The worst thing about office jargon? – That it’s like measles.
Measles set off usually by the HIPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion – also office jargon).
That is how most office jargon spreads – someone waa…y above you uses it on you after spotting it on some televised show or some series these days on Netflix maybe, and then you catch it. And then you use it at the next available opportunity and now you’re the star. You’ve passed it along. Done your bit. Enriched vocab all around, plaudits in waiting.
And then the next time you hear it from someone along your line or below and you wink at yourself knowingly. It’s like speaking in code. A way to tell the jargonites from the mud-bloods who don’t get much time indulging boredom with their PPTs in sub-zero air-conditioned conference rooms.
Office jargon is like neon shoes – nobody wants it until the boss gets it. And then everybody gets it. Think about it. If your office peon said s/he had a hard stop at 4pm, you’d just wince. But it’s different when the boss says it. Especially so when the boss’ boss says it. And when the director says it, you’d better just be calling home and yelling at your house-help that you have a hard stop at 7am tomorrow.
This is just like how ‘airport looks’ operate. Or for that matter ripped jeans.
So what does it mean when you say hard stop: let’s invest in some research and knowledge. It is, after all, a Wednesday, also known as a ‘hump’ day – office jargon, again – to mean the middle of the week when things are truly settling down after a Monday engulfed in office blues and procrastinated upon and then comes Tuesday still reeling under the effect. Wednesday is when you pull up your boots and say well, Friday ain’t too far. Friday is the ultimate hard stop, people!
Coming back to hard stops: The term comes from the world of investment – it’s a standing instruction from a brokerage client to sell units of a security if the market price declines to a specific level. You might think the comparison far-flung but we’ve had a rich history of flinging ‘IT’ really far in the good ol’ office with jargons like ‘touch base’ and ‘when the rubber hits the road’.
To think that when I heard the term for the first time I actually mis-heard it as heart stop. And I was delighted at the ability of this suspicious looking bearded fellow in a dapper suit to schedule the stoppages of his heart right over his smartphone. It was interesting. Until I heard it again and resolved to use it myself the next time.
Luckily, my day went well. My hard stop argument worked like magic. It’s like I had made ingenuous requests like ‘Oh, but I need just a minute’; ‘this won’t take long’, ‘yeah but we have a business priority here’ just simply disappear into thin air. The Hard Stop was an infallible aide. It’s where arguments and power and intimidation met their kryptonite.
So why don’t you tell me: What’s your hard stop? 🙂