The world of work is changing fast, and its terminology is evolving right along with it. Where before we had “doing your job as written in your job description,” and “being a shitty boss,” we now have “quiet quitting” and “quiet firing,” respectively.
Indeed, there are new terms entering the lexicon every day—and most of them don’t even start with the word “quiet.” Since it can be hard to keep track, we’ve put together a brief guide to help you stay up to speed on today’s growing dictionary of workisms.
Linking off: When a manager gets so wrapped up in regularly relaying their 300-words-plus musings about leadership via LinkedIn that they completely fail to manage their own employees.
See also: The Dan Price effect.
The island of ennui: A metaphorical place in which many remote workers reside. Employees may find themselves on the island of ennui after they are enthusiastically hired, only to be completely ignored outside of a weekly Slack message from their boss apologizing for not being in touch more frequently and offering a cursory, “Everything good, though?” that they will never follow up on.
Implosive growth: This occurs when a company that made their “explosive growth” known loudly and often during the early days of the pandemic is now just as quickly laying off an untold number of employees.
See also: Takesies-backsies hiring.
The three-hour tour: A phenomenon that occurs within physical offices wherein an employee is mysteriously yet consistently only present between the hours of 11 am and 2 pm. Currently only observed in executive-level employees who were weirdly intense about making sure everybody returned to the office full-time.
Those that exhibit three-hour tour behaviour can often be heard shouting over their shoulder as they disappear out the back door at 2 pm sharp that they need to beat traffic, pick up their kids, or do any other number of other duties that literally all other office workers also face but are not allowed to honour inside of work hours.
The ghost of good times past: The uneasy sensation many now feel visiting an office that was once alive with possibility, creativity and ping pong tournaments. Often paired with unshakeable feelings of nihilism, doom, and the sense that life’s best moments are now in the rearview mirror.
The Faustian pretzel: A lighthearted term used to describe the feeling of being a working parent in 2023: being constantly pulled and twisted into a number of uncomfortable positions, selling one’s soul to try to support one’s family, and finally, not being able to see a way out that doesn’t involve complete separation from one’s essential selfhood.
Chatting it: A term used to describe outsourcing any of a company’s writing to ChatGPT, be it marketing copy, blog posts, HR policies, or heartfelt letters from the CEO explaining that due to the widespread adoption of ChatGPT, the company will be slashing jobs dramatically in the coming weeks. Probably ultimately a good thing!
While the list of modern work terms is ever-growing, we hope this glossary will help you navigate the waters of workspeak a little more easily. The next time you overhear a colleague mentioning that they’re going to start “chatting it” the next time they “link off” from their “island of ennui”, you’ll know exactly what they mean!