Reach Out (I won’t be there)

After a brief sojourn to talk about the joys of dog adolescence and men in tights, the Emu is back to what I think it does best.

That is, to get completely wound up about the minutia of life in a middle-class way that stops just short of calling in to the Today programme. Or writing to The Times. I’m not actually sure what I’m personally just short of, as I’d never entertain the idea of  doing either of those things, but I’m certainly just short of something. Or I might be at the end of a tether, but then getting to the end of your tether is presumably the bit just before you let go and fall off, and that’s not it. This is more like the bit just before you fold your arms, tip your head back and Tsk loudly, before you announce that the world has just gone to hell in a handbasket.

Which, in itself, is the bit that’s scarily close to buying the Daily Mail or reading UKIP pamphlets seriously, and, as we all know, that way madness lies.

Where was I?

Well, I was going to have a bit of a pop about some of the language that is beginning to, as they say, grind my gears. Every now and again, there seems to be a bit of a resurgence of the sort of language, particularly in business, that really doesn’t mean anything, but which everybody seems to embrace. Actually, the word embrace is a good example. When I started work, (which, according to my children was some time around 1863), the idea of ’embracing’ an idea would just sound…stupid. Embracing is something that a gentleman might do with his wife in an upstairs room with the lights off, thankyou very much, or possibly something you did with a tree a few years later if your name was Swampy. But not, no, and never ever conceptually in the workplace. Ridiculous. And yet sometimes I feel that I can’t move at work for people embracing ideas or concepts or challenges.

So, here are three pops I’d like to have about modern business language:

1. Reflecting

For example: ‘I’ve been reflecting on our last conversation’.

Have you? Or is this just a pretentious way of replacing the word ‘thinking’. Unfortunately reflection summons up self-reflection summons up self-help summons up hippie free thinking. Man.

It’s just twaddle. And it should stop.

2. The Journey

For example: ‘I’d like to tell you about my personal journey here today’ or ‘This project will be a fascinating journey for all involved’

Actually no. Your personal journey here today was, very possibly, a bus and a walk. And this project, even if it is completely fascinating, will remain…a project. Again, the problem is that it’s the wrong word because it’s too blimmin’ pretentious for its own good.

3. Reaching Out

For example: ‘I’ll reach out to Fred and see if he can help’, and ‘Fred, I’m keen to reach out to you for some input’.

Fred, and anyone else in their right mind, should put the phone down as soon as they heard the word reach. Or possibly evidence the other meaning of the word.

Reaching out should only ever be used in a business context when, six sheets to the wind on a works night out, you stumble into a Karaoke bar and pretend to be Levi Stubbs:


Note, this should never be attempted sober and, ideally, never mentioned by your colleagues subsequently. Unless you’re gainfully employed in an job that encourages matching white suits, close harmonies and natty dancing during meetings. (I simply can’t tell you how happy I would be to work in an office like that.)

Look, if we all work together we can rid ourselves of this nonsense. Next time someone uses one of these words, cough discreetly and ask if they wouldn’t mind, well, winding their neck in. And if we stop the rot now, none of us need ever look wistfully at the Daily Mail again.


One thought on “Reach Out (I won’t be there)

  1. Kevin the one that get’s me and has done so for about 5 years now is – “across the piece”
    e.g. Yes, if we look across the piece we can see how etc.etc.!
    I’d willingly offer a replacement but I must admit to not knowing what it’s all about?

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