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Lingo to work by

January 25, 1999



The language of the American workplace has gone from bland corporate jargon to deliciously confusing phrases. Simplicity and conciseness are out the window and hazy verbosity is in.

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Here's the latest lingo that has sprouted in offices across America.

•Alpha geek. The most knowledgeable, technically proficient person in an office or work group. "Ask Larry, he's the alpha geek around here."

•Blamestorming. Sitting around in a group discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.

•Chainsaw consultant. An outside expert brought in to reduce the employee head count, leaving the top brass with clean hands.

•Concepting. Devising concepts. Formerly called "thinking."

•Mouse potato. The wired generation's answer to the couch potato.

•Presenteeism. When an employee is at work but not doing anything productive.

•Sea gull manager. A boss who flies in, makes a lot of noise, makes a mess of everything, and then leaves.

•Tourists. People who take training classes just to get a vacation from their jobs. "We had three serious students in the class; the rest were just tourists."