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In this month's members-only bonus video, Chelsea dives into some of the absolute worst professional behavior we've seen at TFD — click here to make sure you're enrolled in the $4.99 tier of the Society at TFD and check it out! https://youtu.be/IT9wBkAdk2A

Chelsea breaks down the secret code of professional jargon, especially the stuff that sounds really important but usually just boils down to passive aggression.

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Hey, guys. It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet. And before we get in today's video, I wanted to share some what I consider to be extremely exciting news.

I've been asked by a fair amount of you guys who saw my YouTube class last time but missed actually signing up and taking it, who wanted to know if I was going to be doing it again. And, by popular demand, I absolutely am. I'm very excited genuinely to share that I am once again going to be teaching one-of-a-kind How to Build a Business on YouTube class starting this November 1.

It's a four-week live course, but recordings of all classes and office hours are available whether you can tune in live or not. If you're watching right now, grab your discounted ticket at the link in the video description for a full $75 off the course. It's normally $199 for all four weeks plus all materials and office hours, but your discounted price is just $124.

We're doing four weeks, the first one all about understanding the business of your channel, getting into brand partnerships, how they work, how to use them, how to find them, going beyond the algorithm to build quality, sustainable, high-engagement content on YouTube, and then building a holistic business model off of your channel. This is a great class if you own your own channel which you're looking at building out or run one for another company, you want to understand more about the ways to actually turn a YouTube channel into a business, how to refine your branding, build out your content, optimize your content for performance and overcome the obstacles of the algorithm, plus find a community of like-minded YouTubers who are interested in the long-term game. Our class was so fun and, I personally think, quite helpful, and I've made some tweaks to make it even more big, and beautiful, and wonderful, and helpful, and great, and everything I wish someone had told me about building a business on YouTube, both from a content and a financial side, but no one told me.

I'm telling you. So join us at the link in our description, starting November 1. And on this week's video, we are doing something a little bit more kind of fun and lighthearted than we usually do on the channel, because while it is very good to talk about serious financial topics or deep dive cultural commentary, sometimes it's also fun to [BLEEP]-post.-post.

And also, for most of us, navigating the professional world, including getting a good job, negotiating a good salary, and advocating for yourself throughout your time at a company, are going to be the main way you make money, which is ultimately basically all we talk about at TFD-- earning and then managing your money. But one thing that we often don't prepare for when it comes to entering the professional world, if you're looking to go into a more white collar or office-based work environment, is the secret language of the professional world. And speaking of the professional world, we are going to be doing a deep dive story time into all of the messiest and worst behaviors that I've seen in all of my 8 years building TFC.

It's just going to be fun. We're going to be talking some [BLEEP].. And that's a members-only video, which you guys can access by clicking that JOIN button below or the link in the description to join our members-only tier at the $4.99 a month level.

We have all of our monthly bonus videos. We also have monthly downloadables, and exclusive discounts, and monthly office hours with myself. And it's just a really cool way to support TFD and all that we do.

So click that button and watch the members-only video right after this one for a fun continuation. When it comes to professional jargon, it's one of those strange things that we all sort of agree, on some level, sucks but we have to kind of participate in because we accept it as part of the game. And in my experience, professional jargon, especially cliched or overused jargon or really vague terms, generally serve two primary purposes.

One, pretending to be smarter or more competent than you are. This is especially popular with boomers who can barely use the Microsoft Office suite. Or being passive-aggressive in a context where outright aggression or frustration would be considered inappropriate, but you are pissdt.

As The Atlantic put it, "From a more cynical perspective, buzzwords are useful when office workers need to dress up their otherwise pointless tasks with fancier phrases-- you know, for the optics. Coal miners and doctors and tennis instructors have specific jargons that they use to get their points across, but 'all-purpose business language is the language you use when you aren't really doing anything,' says the anthropologist David Graeber, the author of Bullshit Jobs. Similarly, buzzwords can provide a PR-friendly gloss on whatever 'pain points' you're trying to cover up, as in the case of doctors who say they are 'happy to provide you with the paperwork to submit to your insurance company.' In English, this means they don't take insurance." Now, as that article mentioned, there are sometimes useful types of jargon in any given workplace where insiders on a particular issue or skill or project need to be able to communicate efficiently and with their own sort of language around the task at hand.

But that more general all-purpose professional lingo can be more than just annoying or potentially misleading. It can also reinforce a lot of real power differentials in the workplace, and therefore heighten inequality. "Research in recent years shows that corporate gibberish is bad for equality. According to a study by Business in the Community, a UK employment charity, young people are regularly put off from applying to entry level roles by the 'business-speak' used in job specifications.

In fact, 66% of young people didn't understand the role that they would be applying for. The study also found that jargon has a negative impact on confidence, making the 16 to 24-year-olds surveyed feel like they don't deserve a job or aren't good enough. Respondents also reported feeling intimidated and unsure of what they'd be signing up for if they were to be successful in their application.

Most worryingly, the more disadvantaged the young person in the study was, the more easily discouraged by jargon they were." Now, this makes total sense, right? Because there is a huge class-based element in the sort of secret codes and languages we have in not just the professional world but in elite spaces in general. If you come from a background where, let's say, your parents didn't necessarily work in professional environments, or maybe didn't go to college, or maybe you didn't go to college, or have the ability to do things like unpaid internships, or go to particularly good schools K through 12, chances are you're not going to have navigated spaces that use this kind of lingo.

You're not going to speak the language. And, of course, there are also heavily racialized aspects to this, as well as ways in which it disadvantages people who speak English as a second language. Our use of jargon to conflate communication with competence, or to make a person seem inherently more professional, is just a way to punish people who may actually be, in fact, much more good at the actual job but just not as good at speaking, like they have a Wharton MBA.

And, also, Trump is a Wharton MBA, and I don't know if you've ever read a transcript of one of his sentences, but that man can barely speak English. JK-- he has a bachelor's from Wharton, but I don't know, to me invalidates the whole school. And, ironically, although for many people having a grasp of the lingo of the professional world can be at its weakest at the beginning, it's often at that time, like when you're doing opening negotiations for salaries, that you need it most.

You need the business people to feel like you're businessy and competent. And I should note that, although this type of communication is often complete BS and actually obfuscates the people who may not be good at their job and rewards people who just happen to already come from privileged environments, communication as a whole, especially effective communication, does remain basically the most important skill in a lot of professional workplaces. "According to a 2014 GMAC study of 600 employers, hiring managers placed the highest value on people with good oral and written communication skills who are also good listeners. Communication topped the list of five major skill sets employers consider the most important, followed by teamwork, technical skills, leadership, and management ability.

Conversely, a lack of communication in the workplace can profoundly hinder an organization. Poor communication can lead to an apathetic workforce and poor customer service, resulting in decreased sales. According to a Fierce, Inc. study of 1,400 executives, employers, and educators, 86% of respondents blame a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures." But that professional jargon tricks us into thinking just knowing the right words is the same as being a good communicator.

In fact, it's often the opposite when we look at how people really assess what makes good communication in practice. Jargon is about overcomplicating things unnecessarily in many cases, whereas what people most respond to when they're actually tested about it is simplicity. "Our minds process concrete statements more quickly, and we automatically associate quick and easy with true." So, in many ways, the professional trick is all about learning the language, using it to your advantage when absolutely necessary, and then not using it to do everything you can to not perpetuate the dynamic of meaningless jargon in the workplace. The more you move up the ladder, the more you can reward clear, concise, and honest communication, and discourage things like useless words that basically mean nothing.

Or passive aggression in email threads, though that can be hilarious, and we will get to that later. But for many people, especially young people, knowing the language in the first place can be the key to getting in the door. So without further ado, here are some of the professional translations that I wish someone had given me when I was first entering the workforce.

First up is synergy. This is probably the GOAT bullshit work term. It is the most overused.

It is historical. It is part of the ancient ruins of men trying to sound smarter at work. And, basically, it means things like working well together and/or being greater than the sum of its parts.

But it is honestly so cliche now as to be one of the things that you should actually probably completely avoid since it honestly kind of sounds borderline sarcastic at this point when people use it. I cannot think of a time that I have recently heard the term synergy and it was used sincerely. I'm being told there are apparently many Jack Donaghy 30 Rock jokes about synergy, which is a show I've still never seen, but I've watched a lot of clips on YouTube.

It seems funny. Not many. [LAUGHS] [SNORTS] [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGHS] I'm all about disrespecting Alec Baldwin at all times. Next up is touch base.

Touch base is another oldie but still pretty widely used, and this is one that you are likely going to hear all the time in work context. And, basically, it just means that we need to talk in a way that is fairly low stakes, and the use of this phrase is usually followed by a bunch of back and forth emails about when people are available. And, moreover, basically, all touch base conversations are part of the "this probably could have been an email" hall of fame.

Shout out to the king of busywork, touching base. Next up is friendly reminder. So just like on Twitter or, in a previous lifetime, Tumblr-- RIP-- any time someone s a phrase with friendly reminder-- and, listen, I have been guilty of this-- they are about to say some insufferable, grating, condescending [BLEEP] that you probably already know.

We actually do at TFD try to find alternatives to this phrasing, because it's so grating and, honestly often just sounds like the person is ready to kill everyone when they're saying this. And usually it's used in context where, like, a group of people were supposed to have done something and they didn't do it, and the person is having to remind them for the fifth time, and they're like, friendly reminder, send in your timesheets. This is a real thing that happens all the time at our company.

And, honestly, she shouldn't have to be friendly. She should be, listen up, [BLEEP],, I once again have to come crawling to you like a dog for your timesheets. Half of my time at this company is spent asking for timesheets.

We're sorry, Caitlin. Another one that you may hear, especially if you're working with older men in the workplace, is boil the ocean, a phrase I truly detest, because, like many phrases that men have come up with in the workplace, either based on sports I don't watch, or unnecessarily kind of gruesome, or what have you. But this one more or less means doing way too much on something, i.e. making a project or a task bigger and bigger until you can't even get anything done or know which way is up.

There are many better ways to say this. And, again, this is one of the things that I only hear on the rare occasion that we're coming into contact with business pros, which are obviously quite rare in the TFD extended universe. So, blessedly, we rarely come into contact with this phrase.

On a similar note, though, is too many cooks. And I low-key used this today in a meeting, and I hated myself every second of me saying that phrase. It is a shortening of too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth, and it just means that too many people working on any given task is likely going to make it a bit of a mess, and that, usually, what you need is clear delegation and leadership.

And this is honestly a generally true thing, but there are less annoying ways to say it. If you can avoid cliche, avoid them. You can, however, send the entire company an email with that Tim and Eric "Too Many Cooks" video and get your point across that way.

That's my official recommendation. Next up is as per my previous email. [BLEEP] This person is so mad if they're saying this. This is truly like when I see this in an email, my whole body tenses up, because I'm like, oh-oh-[BLEEP],, what did I miss?

This is probably the all-time great passive-aggressive statement in work environments. And when you are like send-- when you're sending it out in a righteous way, you really feel like you hit that person with like-- what is it in UNO-- like double for reverse. Whatever it is in UNO.

Double [? stamp ?] or something. Yeah. You're hitting them with that card, and it's such a power move.

But when someone hits you with it, ooh, it's humiliating. Nothing worse. But, yeah, as for my previous emails, like, reading mother-mother-[BLEEP],, can you do it?

Like it's very passive-aggressive. And chances are you didn't read their email. On a similar note is just following up.

If you get hit with the just following up exclamation point, you done goofed. You were supposed to send them something and you did it. And people in professional environments are not allowed to be like, does my time mean nothing to you?

Like send me what I asked for. So they have to say, just following up. Just following up.

Increasingly crazily just following up. Another one I really hate is, in like a similar vein to boil the ocean, is trim the fat. It's just gross sounding.

I don't want to think about being in a butcher shop when I'm emailing. But, also, it's a very old expression, and it's used in a lot of contexts beyond just business. And it essentially means to get rid of things that are not serving a particular project or goal.

Unfortunately, this is also often the kind of thing that you'll hear before things like layoffs. It is beloved language of things like private equity firms and consulting firms. And just like referring to human beings as fat that needs to be trimmed is just-- we can do better, society.

Another one that men-- shudder-- like to say a lot is punting. And, again, for some reason, we're often having to use sports metaphors at work. Boo, tomato, tomato, tomato.

But this is just-- essentially, it just means passing something off to someone, or being like this is not my problem, babe. Have fun. Just think of this as professional yeeting.

Like you can't be like, I'm yeeting this over to Sarah in HR, but you can punt it over to her. On a slightly different tone, though, is core competency. And this more or less translates to thing a person is really good at.

Because, often, in the workplace we're reducing people and things down to one or two narrow lanes. A lot of, like, older men in business have trouble with object permanence and holding multiple thoughts in their head at once. So it's all about just like narrowing people down as much as possible.

And this is one of those professional jargons that has an almost kind of academic sounding bent to it, making it sound a lot more fancy than it is. And, similarly, we have KPI. And KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators.

And people love saying this, and, unfortunately, I'm people. But it just means the metrics that we're using to judge success, which are usually quantifiable in nature. So it's like-- like your goals, basically.

Like what are you getting, like, little stars on your chart for, essentially? Another annoying one that I do, unfortunately, use is low-hanging fruit, which, again, is one of those phrases that exists outside the workplace, and isn't terrible, honestly. But it just means starting with the things that are easier or where the work is already basically done for you.

And at least it's not sports related, so I kind of like it. If I'm in the workplace, I want to imagine being in an orchard, just picking a peach off a tree. Peaches grow on trees, right?

Yeah, peach trees. Look at this. Learn something new every day at this job.

Anyway, I like it better, so yeah, it's not sports related. Another one that a man no doubt invented is drill down. This just means like get more information or do more work on a specific topic or question or problem.

My question is why are we drilling? Why can't we be twirling? These are all so masc.

I hate it as I'm reading them. But, like, I'm just picturing. Do you guys remember those toys in the early 2000s that were like the ballerina on the wind-up? [INAUDIBLE] They were called, like, sky dancers.

You just like go wooh, and they would just, like, twirl across the room. That's what I'm doing on a problem. Back in the genre of extreme passive aggression are our last two, honestly, also GOATs.

One is just circling back, which is work for [BLEEP],, if you don't answer me right this minute, it's going to be a fight in the parking lot. And I think probably the worst one, which is, do you need me to re-forward the email, or some variation thereof. And that just literally-- they are leaving you dead in a pool of your own blood in front of everyone that's cc'd on that email, because there's really nothing more degrading you can ask someone than do you need me to go find it in your own inbox and send it back to you because you're so incompetent?

So maybe your entire professional life goal should just be to never have that happen to you on an email thread. But, you know, it will happen probably regardless once or twice. We're human, and to err is human.

Anyway, those are just a few, a tip of the iceberg, of some of the terrible workplace jargon you're likely to encounter when you work in an office, again especially with boomers who need to disguise the fact that they can barely work their own email. Please don't yell at me, boomers. You know I love you.

You just need to share some of that generational wealth and stop voting. Anyway, guys, as always, thank you for watching, and don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to come back every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for new and awesome videos. Bye.