Say What You Mean
True story: I once worked for a big company which was rather well-known in the high-tech industry for having their own corporate ‘language’. I worked for them for 14 years. In the beginning, we had profits. As the years rolled by, the corporate terminology began to favor the term, ‘meeting our profitability goals’. The cultural terminology continued to evolve, and the company leaders began to talk about ‘achieving profit forecasts’ and eventually, our annual reports talked about ‘pre-currency adjusted profit’. That was the year I got laid off. It was also the year the company stock dropped to junk bond status, the CEO resigned, and our CFO was arrested for fraudulent accounting practices.
Call it jargon, call it political correctness, or call it techno-speak, using euphemisms is fatal for writers.
We use them all the time in our daily life, but when we write, we must be clear and specific, so that our readers can understand what we mean. We aren’t on a journey; we’re sitting on a crowded bus. We don’t rise to the challenge, we struggle against our cravings. We don’t meet our profitability goals; we sell a million copies of our book. The right words have real power. So say what you mean, because saying it any other way just stinks.