Business Jargon 101

True life: the last 12 months have been my first foray into the business world.

I have a BA in Psychology and I worked in mental health for several years before returning to get my Master of Human Resource Management. Fortunately I am in good company—many students at Fisher College of Business come in with nontraditional backgrounds, creating diversity of perspective and viewpoints in and outside the classroom. It’s one of the things that makes life at Fisher so great. The unfortunate part, however, is that I am now years behind in possibly the most important aspect of my development—business jargon.

Sometime over the course of the last year, I developed an obsession for slang in general. Every industry and field has its own language. At my last job, hours were spent debating who had the greater “need for power and control” and how we could “increase our self-awareness” to better “hold ourselves accountable” to our “goals.” I’ve had a field day appropriating this lingo into my daily life because let’s be honest—when work gets heavy, you have to find a way to keeps things light.

For those of you like me whose true passion lies in art of finding the humor in the mundane, I’d like to provide a somewhat tongue-and-cheek introduction to three of my new favorite words in my first installment of Business Jargon 101.

Deliverable (n.)

The thing that comes from the work you did.

It could be a report, a presentation, or a shoebox diorama like you made in third grade. Simply put, it’s the tangible result of you spending many hours doing intangible things.

Table (v.)

To put something off.

This is fun. When you don’t want to talk about something right now, you just “table it” and hope that everyone forgets about it forever. Or at least until the next meeting.

Leverage (v.)

To use something you have to do something you want.

One of the most versatile words in the business world. You can leverage your assets. You can leverage your strengths. You can even leverage your synergies—whatever that means. When you want to talk about how you’re going to use something you have in order to do something you want to do—and you want to sound fancy when you say it—just throw a “leverage” in there and voila.

In all seriousness, in my time at Fisher I’ve collected experiences, knowledge, and skills that are indispensable to my career and development as a person. What’s more, I’ve learned work is more than just what we do–it’s how we do it. In addition to what I’ve learned in the classroom, I’m learning to bring my personality into everything I do. I like to have fun, work hard, and laugh at myself, and I’m lucky to attend a school that encourages me to bring my own style an authenticity to class everyday.