So Clichéd, I Say!

When I was in Class 11, we had a story in English. It was an Anton Chekhov love story, and needless to say, my English teacher was swept away with emotions when she was reading it to us. In a moment of utter epiphany, she remarked, "The lead character is not in love. She is in love with the idea of being in love." I know, the statement isn't exactly the best concoction of words you have ever heard, but for me, at that age, this was a huge deal!
For the next three months or so, every alternate answer in my English Exam answer sheet had someone in love with the idea of something. So, for an essay on the "Boons and Banes of Technology", I wrote how we were all in love with the idea of automation, but were not exactly ready to take up automation. This still made sense. There were far worse ones. For instance, on a question about whether I agreed or disagreed with the author, I wrote "I am all for the idea of agreeing with the author, but I do not actually agree with him." That clearly showed my ineptitude to make a decision about the author's view and that was when my English teacher told me sweetly, that a phrase used too often, becomes a cliché, and more often than not, it is unwelcome. 
Phuussss. My bubble had burst.
Since then I have had this knack of looking out for clichés, and words that suddenly become clichés. While it is a lot of fun doing that, I have to say, clichéd terms at the workplace tend to irritate the skin out of me. And, let's face it, there are too many of them to ignore. Every few weeks, our office has a new buzzword, and we use that term incessantly, in every presentation, in every meeting, in every client call, in every workshop, in our sleep, in our nightmares, till some genius discovers a new jargon to adopt! I, by a self imposed rule, do not take up any of these clichés. Silent Observer me is!

When I had first joined office, all we could talk about was GTM or Go-To-Market strategies. Irrespective of whether the product was to go to the market or not, we were asked to make this "Strategy", which by the way is another cliché, beware! The clients, I am sure, wondered what the big deal was with going to the market, but we just harped on about it!
Then the big Boss went to a conference where he heard the term "Story behind the product". For the next few weeks, we were making up stories, for our products. Some were sensible, some were sad, most were comical, but when one horror story came up, we knew it was time for a new buzzword!
That's when my favorite one, and the reigning leader came up. "Due Diligence"! Suddenly, we have been ascertaining "due diligence" for everything from Contracts, to deals, to leave applications, to Ms. Valentine nomination, to office party locations! Quite literally E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

Other trite vocabulary which are on my Chartbusters list of worst cliches, losing the top spot narrowly, would be Strategy, innovation, excellence and value addition! Like Hugh MacLeod would say, most of us wouldn't know strategy if it jumped on our tables and danced in front of us, but we are okay using these big words! 


I guess it is not that big a problem; it’s just that my painful history doesn't let me be fine with clichés. I am learning though. I am not in love with clichés, though I am already in love with the idea of clichés. ;)

Signing out,
"Yours sincerely"
Me!

Picture Courtesy: Gaping Void

Comments

  1. Ah Gal! Thank you for helping me find your blog. This post was ROFL!!! Will browse more later. :)

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  2. @Choco: Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  3. Sadly, in our software development office, we do not get to do such fun stuff :P, but your description was funny :)

    With me usually it is some word/phrase I take a fancy to. Then it be used in most of my conversations until I find a new word ;)

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  4. I am not in love with your blog..I am in love with idea of your blog?? err..that makes no sense at all..none.. :D

    Office buzz words have a life of their own..they are born..the rise high..and then die a quite death.. Such are they.. :)

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  5. @arbitthoughts: Well, yeah, you can call it fun stuff! It is fun to hear all these fancy terms thrown around here and there! :)

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  6. @comfortablynam: Exactly my point. I still don't know why I was so floored by that sentence when my English Teacher said it! Naive little girl I was! ;)
    True. Office buzzwords can have dictionary o their own!

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  7. Now is it a cliche to say, "I love Preeti's blog?" I think not. But if it is, then I love cliches. :))

    Lovely post. :)

    By the way, are you on FB?

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  8. @Karthik: :) :) Thanks! :) :)
    Not on Facebook. Suffer from Social Networking Allergy! ;) I am there on Twitter though!

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  9. Ha! Ha!

    I know what you mean. One got to be good nay great with clichés no matter what...

    Stuffs like: Core competency, value add, take aways... rule the roost and peoples lives and careers...

    P.S. Here is a story I read as a schoolgirl... it was part of our curriculum in english literature for our ICSE exams. I am referring to: "Remember the Roses".

    I recommend this story to everyone. If you haven't read it yet do so now.

    Here is the link: http://notapennyformythoughts.blogspot.com/2009/06/remember-roses-i.html

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  10. @Roshmi: Ha. Thanks for adding on to my list of cliches!:)
    I wasn't in ICSE, hum CBSE waale hain! But I will definitely read this story you mentioned, because I love the title! :)

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  11. Ooooh..I like the idea of having ideas now....A friend of mine keeps talking about the food processing in USA ,,which is like...what we eat is not tomatoes, but only the idea of tomoatoes...So like you were frequently using the phrase...he has been too...I exactly know how ur teacher must have felt.LOL

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  12. @dilontherocks: Hehe! :D Yeah, now I know too!
    BTW, this lady too had a knack for using too many clichés. Ironically, she pointed it out as my fault! ;)

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  13. Interesting blog! I'm a follower!

    Mine is www.nycislandgal.com
    Hope you like it and share the love by following me too! =)

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  14. @iGal: Thanks for the follow! :) Will definitely visit your blog!

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  15. Nice and interesting read but then this is expected of an English connoisseur:)(we want more such articles). The bubble bursting line brought a smile on the face. Thank you. Such a naive and innocent line! That reminded me of fun and adventure of school life. And cliches! Remember 'it's a golden opportunity for me...' or 'it's a red-letter day...' ? I think those were the worst cliches. We have many cliches in our college jargon too. Initially I used to frown upon them but now I find myself speaking them a lot without inhibitions. I think I love the idea of being in love with them :)Wow, now I can baffle myself:)

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  16. @Ajay: Thanks! :)
    Yeah, totally agree about school and college clichés! "Jugaad" "Thass" and "Ghissu" were some typical ones in my college! Miss those now..

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  17. Hahaha! I agree :D
    Especially since my job is all about cliches! I can't think of one presentation which will be passed if it did not have the 'key messages' delivered using the right cliches! :D Simply cannot ignore them!

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  18. Hey forgot to ask. Did you watch Greys' season finale? OMG I think I cried right through the whole of it! :o

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  19. @DI: :)
    Yeah man! The finale was Fabulous! Fantastic! My sister and I haven't stopped discussing it ever since it got aired and uploaded! Super stuff! Loved every bit!

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  20. Value addition n learning groove... I'm neither in love with the idea nor in agreement with the growth..
    u ROCK... rofl... :)

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  21. @PnA: *Blush* Thank you! :)

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  22. Can relate to this post.

    The latest buzzword in my office is "holy grail"...this document is our holy grail...that report should be your holy grail..blahhhhhhhh

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  23. @rechristened: That sounds like a nice one! I'll probably toss it casually in office tomorrow. Next thing you know, we'll be calling everything "Holy Grail" too! Same pinch! :D

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  24. Great! Do share your views... once you have read the story. Hopefully you were able to take some time out from busy workdays filled with clichés to read it :)

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  25. @Roshmi: Yes Ma'am, I did read it! Its a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing the link.. :)

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  26. lol! oh i remember the story...and the same response i'd gotten. it's not the object of love, it's love u love! haha

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  27. @Shivani: Hehe! We had different teachers and yet the same explanation? I am guessing that was what Anton Chekhov had meant to say! ;)

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