Friday, June 29, 2012

low-hanging cliché



Spoiler Alert: The laid-back nature boy is going to get peevish.

Someone asked me the other day did I have any pet peeves, i.e. minor annoyances. 

I said "No. Not really." And a day later one presented itself.

It irks me—like running out of ketchup when there's fries left on my plate—when corporate speak, Wall Street parlance, those catchy little coat-and-tie phrases, bounce out of the mahogany boardrooms and into our everyday vernacular. Phrases like: bottom line, outsourcing, value-added, need-to-know, out-of-the-loop, trending, proactive, core competency, branding (that's what you do to cattle), buy in, downsize, give 110% (not even possible), leverage position, touch base, visioning, outside the box, and that great abomination designed to make us all feel we need to be doing more: multitasking (Isn't it better to do one thing at a time and do it well? Call me old fashioned). 

I worked for years on the fringe of corporate America; I know these thing first hand. They may sound witty and glib in the office, in-the-know, but all too soon they become corporate clichés, tossed out at every committee meeting like confetti at New Years.

The newest, and I've already heard it twelve times too often is "low-hanging fruit," as in the easiest fun to pick and do away with. It has to do with budget matters and cutting expenses and employees and it's usually delivered with a self-assured, "We've already taken care of the low-hanging fruit." And it implies: I still have my job, so I'm the fruit that hangs higher.

Even though I like the nature metaphor, talk about a condescending low-hanging cliché. Clichés are just that, cliché. (I actually like the word cliché; it must be that tip of the hat accent mark, that diacritic acute.)

Forgive me. I needed to vent. My sunny disposition will return tomorrow. 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I be listening for anyone using this 'low-hanging fruit' thing because it's so obviously Freudian. Or maybe Jungian?

Their shadow selves are manifest. They think they are saying they are better than other (gone or going) employees but what they are really saying is.....ouch. I dread sitting in this chair for the next hour. I need an ice bag down my trousers.

Marie said...

I have to vent sometimes, too. I understand. Let me say that I haven't heard this cliche but I immediately thought of another reason it may be used...by the corporate elite, in reference to the chaff of society, um, the low-on-the-totem-pole (to use another cliche) everyman. We are unfortunately in danger. If you ever want a good bedtime scare that puts Steven King to shame, check out some of the posts on my current events blog!

By the way, gorgeous pears!