.

John P. Martin
Title: Analyst - Finance
Company: Own
(Analyst - Finance, Own) |

Yes, a good post. The one I'm tired of hearing is "pain points."

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

"All else being equal." When does that ever happen?

(Principal) |

I used to have a VP of Marketing that sounded like he had just swallowed a Harvard Business dictionary. I always had to ask him to speak in English!

(President ) |

A couple that are starting to bug me are "it's right in my wheelhouse (or not)" and "top of mind."

Lyn Spens
Title: Consulting Manager
Company: Tyler Technologies
LinkedIn Profile
(Consulting Manager, Tyler Technologies) |

Acronyms as words just drive me crazy. Every industry and company has them, but assuming that everyone knows them and that you can use the acronym instead of spelling it out at least once in a conversation or written communication is just plain lazy.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

And when you are in several industries that use the same acronyms for totally different things, drives me to confusion and a pause as I try to figure out which is which...

Chris Holtzer
Title: Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis
Company: Sargento
(Senior Manager - Strategic Analysis, Sargento) |

Added to this is a word someone tries to fit to an acronym, that doesn't really fit. (Ex. "Peekaboo" for PCAOB)

Ern Miller
Title: Co-CEO
Company: Miller Small Business Solutions
(Co-CEO, Miller Small Business Solutions) |

I recently had someone ask if I knew RPG. In my military days, RPG meant Rocket-Propelled Grenade. In my geek days, Role-Playing Game. This person meant IBM(International Business Machines, or I Burn Money(for those who invested into it))'s Report Program Generator .

The first two sounded cool. I mean, getting paid to blow stuff up...who wouldn't love that? Or, programming the next Skyrim! Sign me up!

But, to work on a thankless project to archive 30 year old data that is only kept around because no one wants to take the fall if it should ever be needed...uh...

(Manager) |

Let me get back to you on that. We need to calendar an all-hands meeting, survey the stakeholders and then really lean forward on this.

Linda Jones
Title: Executive Managing Director & CEO
Company: CFO Business Solutions LLC
(Executive Managing Director & CEO, CFO Business Solutions LLC) |

How about 'pivot' and 'super' - everything is 'super' important and then it is time to 'pivot' again.....

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Any TLA uttered by a consultant:)

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

Lean Forward. I will never utter this phrase.

(Treasury Manager) |

You are working at company ABCXYZ. You just found out that they don't process their ______ (fill in the blank) the way most companies do. You ask, "Don't you process your ______ by doing ______ the way other companies do?" Your counter- part responds with "ABCXYZ is different". This is almost like a "we've always done it that way" in that your company being "different" is another excuse vs. needed change.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

Yes. In our world, I can't remember the number of times I've had to tell people that debits are still debits and credits are still credits when they tried to justify a proprietary approach to financial reporting.

Sulagna Dasgupta
Title: Analyst
Company: EY
(Analyst, EY) |

"Here in Company X we're not just a team, we're a family." (I pray for you that treat your real family better than you treat your "family").

Thomas Jaronski
Title: CFO
Company: Hillman Companies
(CFO, Hillman Companies) |

One phrase I find annoying is "I hear you". Great, I'm glad your ears work, but do you agree, disagree, have any further thoughts or comments?

Carla Gordon
Title: Accountant
Company: Govt
(Accountant, Govt) |

I'm getting tired of "think outside the box". Also dread hearing so-and-so is a "big picture guy or gal" which usually means they are full of ideas and no technical skills.

(Agent) |

"Low Hanging Fruit"

Kundan Lal
Title: Accounting & Finance Consultant
Company: Real Time Cloud Services, LLC
(Accounting & Finance Consultant, Real Time Cloud Services, LLC) |

I hate whenever someone says"Just think about something else!"

Kevin Roones
Title: Senior Accounting Professional
Company: In-between
(Senior Accounting Professional, In-between) |

At the end of the day, I'm tired of hearing "At the end of the day."

Denise Loter-Koch
Title: President/CEO
Company: empoweredNW
(President/CEO , empoweredNW ) |

"We're not comparing apples to apples here.", or "We're comparing apples to oranges here." Although these sayings can helpful for people that might not understand the technicalities of a subject or situation, I still feel like I hear it too often.

(CFO) |

ERP and CRM. Acronyms invented by marketing types to make us believe that they have something new; that their software is the "magic bullet" to making a more efficient business entity that can outrun the competition.

Both of these acronyms are used extensively here at Proformative. :-)

I'm old enough to remember the first rule of DP: "Garbage in, garbage out". ;-( And ERP or CRM system isn't going to offset that. In fact, it could easily make it worse.

(Interim Group Financial Controller) |

So tell me, 'what would good look like?'....


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