818-Origins of Jargon

Episode: 818

Episode Title: Origins of Jargon


Where does workplace jargon come from—and why is it still used today? Let’s talk about it, next on The Perna Syndicate.


Ep 818 show:

You’re now in The Perna Syndicate—thanks for tuning in! In work culture, jargon typically starts out as a metaphor or anecdote. Sports are a particularly rich source for corporate jargon. This is where terms like “hit it out of the park” or “fumble the ball” come from. 


Once a word or phrase is used in this way, it must be spread by people with social clout, who then are imitated by others. A lot of jargon spreads from the C-Suite. The social power of executives gives jargon a lot of momentum. These terms can have incredible staying power, sticking around and evolving for decades. 


As newcomers to the workforce, Generation Z is not a fan of language they don’t understand. Yet at the same time, nearly 85% of Gen Z workers in the U.S. admit to using workplace jargon themselves. Of all the generations, they’re struggling the most with making sense of jargon at work. But they’re also bringing their own terms to the workplace, along with a less formal communication style.


Gen Z employees are more junior, and so the jargon they bring to the workplace is going to have less social capital behind it compared to the jargon used by the more-senior Millennial, Gen X, and Boomer employees they work with. 


Give it a few decades, and Gen Z jargon will be dominating the workplace. Jargon is never really going to go away, just change and evolve as new generations arrive on the scene. But is this really such a bad thing?


Next time on the show, we’re going to change gears and talk about some of the upsides of using workplace jargon. See you next time on The Perna Syndicate! 

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