The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit
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Introduction

Welcome home. The fact that you bought this book -- for yourself, for someone you love or care about, or for that matter, for someone you really, really hate with the proverbial intensity of 1,000 hot burning suns -- is a sign that you have crossed over to the land of those fed up with Corporate Bullshit. Feels so good!

The most important thing for you to know is that you are not alone. The crying jags in the bathroom; the overwhelming sense of injustice, underappreciation, frustration and duplicity; the impulse to inflict bodily harm on an extremely annoying or undermining coworker or boss, are all deeply familiar, and in fact, commonplace here. We all feel it. Around the country. Every day. And we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore.

Much has been written about the pervasive use of corporate "buzzwords" in business and office culture. At this point, that’s kind of an old story. This language was playfully lampooned through the popular "Buzzword Bingo"” game of the late 90s, and most people found this talk ridiculous, bloated, or mildly annoying at worst. But people were making money then, so it was all in good fun. As you probably know: times have changed.

Not only is corporate bullshit less amusing when paired with a "challenging" economic climate, but more people than ever before are using more bullshit.

A fast fact: It was recently estimated that as many as four out of every five employees use buzzwords to keep up with their colleagues, without "having a clue" as to what these words mean.

All the language is still there, injected into meaningless, marathon meetings, PowerPoint presentations, corporate memos, and "feedback" from your boss and "colleagues", but the fact is that corporate bullshit has taken over, tainting almost every interaction between the citizens of the business world. People have stopped communicating. They have, as you know, stopped talking to each other like normal people.

A new era of corporate bullshit is upon us, and it is far more sinister than the words some Bschool grad, crusty veteran or dot-com kid can dole out. It goes beyond empty phrases like "at the end of the day," "a sense of urgency" and "on the same page", and corrupts words like "lunch", "celebrate", "passion" and "commitment," which take on whole new meanings in this environment.

However, the most dangerous element of corporate bullshit is outside the realm of language altogether. This sickness has placed a stranglehold on our culture of work, affecting how we relate to and treat each other. It enables incompetence, iniquity and frankly, inhumanity. At this point, language is merely the vehicle through which the bullshit is communicated.

About ten years ago, I entered the workforce like so many other recent college grads: I was "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed", I was optimistic and ambitious, I wanted to work hard and well, and find my place in the professional world. (I was also a lot thinner.)

Needless to say, I got slammed — big time. I exerted a lot of pointless effort trying to make sense of the completely nonsensical, and find logic in a world where up is down and down is up. As they say: If I only knew then what I know now.

It’s too late for me, but it's probably not for so many of you. Forget The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Spend more time kissing ass, laughing disingenuously, blowing out your hair and playing golf. And, of course, studying this book -- because this is how it really works.

For those of you who find yourself with me in the great conference room, the collective "Town Hall" of the angry, fed-up and apathetic, I hope you’ll find comfort in seeing all of this bullshit out there in the open for all to see, and know, once and for all, that you’re not crazy.

They are.

Keep the faith,

Lois Beckwith

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Excerpted from The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit by Lois Beckwith
Copyright © 2006 by Lois Beckwith. Excerpted by permission of Broadway, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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