It is what it is. Whatever. Watch out for that bus
Burt's Eye View
I am literally annoyed. And so, the survey says, are you.
The phrases we use daily create this whole synergy thing, in a ballpark kind of way, that give 110 percent when you stay in the loop but think outside the box. At the end of the day, it’s a win-win situation that is what it is.
The 40 most annoying words or phrases that drive us nuts at work was just released by OnePoll in a survey conducted for Jive Communications. “Give it 110 percent” and “Think outside the box” topped the chart of irritants.
If you’re the kind of person who gives 110 percent, I don’t want you doing my taxes. You’re not very good at math.
Other pet phrases on the list include “throw them under the bus,” “push the envelope” and “blue-sky thinking.”
Once, a publisher asked me for my blue-sky ideas. I decided to push the envelope and ask what he was talking about. Apparently, blue sky meant he was ready to entertain my craziest, wildest story pitches. The sky was the limit.
Why didn’t he just say so? Deciphering mumbo or jumbo lands so outside my box. Thankfully, he didn’t throw me under the bus.
Buses must be the business version of killer clowns. Once, I endured a series of lectures about where various documents were stored, what accounts we had and how to access passwords and emergency numbers. Each lecture ended with, “You need to know in case I get hit by a bus.”
Is there a bus roaming the city in search of people in possession of important information? Is it the same bus people keep getting thrown under? Why can’t we throw people under a table fort? An apple tree? Or a pack of puppies? It would be a lot more cheerful than the business-hating bus.
Outside the job, the Marist Institute for Public Opinion annually collects the most annoying words of the year. The winner for 2017 — for the ninth straight year — is “whatever.”
Nothing tops “whatever” as the most rude, dismissive, aggravating word or phrase flung in your face. The accompanying eye roll jacks up the annoyance factor.
Whatever also carries a huge element of danger. When my wife asks me what I want for supper, it’s best that I don’t mutter, “Whatever.” Trust me, you really don’t want your spouse to plunk a big, fat glob of “whatever” on your plate.
Exactly what all goes into an oozing mass of “whatever”? Don’t ask. You don’t want to know. But you will learn never to answer “whatever” ever again.
“Literally” also populates the list. Someone once told me she “literally died laughing.” So I literally was talking to a ghost. Unless someone hit her with a defibrillator. But I suspect she meant FIGURATIVELY, because she sure looked alive to me. Literally.
The Reader’s Digest also published a list of the most annoying phrases in the English language. Among the pests we hope to swat down are “it is what it is,” “at the end of the day,” “I know, right?” and “just sayin’.”
If these sound like you in the office or at home, let me “loop you in” to “change your paradigm” and lay off the “low-hanging fruit.” You need to “take it to the next level” and “go back to the drawing board” for better cliches.
Otherwise, watch out for that bus. Just sayin’.
— Annoy Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.