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Gen Z is coming for corporate-speak -

Godspeed, but they could clean up their own linguistic act too

I was pleased (relieved?) to read about younger workers mounting a resistance to the nearly meaningless jargon spoken in the workplace (“Get rid of corporate-speak? It’s on the radar…,” Page A1, Jan. 25). No one will miss “let’s circle back” or “synergy” or look back with nostalgia at “bandwidth” or “buy-in.”

That said, as long as Gen Z is cleaning up its linguistic act, can we please do away with the overuse of the poor, defenseless “like”? It shows up several times in the very same article in quotes from three people in their 20s. I’m, like, 65, so feel free to condemn me with a self-satisfied “OK boomer.”


Since we’re on a roll, could younger speakers also finally end the uptalking and the growly, I’m-running-out-of-oxygen, faux sophistication of the vocal fry? The workplace and the world would be better for it. Or at least sound that way.

Mark Miller

Dover, N.H.

One more for this list

I applaud Dana Gerber for highlighting the banality of biz-speak, but she missed perhaps the most overused term of all. She should have drilled down.

Jake Brown


Online readers take this discussion offline — er, wait, isn’t that — ah, you know what we mean

Dana Gerber’s story generated more than 200 comments from readers. Following is an edited sample:

This is not new. In the past we played buzzword bingo and e-mailed photoshopped images of overused words like “deliverable” and “squared circle.” Then we made up new buzzwords to replace the ones our bosses used. And now the Gen Z crew will do the same thing. I find those new employees joining my company want more responsibility and more and different experiences as soon as possible. This is good. It forces an organization to think about responsibilities and agility in the team skill set. (a-Smithey)

Many years ago, my supervisor started using “deliverables” to refer to pretty much any deadline. I took to swapping in the word “cupcakes.” She eventually demanded that I stop, but I’m pretty sure I made my point. (user_3558424)


It’s not just the kiddos who want this stuff stopped. Gen Xers do too. (MrsPeel)

Recently retired, but if I heard one more person say “holistic” my head was going to explode. I also got tired from all the unpacking. (DotCentric)

Oh yes, Gen Z is the first to mock office work and language. Except, of course, Dilbert was first published in 1989, going after everything office-related including the language the pointy-haired boss used. The movie “Office Space” in 1999 included having “a case of the Mondays.” “Up in the Air” in 2009 went after the language of layoffs. The list goes on and on. The young always mock the old, who were once young mocking their elders. Old wine in new bottles. Now stay off my lawn, whippersnappers. (KatManDone)

I couldn’t care less about work speak. Way easier than learning Spanish, French, or Mandarin. But if it’s a chaotic, negative, or disrespectful work environment, no amount of jargon-scrubbing will ever save it. (LuckHelpsAlot)

From the generation that feels compelled to sign their e-mails with their preferred pronouns. Lol. (Stopandthink)

From the political party that is afraid young people will learn actual American history. Lol. (RIGUYINVA)

In the early ’90s we actually had a pool at every gathering for how many times the GM would say “paradigm.” (plt062)


“No worries” really drives me nuts. (smartcookie2)

These comments “check all the boxes.” (g-j-anthony)

My favorite: ”We’re on the glide path to completion.” (UpNoth)

“That’s what she said” would be the Dunder Mifflin response to that one. (smozo)