Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Went into the corporate office today for a couple of meetings.

The better of the two meetings featured our Vice President of Product Development. She's pretty sharp, but doesn't always realize that in a company like ours, where layoffs are more common than profits, employees will try verrrrry hard to read between the lines of executive-speak.

For example, we have company-wide meetings every month where the executives come out and do their standard rah-rah stuff to convince us that the future is bright. Then, without fail, we lose our quarterly battle against Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. So, in order to reconcile our results with the rainbowy picture painted by the executive team, we peons must figure out the secret executive code. Usually we're left discerning how many O's we heard in "good" or whether this month's "very ecstatic" is measurably better than last month's "incredibly exciting". Linguistics ain't easy.

(Note, I do not blame the executive team for blowing sunshine up our asses. That's their job. I think if they came out each month and glumly said, "More of same, you worthless chumps" it would probably be slightly more demotivating than the current situation.)

So today the VP kicks off the meeting by explaining that she didn't have a prepared speech, but wanted to spend the time "responding to rumors".

"Responding to rumors"? What does that mean? Let's run it through the Executive Speak Filter:

Beep. Blinky light. Boop. Ticker tape....

"There are rumors. Be afraid!"

Aaaaaah! Rumors! Rumors are never good. Of course very few of us had actually heard any rumors (well, at least any that we could repeat in a Family Blog such as this) but one quick-witted employee wisely turned the issue around and asked, "Uh, we haven't heard any rumors. Can you just respond to the rumors that we should have heard?"

That's brilliant. I wish I had thought of that. The VP lobbed herself a few softballs and went onto the next question where someone asked about whether we were shopping our company around to prospective suitors. The VP responded with something like this, "Certainly not! We have no intention of selling this company. We're very excited about the market. That being said, we are a public company which, technically speaking, means that we are for sale at all times. And there are always people talking and deal-making, but mostly just to jockey for position in the industry. Honestly, it's hard to imagine what kind of deal would make sense."

Hmmmm. Let's see what the Executive Speak Filter says about this one:

Beep. Blinky light. Boop. Ticker tape....

"Deals make sense"

Another employee jumped on this immediately and asked, "Well, what kind of deal could you imagine that would make sense?" We're a tough crowd to fool. To her credit, the VP ran down the list of possible suitors.

But, for the record, I would like to say that everything in this post is totally made up, and I LOVE MY JOB and it would suck to get dooced.


Janelle Renee said...

I recently switched banks. I am now a happy Bank of the West customer. Why am I telling you this? Good question. I was a happy little Cal Fed customer, that is until CitiBank, the Bank of Satan, bought it. I asked the Bank of the West VP, who helped me open my accounts, if I should be worried about them being bought out by another Hell-Spawn Bank. Her response? "All business are up for sale. For the right price." Not very reassuring as a bank customer. As a small business owner, it got me thinking. How can I trick, errr... I mean "convince" a buyer that my business is worth $1 million?

Colby said...

Nice disclaimer there; I really was thinking throughout the post, "I wonder how the sunshine comment's going to work its way onto the pink slip."

Besides, look what happened to the Dooce woman: she got to go on Good Morning America and everything! Man, she must live the high life.

Whatever that means.

Mike said...

Hi Janelle. Hey, I remember being a Cal Fed customer. Now I am a cyborg. Anyways, I've made a slew of bad investments in my day. As soon as I scrape together $1 million, I'll buy your company. Hell, I'll give you $2M.

Colby, it's true. Dooce does seems to have made a semi-career out of being fired. And, if you have any more questions about Mormonism, she's your gal. ;)

Dr. Ernst Viewfinder said...

Executive speak, eh?

It's one aspect of a larger cultural malaise, I'm afraid.

Mike said...

Ernie, yeah but what are you gonna do? Me? I've got my secret decoder ring.