Eschew Obfuscation

Every conversation with my new boss includes the phrase, it is what it is approximately once every 3 or 4 minutes. It’s like a tic or something. I have to bite my tongue so I don’t inadvertently say it with her or just slightly ahead of her. Because it’s gotten really easy to tell when an it is what it is is about to spill out.

Every conversation with my last boss included the phrase you can only do what you can do approximately once every 3 or 4 minutes.

The boss before him liberally peppered every conversation and every speech with at the end of the day. I used to write his speeches and never once did I put that phrase in there.

Is it a prerequisite to have a catch phrase if you’re in senior management? And if so, do they have to come up with the catch phrase themselves or are they assigned a catch phrase when they accept the position? Are they obligated to use it a certain number of times every day? Does anyone know?

Because, it is what it is doesn’t even mean anything. It totally sucks as a catch phrase. Mae West’s why don’t you come up and see me some time was a good catch phrase. Resistance is futile is a good catch phrase. Even d’oh is not a bad catch phrase…for a cartoon character.

At the end of the day is a very bad catch phrase. It  always makes me think of going to sleep because that’s what I do at the end of the day. It doesn’t make me want to perk up to listen to the rest of whatever the guy has to say.

And ya, I really can only “do what I can do”. I certainly wouldn’t dream of trying to do more than I can do. Thanks for the validation.

I’m just saying is another pointless phrase. It says to me, “Don’t pay any attention to what’s coming out of my mouth. It means nothing. I’m just talking for the sake of talking.”

I’m not going to lie to you or I’m going to be perfectly honest/frank always convinces me that the person is about to tell an untruth. Because what is perfect honesty anyway? And why do they need to tell me that they’re not going to lie? I usually assume when people are talking to me that they’re not going to lie. Should I assume that this particular person lies all the time, except when he/she expressly tells me they’re about to be perfectly honest?

Other phrases that, in my opinion, really, really never need to be spoken out loud are:

  • It goes without saying
  • When all is said and done
  • Don’t get bent out of shape
  • When push comes to shove
  • Make no mistake
  • At this point in time
  • Be that as it may
  • With all due respect
  • I know where you’re coming from
  • Keeping you in the loop

When people throw these phrases around it makes me think they have nothing original, interesting or useful to say. Because if they did, why wouldn’t they want to get right to the original, interesting and useful information instead of padding their conversation with all this vapid fluff?