817-Rise of Jargon
Episode Title: Rise of Jargon
For some workers, using jargon is a way to show expertise. But for others, it can be a way to exclude people from their professional circle. Let’s talk about it, next on The Perna Syndicate.
Ep 817 show:
This is The Perna Syndicate—hello and welcome! I’ll be the first to admit I sometimes use jargon; it’s become a mental shorthand for expressing feelings and describing situations quickly. And that’s fine—as long as the person on the other end of the conversation is familiar with the terms. But that’s exactly where the overuse of jargon can become a problem.
One-third of working Americans think jargon is used because it makes people feel like they’re part of the team. But jargon can have a dark side. While likely not intentional, overuse of jargon in the workplace can actually exclude those without a grasp on the terms, while favoring those who are initiated into the mysteries of workplace jargon.
People use language (both consciously and unconsciously) to project the persona they see as appropriate to the situation they’re in. By using jargon, an employee can show that they know the language of their professional circle. This can legitimately demonstrate expertise and a long history of belonging to the professional community.
Of course, this is not a bad thing—unless it turns into a tool for exclusion. When a person is surrounded by language they don’t understand, they will feel like they don’t belong. Even if those using jargon don’t mean to be exclusive, the person who doesn’t understand the terms will feel like an outsider to the professional circle. And none of us wants to feel that.
Tomorrow on the show: How did jargon get into the workplace to begin with and why is it still around? See you next time for that conversation on The Perna Syndicate!