Here’s why young workers want to ditch ‘corporate-speak’

The TikTok clip sounds almost like a foreign language class. “Work in synergy,” a young woman says, looking at her computer, before deadpanning to the camera to translate.

“Cooperate with each other like adults.” Back to her computer: “It’s on my radar,” she says. Beat. “I know about it, and I purposely haven’t done it,” she says to the

camera. This video is one of many on the platform in which users take aim at ‘corporate-speak’ — office parlance that can range from the tech-inspired (”bandwidth,” “take

this offline”), to the sporty (”get the ball rolling,” “touch base”), to the ol’-reliable (”just circling back”). On Slack and in conference rooms, it’s hard to keep this lingo

off your radar. However trivial this white-collar lingua franca may seem, the trend of young workers pushing back against it raises an important question: As other long-held

workplace norms (like physical offices and dress codes) have been dismantled, is it still really necessary to speak the corporate code? Why can’t we just say what we

mean? “My colleagues will talk to me sometimes, and I’m like, ‘Can you just talk to me like a human person, please?’” said Bailey, a 26-year-old Somerville copywriter who

asked that her last name not be used while discussing her workplace. “It just feels a little like keeping the guise of, ‘Oh, this is important and what we are doing is important’

by using this very official language.’”