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Funny Business Jargon


This is another one of those sales acronyms, meaning Features Advantages Benefits. You should really sell to people on the benefits of an item - that’s the core idea here. People are unlikely to be turned on by the fact a pencil is long thin and has a lead, but are going to be bowled over by the fact that they can write with it, which will allow them to communicate their thoughts to their diary for posterity. Now that really is FAB!


Ah yes, another standard acronym which means For Attention Of. But why write it? Most people and documents seem to reach their target audience quite sufficiently by just listing the name(s) on the front. When a letter comes to you at home addressed to Mr Bloggs, you open it. Saying FAO: Mr Bloggs wouldn’t make any difference. Therefore it’s a bit of a mystery what the point of FAO is.


A little less offensive than it sounds, it stands for that dreadful process known as Final Acceptance Testing. This is always surprisingly costly and time consuming (if it’s rigorous) and is when you find out whether your product actually works and meets all of its QC (Quality Criteria, that is, rather than a judge). If a product fails FAT, then it’s safe to say it won’t be one of your better days in the office!


When asked to attend a dull meeting, or go to a leaving do for so-and-so from accounts who you don’t really know, why dither with a ‘maybe’ or ‘perhaps’? That’s dull. We all know what you’re thinking - so just say it - ‘FBO’, or ‘Failing Better Offer’. It’s up to you what a better offer constitutes, but if you’re not picky try the variant ‘FAOO’ Failing Any Other Offer.


FEAR can rear its ugly head for a scarily large variety of reasons. Standing for Forget Everything And Run, it could be triggered by such diverse things as the fire alarm going off or the boss announcing he’s going to be walking around looking for volunteers for the latest redundancy package HR has come up with (note: HR are always exempt from such programmes).

However, it’s most common application comes from managers who cock up projects. Their solution is to instigate FEAR and leave their inferiors to carry the can. Many bad things happen in the name of delegation…


This is quite a special acronym, as it has two meanings. The first of these refers to the Chief Executive of the company on a whistlestop tour, or a Fly In Fly Out tour. You know - the one where you are forced to attend some conference where he/she addresses 10,000 people, tells you what a great job you’re doing but to work harder (because he wants to return to the annual executive Rich List) then promptly flies back to Chicago.

It also stands for First In First Out. This is the methodology employed by HR when they hear that there are redundancies in the air. Strangely it doesn’t apply to the HR department itself though.


This is one of those rare ones that you will never actually see at work, as it means Free Of Charge. A little like TNSTAAFL, there’s also no such thing as FOC. Everything in this life comes at a price. In the case of work the charge is your sanity and most of your life. Not much of a sacrifice, then!


Those that GAG us are the Great And Good of the organisation. They are great for threats too. Someone annoying you at work? Don’t agree with a project that is being undertaken? Then just threaten to escalate it to the GAG and get them sweating. However this theory does of course depend on the GAG actually caring and taking an interest. And more importantly not being away on a golfing holiday in order to network and build business contacts. But it’s effective when it works as the GAG love nothing more than public shows of their authority!


If you’re a hard grafter, there is nothing more annoying than the GEKIS employee who gets paid the same as you. Whilst your reward for ambition and being conscientious is a never ending pile of work, the GEKIS does very little and there is no comeback in terms of performance or reward.

Of course, this may be that the boss has a crush on the GEKIS and so they are immune to any of the usual job pressures. A GEKIS, just in case you’ve not worked it out as of yet, is of course someone who Goes Early - Kids In School. Clearly kids have some uses!


Standing for Garbage In, Garbage Out, this a slightly obscure one. Whilst you might think it refers to where the rubbish disposal takes place, or even where the crap job applicants enter and leave the building, it is actually a computing term. So that’s as clear as mud then.


Going Through The Motions. This applies to about 90% of workers on a Friday who are unofficially in wind down for the weekend mode. And who can blame them when we Brits work the longest working hours in the whole of Europe?

Also used by cruel HR reps in the written form when conducting interviews. If the candidate was rubbish than rather than write up their notes they simply scrawl GTTM on their application form - to show what they did during the interview.


Another one of those computing acronyms which has squeezed it’s way into this hallowed guide. It is also one of the most useful acronyms ever in existence - and one of the least known. It stands for Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol.
And a very good thing that is too - imagine having to type that in at the start of every single web page that you wanted to visit. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the power of the acronym!


If you’ve been walking down the corridors lately, you might have been confused by this phrase, as people often discuss ‘has your department been IIP’d yet?’. What they’re talking about is Investors In People, a badge that allows employers, once approved, to suggest that they somehow treat their staff better than those at other companies, or are perhaps an employer of choice to be in awe of as a humble applicant.

Of course, in practice like all these things it means very little. When the company gets a Project Manager in to obtain IIP status for the company, the reward once it’s achieved is invariably the sack.


In My Humble Opinion, a handy abbreviation to know and add to your emails. Spot those who aren’t computer literate as they come back to you with questions as to what the hell you were on about. Freak them out by suggesting it stands for something completely different (that one is left to your discretion, or failing that your imagination!) This one is often changed to IMO by business people, who as a rule aren’t very good or very interested in being humble.


If you’re not yet an executive, and you’re not in love with your job then you can definitely relate to this one. Given the above sentence has probably only discounted about 1% of employees across the country, it’s a safe bet that you’re still reading this entry. JAWS stands for Just Another Wage Slave. If you don’t think this refers to you, then happy days indeed.

If you’re not sure, here’s a simple test. When you wake up on Monday morning, ready to face the daily commute and feeling knackered do you think:
A) Oh joy! The dull weekend is over so I can go back to work and face loads of fun challenges. I’d do this job even if I didn’t need the money or
B) Damn, where the hell did the weekend go? I’ve got loads of work to do and meetings to attend. 5 days til the weekend, 5 days til the weekend…

If your answer is somewhere near B, then you’re a JAWS. If it was A, please let me know where you work!


These days it’s not much good just being a detail person. Nope, you’ve got to think high level. That is to say, you’ve got to practice Joined Up Thinking. No more stove-piped solutions - that’s so passe - the way ahead is to develop a one size fits all solution. This piece of jargon has been sweeping the boardrooms of Britain over the last couple of years.


Unless you’re really unlucky (or an attractive female member of staff) when the boss suggests that you KISS he’s not trying to get too intimate with you. All he’s saying is to ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’. This is a marketing phrase that everybody loves and nobody pays any attention to - have you seen how obscure and tenuous adverts are these days? The use of this phrase is a phase most bosses go through, but it usually stops a few days after the course they attended finishes.


Probably one of the best known of all business acronyms, only a very skillful (or lazy) worker can completely aviod mention of Key Performance Indicators. Although business is renowned for loads of jargon, this one is actually pretty straightforward. You can even almost understand what it means from the explanation (which is a bit of a first). These are what the company thinks it can use as reliable signs of good performance. When all staff are taking 50 sickies a year, that KPI isn’t looking too good.


Have you ever worked in a call centre or been on a training course around resolving customer complaints or queries? No, well judging by the quality of call centre service these days not many people have, because they would do well to learn the principles of LAST.

LAST stands for Listen Advise Solve and Thanks. The problem is, to be really effective, you need to do all four. But how often do all four of these happen? Usually three things happen when you call up with a complaint of query - the LA and T parts. Unfortunately the kind of crucial bit - the Solve - never seems to happen.


This is often scrawled at the end of a candidate’s interview form. And it really should be, in order to guarantee the employer’s peace of mind. It stands for Look Into All Results, and these days is essential. Research shows that a staggering percentage of people just blatantly lie about results on their CV hoping that it is not checked. People who go to university in East Anglia magically all go to Cambridge, A level grades get invented and work achievements inflated. Therefore if an employer doesn’t do a LIAR check on any future employee, they might severely regret it down the line.


Lacking In Much Personality. This is used to describe the sort of Tim nice but Dim character, or alternatively any sort of jobsworth individual. Organisations are full of many LIMP individuals - if you didn’t already know it, this acronym is the proof.


This slightly obscure acronym is applied to the charity employee at every office - the one who is so useless than even management in all their ruthlessness don’t have the heart to get rid of, as day in day out they struggle to come to terms with the most basic of tasks that they are asked to complete.

It stands for Lights On But Nobodys At Home. It can also be applied to someone after a particularly heavy night on the booze the evening before.


Loads Of Money But No Idea. This describes that strangely successful individual who seems to be completely useless and clueless - as witnessed by the glazed look that comes over his/her face when asked the simplest of questions. So if you’re ever described as a LOMBNI then things aren’t too bad - hey, at least you’re rich.

Some gossiping colleagues may also use LOMBNI differently - so caution - where it can disguise office scandal standing for Loads of Men But No Idea. As if anyone would ever do such a thing to forward their career?!

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