If we consider that posturing tends to imply some basic deficiency and that social masks often cover for their opposite, what should we think about these business metaphors:
cannibalization, drilling down, war room, open the kimono, where the bodies are buried, twisting the knife, a hail mary, loose cannon, come to jesus meeting, brass balls, getting axed, poison pill, hit the ground running, consigliere, deal junkie, nerves of steel, pulling the trigger
I think it means that deep down we know there isn’t anything all that impressive about what we spend so much of our lives on. And we’re so desperate to make it sound better than it is that we dress it up violent imagery and sports references. You can’t draft off something else’s narrative, you can pretend, but the facts remain.
[email protected]*#ing terrific post! So true….and I’m guilty of doing this from time to time. Raw and insightful man…
true, but if you’re aware enough to know that what you do is unimpressive, then using these words just makes it a little more fun which is fine. That’s the exception i think. Of course most people won’t change their life even if they know their life isn’t all that it is behind the exaggerated terms, so maybe delusion in most cases is fine as well. Most people are cogs, just let them be is what i say.
Most people are average, because that’s what average is, and that’s the way it has to be. You’re right, deep down people know their lives are unimpressive, but thinking about it will only make you miserable, especially if you don’t have the ability to live an impressive life.
I don’t think these business metaphors are trying to mask anything necessarily, but are merely a evolutionary throwback to our tribal roots when a man’s worth was based on his ability to defend his tribe. Sports and sports references are also metaphors for war.
“True, but if you’re aware enough to know that what you do is unimpressive, then using these words just makes it a little more fun which is fine.”
If you’re aware enough to know that your job is banal, and you still feel the need to use these terms like band-aids, then you’re propping up a flimsy delusion in order to protect your ego. That is the exact opposite of “fine”.
Posturing, in relation with the business metaphors you have mentioned, may imply deficiency but I would lean more to a cover up for strength. A strategy for new and improved as well as longevity. Or new/improved may lead to longevity, I should say.
As for social masks, the largest one we use today is called comments and you can find it on any blog or news story . Therefore one can gleefully give an opinion sans kimono and can change styles as quickly as they can read the next story. It’s the masquerade ball and everyone’s talking! The cleverest are listening. The cleverest are unimpressed due to the ordinariness of the mob, but the cleverest take what they’re given and add the extra.
As for the power of ‘dressing up’ anything, if you have learned to play checkers then you know the satisfaction of KING ME.
Thank you for your ‘blog-time’. It’s rare to find quality and I love it when you let your intellect shine!
“If you’re aware enough to know that your job is banal, and you still feel the need to use these terms like band-aids, then you’re propping up a flimsy delusion in order to protect your ego. That is the exact opposite of “fine”. ”
well now i think it is a matter of context. If you’re with your co-workers and say lets throw a “hail mary” or lets “pull the trigger” then it’s just another metaphor that we all use in our daily language. But then again if you’re trying to impress a girl at a bar or sound cool in front of your friends and say in a serious tone that you were in the “war room” today well then your just full of shit.
One of the many pro’s of having a doctor in the family is the notion that nothing you will ever do could ever be more immediately urgent than what that relative does nearly every day. He saves lives. What do fret and run around doing? Push papers around? File documents? Make steps toward making a business proposal happen? Produce a film? Write a TV show? Manage a restaurant? It all pales in front of someone who’s running to actually save a human being’s life.
“[…] but thinking about it will only make you miserable, especially if you don’t have the ability to live an impressive life.”
If you see your line of work in its true light, 95% of the time you’ll realize there’s nothing that particularly urgent or dramatic about it. I don’t think this train of thought undermines your work at all. I think its kind of empowering actually. I see too many people terrified of their jobs to actually do them well, or even worse, live happily. I can do a much better job a lot faster and with a lot less mental stress and hysteria when I remove all the clutter and exaggerated euphemisms surrounding it.
Realizing my job – important as it may or may not be – isn’t the making nor the ending of the entire world gives me tremendous freedom to learn, to try new things, to experiment. Or to simply not freak out every time I can’t control every tiny little variable that may or may not make everything spin out of control. It’s not apathy, its just clarity.
One of the reasons I have always deplored business speak- especially when it borrows from military terminology. What you do isn’t that important, and neither are you. Accept it.
And for the love of god…quit…say…”at the end of the day….”
At the end of the day I go home and dont worry about this bullshit.
What a dreary life: cannibalizing companies. If only I could be out there killing people and eating them.
The people, you refer to as we, who use these metaphors do so because they don’t understand business and have to recast it into fairy tales or sports. Most people are useless tits anyway, so it’s not surprising.
Not everyone though.
Why is the business world somehow ‘less important’ or ‘impressive’ than the military or sports worlds? When I was in the Navy, you’d be hard pressed to find one person on the ship who would call their life exciting or epic or whatever. Does that make the ship as a whole, and the combined efforts of the crew not important or impressive? The Navy is a lot like the business world; one man is a paper pusher, but several thousand paper pushers influence society on a global scale, which is far more than I can say for a baseball player. So which lifestyle is truly “better” or more “impressive”?
I’m not making any value judgments. I’m just saying there is reason that business people tend to turn so frequently to terminology outside their own field: there’s no other way to make what they’re talking about exciting.
I think this post is guilty of over analyzing common phrases. Are there self important assholes out there dropping these buzzwords or phrases out there to impress upon us that they are indeed important? Sure. Someone used cannibalization the other day to explain to me why starbucks closed a few locations in my area. It made perfect sense. Does that mean a starbucks exec using that term displays a depper meaning or is it just a good way to illustrate meaning because the word is understood in society? If I say an older associate is my consigliere, does that mean my job sucks or could it be simply preferable language than saying Maury has advised me throughout the years.
“If I say an older associate is my consigliere, does that mean my job sucks or could it be simply preferable language than saying Maury has advised me throughout the years.”
Why would that term be preferable? It doesn’t relate the point any more clearly; if anything, it confuses the statement. If it’s not preferable for the sake of efficiency, it’s preferable for the sake of effect. At that point, the language is purely cosmetic. Whether you perceive that as a good or bad thing is a matter of opinion, but I don’t think a “shits ‘n giggles” argument is going to cut it.
33 Strategies of War.