There are many weird and wonderful aspects to starting a new job, but one of the most annoying, according to a new survey, is the use of jargon.
A survey by finance recruitment firm Nigel Lynn found that two-thirds of new recruits to large organisations found jargon to be the most irksome aspect of their induction. Meetings described as 'face time', irrelevant questions that need to be 'parked' and 'ITTTC' rather than the desperately old-fashioned 'I think that's the case', are all causes of annoyance and stress.
Steve Carter, managing director of Nigel Lynn, says: "Jargon makes recruits feel isolated. It is like a private club, and to get in you have to learn the dialect."
Sinead Brennan recently joined BT as an apprentice customer service engineer, and faces technical and management jargon on a daily basis.
"I have learned so many acronyms it's unbelievable," she says. "You come across the same jargon over and over, and then you start using it. I tell my mum what I have done during the day, and she doesn't understand a word."
Karen O'Reilly, head of HR at National Express, believes some managers use jargon as a bullying tactic. "Jargon can destroy the confidence of a new recruit, and it can be used by people who lack confidence themselves," she says. "People use obscure acronyms and strange terms to make the person they're talking to feel stupid."
Jargon doesn't do much to enhance your employer brand in the early stages of a new job, either. "It comes across as intimidating and false," says Carter. "It proliferates when you settle into a company, and then you find yourself using it too."
So how can HR educate line managers not to speak in business jargon? O'Reilly believes the answer is to challenge it.
"As long as it goes unchallenged, it will flourish," she says. "I respond to jargon with: 'I didn't understand that. What do you mean?'"
Brennan agrees. "As an apprentice, I need to understand everything, so I have to risk looking silly and ask for explanations outright. The danger is in thinking: 'Oh well, I'll find out what that means later', because you may never get a chance."