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Pandemic alert

Having worked in large global organisations for some time I can definitively say that a pandemic has taken hold.

Almost everyone has become infected by this rampant beast.

The symptoms include confusion, frustration, excessive waste and decelerated decision making.

I regret to say that I’m also showing signs, despite a strong immune system.

Worst of all there is no known cure.

What is it?

Bad language.

Vile and disgusting words. The foulest of phrases.

People are spilling out horrendous words without a thought, with the people they are directing at not even flinching because they have become so used to it.

The illness appears both in verbal and written form.

Brace yourselves, here’s a bunch of examples (and some suggested medicine). All of them vulgar in their own way.


Example 1: I asked my program manager this question – ‘Has a name been decided?’

The response: ‘Sort of but don’t really want to get into that today as think we should be able to agree‘

Gross, isn’t it.

It’s full of unclear, indecisive language. This could have simply been ‘Not yet, but it will be soon’


Example 2: From a job spec

‘Working conditions: Ability to work in a landscape directly influenced by dynamic and fluid business demands and priorities’

Urgh. Really? Half the words in this sentence are redundant. And can anyone tell me why this is under working conditions?

This could have been: ‘Able to manage business demands and priorities.’ 


Example 3: Here’s one from a CV

‘Singular ability to work in a dynamic environment with the potential for iterations to scope and time constraints’

Poor thing – this person has a real bad case of the illness.

Oh – so you only have one ability? Shame.

How about – ‘I’ve worked on projects before.’


Example 4: A conversation I overheard in the canteen between two developers

‘I sort of agree with you’

Oh come on. It’s like being pregnant – you either are or not. There is no half way house.

Have some balls and say ‘I don’t agree with you’. Doesn’t that feel better?


Example 5: A managing director in a weekly management meeting

‘I almost think it deserves more attention’

Huh? Try harder. Please try and actually think about it. Pretty please


Example 6: I did it myself on a 30 minute conference call where only half the people dialed in on time.

‘Given we’ve only got half an hour, I wonder if we should crack on?’

Arrgh – That should have simply been ‘I’m going to start the meeting.’


This mitigating language is at best comical, at worst a matter of life and death. Ever read the transcript of Avianco flight 052?

It’s become acceptable to constantly try and cover your arse and be noncommittal.

How many times do we hear ‘maybe’ or ‘should’ in a day? Too bloody many.

Think of a wedding. When asked the question – ‘Do you take this person to be your lawful wedded wife?’. You would not answer ‘Potentially’.

I can feel a cold sweat coming on just thinking about all of this so time for a lay down.

I’m sure there is an antidote but it’s going to take time. I hope it’s not too late.

Raising awareness of the illness is the start.

I wish you luck with your recovery.

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