Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Office Jargon Demystified

Like every other tribe under the sun, officedom too comes with a cant unique unto itself. Office lingo is filled with words that sound like a clap of heavenly thunder and almost makes you worship the guy who used it on your uninitiated ears. Seasoned office-goers would find it highly dissatisfying if they don’t get to use some of it a few dozen times everyday.

Unless you are the type who’d like to learn things the hard way, here’s a brief primer of some popular office jargon and their probable undertones: ;)

PFA: An email acronym that stands for ‘Please find attached’. The sender doesn’t want to explain things to you and expects you to learn from the attachment, which is usually a very large document that might take you a decade to wade through.

TIA: An email sign-off that expands to ‘Thanks in Advance’. You are being thanked for an act you are yet to commit, implying that you have no way out but to achieve the expected results. Usually comes with a deadline that is surprisingly within the next 30 min and is ALWAYS accompanied with the PFA as interpreted above.

“Let’s take it offline”: Mostly used in telephonic or video conferences indicating that the thread currently being discussed concerns only a select few attendees. But by the time this great truth is realized, all the rest in the call would have blinked away gallons of yawn-induced tears and dug their nails deep into the underside of the table in a desperate attempt to avoid the embarrassment of falling asleep.

Spare Bandwidth: This is a cunning way of asking if you have ‘additional time’ to complete some extra tasks that no one else wants to do. If you declare that you don’t, it has the uncanny ability of coming back to you with increased load and without an option to reject, this time around.

Urgent and Important: Seen in the subject lines of emails that are just that….for the sender, not you. S/he has now made it your mandate and if you are not careful, you will be doing all of it in your ‘spare bandwidth’.

Gentle Reminder: Again, sent as subject lines of emails to invoke actions to the Urgent and Important activities explained above. The ‘Gentle’ part is mostly restricted to the subject line and as days go by, the content gets ‘gentler and gentler’.

There are a gazillion others, what’s your favorite?


  1. Let's discuss - not to be confused with the 'Let's take this offline'. This one-liner is usually a response to your long winded sentences in an email explaining unhappiness over *something*. The term 'discuss' should not be read in its literal sense, it means 'I'll talk, you listen'

  2. @RZD-

    Yea, you are right. Most of the time when the boss says 'we', 'us' etc it is usually a warning sign of more work to come. For eg 'We will finish the assignment' translates to 'you will finish the assignment' finally :)

  3. Good writing brother...You seem to be making it a site, not a blog!

  4. @Kelkar-

    Thanks man. glad you liked it.

  5. hey, thanks for your great discussion!. it's great for my custom research papers


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