8 examples of corporate jargon and phrases that weird out Gen Z


Young professionals entering the workforce are facing challenges when it comes to understanding and using workplace jargon. A recent survey conducted by LinkedIn and Duolingo found that almost half of the Gen Z and millennial respondents in the UK feel excluded at work due to the widespread use of phrases like "blue-sky thinking" and "low-hanging fruit." More than two-thirds of young professionals believe that their colleagues overuse jargon, with 60% describing it as a different language altogether.

To express their frustrations, some individuals have turned to platforms like TikTok. In one video, a TikToker named DeAndre Brown humorously mocks older peers for using phrases such as "elephant in the room" and "hop on a quick call." He suggests that they should simply get to the point and avoid wasting time with corporate jargon. Another TikToker, known as @stuffkarensays, created a series on TikTok called CSL (corporate as a second language) where she humorously teaches viewers how to use corporate jargon to hide their true feelings.

The main issue for Gen Z professionals is that their older colleagues often use jargon to mask their true thoughts instead of speaking plainly. Here are eight phrases commonly used by older professionals that Gen Z finds peculiar:

1. Blue-sky thinking: This phrase encourages creative brainstorming without being limited by existing beliefs or ideas. However, it tops the list for the most annoying phrase, according to the LinkedIn survey.

2. Boiling the ocean: This phrase refers to taking on a task that is either impossible or unnecessarily difficult. It is considered negative and dramatic, as attempting to boil the ocean is an impossible feat.

3. A quick flag: When a manager mentions "a quick flag," they are signaling something important or potentially problematic. However, this phrase is often misunderstood and considered annoying by Gen Z.

4. Ducks in a row: This phrase means being properly prepared and organized for a task or project. Despite its popularity, Gen Z often finds it confusing and frequently hears it in the workplace.

5. Herding cats: This phrase refers to someone who can organize people with conflicting views to work together on a difficult task. Gen Z also finds this phrase confusing in a corporate context.

6. Low-hanging fruit: This phrase describes tasks that are easy to accomplish, as the fruit hanging lowest on a tree is the easiest to pick. However, 55% of respondents in the LinkedIn survey reported not understanding its meaning.

7. Singing from the same hymn sheet: This phrase means having a shared understanding or expressing the same thing publicly. Gen Z perceives it as unnecessarily complicated.

8. Move the needle: In business jargon, "moving the needle" refers to completing tasks that have a noticeable impact. Gen Z struggles to understand this phrase and prefers more direct instructions.

Overall, Gen Z professionals feel left out and frustrated by the excessive use of workplace jargon. They prefer clear and straightforward communication instead of confusing language that often obscures the intended message.  

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