Monday, August 31, 2009

Put your big girl panties on

Since moving to the dark side (i.e., taking a job in the corporate world) nearly ten years ago, my vocabulary has grown tremendously. I now consider myself to be fairly proficient in Corpspeak. This very unique language is often rather amusing. Here are some of the basics:

  • Ripped me a new one. As in: "Man, I was in a meeting with my boss this morning and when I told her I still hadn't finished Project X, she ripped me a new one." This is the rated PG version. The rated R version is: 
  • Ripped a new a**hole, which basically means the same thing, but typically applies to others, usually someone far up the ladder. As in: " I heard that our CEO ripped a new a**hole in one of our VPs for not making plan last quarter."
  • Come to Jesus. This is an encounter in which one person sets down some rules for another person or group, as in: "My boss and I are going to have to have a Come to Jesus on these new flex time rules, 'cause they ain't gonna work for me." Or: "When it comes to these new flex time rules, I (the manager) am just going to have to have a Come to Jesus with my subordinates."
  • My plate is full. This is what you say when your boss asks you to do something and you don't want to do it or don't have time. In which case, your boss will usually ask you to:
  • Clean your plate. Meaning: get rid of any unnecessary tasks or projects that you're supposed to be working on. Usually this is a temporary thing, to be done when a high-priority task comes along that supersedes anything else you were supposed to be doing. As in: "OK, I need you to work on [insert name of corporate-initiative-of-the-day], so clean your plate for the next two weeks."
  • Help me to understand. This is what you say when your boss asks for the impossible, but you can't say: "Are you out of your @#$% mind?! There's no way I can clean my plate right now! I'm already working on 5,000 high priority projects!" Instead, you take a deep breath, think of puppies and flowers on a warm Spring day and say: "OK. Help me to understand why I should clean my plate for this . . . as well as how I'm supposed to do it." NOTE: Always use help me to understand before you attempt to Come to Jesus, otherwise you may find yourself being ripped a new one. Or worse.
So what is my point in writing this blog entry? Well, usually, these words and phrases don't translate to real life; I don't use them at home. But a few things have happened to me lately that have made life a little challenging.  A few days ago, I remembered another Corpspeak phrase that I hadn't heard in a while. It seemed to apply to my situation.
  • Put your big girls panties on. This means exactly what it sounds like: just grow up, shut up, and get it done.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, this phrase has become my mantra lately. I just wish my "big girl panties" had Wonder Woman on them, because I could certainly use some of her strength!