BRAVE / CHALLENGING? Public sector idioms and euphemisms translatedPosted: February 13, 2020
Public sector euphemisms translated
The big picture
Sacking people and cuts
Just do it
We are where we are (adj). No progress has been made but I’m not going to take action or look at the cause of this monumental screw-up.
It is what it is (adj). See ‘We are where we are’.
Challenging times (adj). An absolute shit show of a time period. The Somme was ‘challenging times’.
Interesting times (adj). Giant shit storm. From the Chinese curse: ‘May you live in interesting times.’
Demanding (adj). Impossible.
The work place
A hot desk (noun). We’ve made efficiencies and had a re-organisation and now we don’t have enough tables and chairs. We’ve offered you yoga once a month but we know you’re too busy to turn up to it.
Paperless office (adj). We’ve got rid of the printer and we work with tablets that can’t download apps and we now have to go to Prontaprint where its twice as expensive to print stuff.
Agile work space. You need to be a lithe agile gymnast to get a space to work. Related to hot desk – but the whole building.
Can you comms it up? (adj). I don’t know what you do but do something. When it goes wrong that’ll be your fault. Closely related to ‘weave your magic’, ‘sprinkle your fairy dust,’ ‘do some comms’ and other vague requests.
I’d like a QR code (phrase). I’d like to appear cutting edge but I’m not.
Make a pragmatic compromise (adj). Give the service what they’re asking for even though it’s probably not the right thing.
Just do it
I hear what you’re saying (idiom). I’m ignoring what you’re saying.
Fast-paced environment where no two days are the same (idiom). Absolute chaos with a to-do list nine miles long.
We’re looking for someone who is good at managing change (idiom). There’s been or will be a challenging restructure.
Leveling up the country (idiom). We forgot anywhere exists outside London and have vastly underfunded anywhere else for decades. Here, have a couple of grand and some empty promises.
Consultation (verb). We may or may not be listening to what the people most affected by this want. Related to: ‘Can you do some consultation but not too much’ and ‘I’ve just been consulted at.’
Digital by default (idiom). We have a webform and a corporate Twitter.
Smarter working (idiom). We’re giving you already out-of-date laptops, hot desks and red paint on one wall.
Keep a watching brief (idiom). I’m doing literally nothing.
I need your input (idiom). I have passed this from my to do list to yours.
A soft launch (adjective). We’ll do it but I don’t want too much come back on me.
Open and transparent (adjective). Translation: Can you put this consultation out? It closes next week.
Open brief (idiom). We’ve not decided what the brief is.
You’ve got to pick your battles (idiom). Fundamentally, leadership don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks.
It would be helpful if you would just (idiom). Just do it.
When you’ve got a minute (idiom). Just do it.
You need to be more solutions focused (idiom). Just do it.
Have you got five minutes? (idiom) I’m taking an hour of your time if you’re lucky.
I have concerns (idiom). I think this is shit.
I share your concerns (idiom). I agree. I think this is shit.
I’ve cc’d Dave so he is aware of our concerns (idiom). I think this is shit and I’ve just thrown you under a bus by telling Dave.
It was disappointing (idiom). I’m livid.
We see this as a comms issue (idiom). We’re too busy.
Thanks to contributers Andy Mabbettm Louise Reeve, Rah James, Josie Rylands, Rebekah Dade Duffin, Patrick Fletcher, Sarah Lay, Kaylee Godfrey, Stephen O’Hanlon, Paul Darigan, David Grindlay, Suzie Evans, Hazel Parsons, Michalle Welsby, Steven Welsby, Emma Raczka, Jo Walters, Ed Thake-Adams, Jon Phillips, Adrian Osborne, Neil Gibson, Ben Falconer, Marianne Marshall, Joe Robinson, Alastair Smith, Vikkie Page, Sarah HamiltonDavid Crosby, Cornelius Alexander, Ben Solly, Eimear Fitzpatrick, Lynette Lee, George Barbour, James MortonKeziah Leary, Jane Woodall, Martin Rollins, Zoe Hebden, Charlote Pearce, Emma Louise, Vicky Croghan, Karen Rowley, Suzanna Arnold-Fry, Alex Duffy, Neil Gibson, Pauline Roche, Josephine Graham, Alison Donovan, Jane Harris, Kim McGreal and Kelly Harrison.