How good words turn bad

buzzwords wasteland

The items that we now categorise as weasel words, wank language and corporate buzzwords weren’t always the indefensible, indecipherable brain-slop of desk-shackled keyboard tappers.

Almost every single one began as a word or term that didn’t make you want to chainsaw it alive and throw its corpse into an abandoned quarry.

Some were very good words: think of bespoke, curate and granular.

Some were not quite so pleasing to look at or say, but had delightful original meanings: think of journey, storytelling or kicking goals.

And some were fairly plain but serviceable: think of action (the noun), drive and disrupt

Each of them has succumbed. Action has become an entirely unnecessary verb. Journey, drive and disrupt have reached epidemic proportions and have lost almost all meaning to the point where “Let’s drive a disruption journey” would now be considered a perfectly legitimate (possibly an “innovative”) sentence in many offices. Storytelling is what a lot of people who can’t tell stories profess to do exceptionally well these days. Etc, etc. 

Yes, each of the has succumbed, but not in a single, fell swoop. Instead they have succumbed in a relatively lengthy process of bollocksification. It can take many forms, but it usually goes something like this:… Read the rest

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The Haught guide to burning career bridges

bison

I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve come to the end of my professional tether more than once in my time. I’ve reached the point where a steady income has seemed far less preferable to escaping a certain work environment – escaping out into a world of destitution where the blisters are extravagant, the hunger is hallucinogenic, but where the absence of corporate nerds telling me how “key” it is that my “deliverables” are “actioned” in a “timely manner” on a “go forward basis” is like a salve for my flayed soul.

Yes, several times I’ve approached the edge of the career abyss and thought, “Oo, that gaping void looks alluring.”

I’ve fantasised about its darkness. Its coolness. Its quietness. I’ve considered that there might be Bach playing approximately halfway down. I’ve conjectured that there is a fernery at the bottom.

What’s stopped me from stepping into the pleasant nothingness? The truth.… Read the rest

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ParentHaught: Lessons learnt from the University of Fatherhood

University of Fatherhood

Before I became a father, when people told me that parenthood was a great educator, I would scoff with the flamboyant malice of a reality dating show villain and walk out of the room.

Since our daughter was born, however, I’ve learnt some important lessons, one of the most vital being that suddenly leaving somebody alone in a room can make them very very upset to the point where they forget to breathe, leak saliva from the mouth and slam half a banana in your eye when you return and try to console them.

It turns out those I had ridiculed were right. Sorry to all of you reading this that I did scoff on.

Many of the things I’ve come to understand since becoming partly responsible for our little marshmallow addict are applicable outside the world of domesticity.

Here are just a few:… Read the rest

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“Knocking on grass” – a podcast about shyness

A podcast about shyness
A little while back a lovely woman from the ABC got in contact with me and said she’d been reading my blog. She asked if I’d like to submit something to the radio show she produced…

…preferably without quite as much of the foul language as usual.

I decided not to be a smart arse for once in my life and came up with this – about the person who hides behind Haught… and shyness:… Read the rest

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Is Mondayitis real?

Mondayitis.

Mondays. Unless you genuinely love your job, are a massive nerd or one of those evangelical Self-Motivators (“I will empower myself to start this week with AWESOME!”), Mondays can be troublesome.

But is Mondayitis an actual, serious psychophysiological illness or just a throwaway malady akin to man flu and hose buttock? To find out, I asked former GP and practising psychologist Dr Egan Patiens.… Read the rest

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On being a strange generational hybrid

 

generations

A sculpture of my buttocks

Regular readers will know, or have by now deduced, that I am in an existential crisis. I’m generationally awry.

I have the Birth Certificate, digital literacy and firm buttocks of a Generation Y, but the basic grammatical skills, suspicion of young people, latent revolutionary zeal and ever-present fear of imminent apocalypse of a Baby Boomer.

The Gen Y in me is impatient. But impatient for what the Boomer in me yearns for: a better, simpler, earlier time. Even though I’ve never experienced one.

I’m 33 and already a sort of strange quasi-reactionary, just without all the racism, desire for religious reverence or blatant misogyny. But I’m covering old ground here, so let me get to my point.… Read the rest

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ParentHaught: “UH-OH!”

Uh-Oh!

The other day my wife, my daughter (Lucy) and I were coming home from a walk. We went via a cricket oval.

It was late afternoon and a game had just finished. We passed the pavilion and began to climb the hill towards our house when we all noticed a cricketer having a wizzle up against a fence of a nearby house.

He wasn’t particularly well hidden – there was just a barely living clump of bush obscuring his dude – but we probably wouldn’t have noticed him had it not been for the fact he was emitting wind with gay abandon.… Read the rest

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“Grandpa, what was Agile Methodology?”

Grandpa and grandson - wind

“Grandpa, what was Agile Methodology?”

“Ah, that’s a very good question, kiddo.”

“And…?”

“And what?”

“And what’s the answer?”

“The answer to what?”

“My question.”

“About what?”

“About Agile Methodology.”

“Oh. Oh… that. I thought you were talking about the other thing.”

“What thing?”

“The… thing… with… about… the… the… bi-… about… Biff… Pelican. Biff Pelican.”

What?! No!”

“Well it’s a funny story, actually. I used to have this weblog. And -”

“I was asking about Agile Methodology.”

“No. No. Of course you were.”… Read the rest

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Regrets? Surely you have a few

NO REGRETS

Some people ask me while I’m signing autographs or they’re basking in the fresh-baked-bread warmth of my celebrity, “Jonathan, have you ever written something you wish you could take back?”

I always tell them “yes”, even though it’s patently untrue and every one of my pieces of work to date has, on any objective scale, been between an 8.5 and a 13 out of 10.

Why? Because you should never trust a person who doesn’t have any regrets.

I’m all for a bit of haught. I named my blog after it. I start most of my articles and many of my emails with it. I think a sprinkle of superciliousness is good for the soul. (It’s like nutmeg in that way.) But the philosophy of regretlessness is arrogance taken to a preposterous level, a level that not even I, with my weather balloon head and galactic ego, can empathise with.

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