A quick guide to passive-aggressive workplace communication

Decorum must prevail when you’re in the office, so nasty-nice code words and phrases stand in for candor. Here’s how to decipher them.

Ragan Insider Content

Every workplace has its jargon, its code words.

Some buzzwords and insider phrases are industry-specific; others are just trendy and spread like germs.

Below are euphemistic phrases that have become ubiquitous in the modern office—along with their translations.

See how many you recognize:

“Good to know.” Translation: I couldn’t possibly care less.

“Sounds like a plan.” Translation: A terrible plan, actually. A recipe for seismic failure.

“I know you’re busy.” Translation: My ears are bleeding; please shut the hell up.

“I see what you did there.” Translation: That’s the least funny thing I’ve ever heard.

“Maybe that project isn’t the right fit for you.” Translation: Stay away from that project, you blithering buffoon.

“I’m not growing in my job.” Translation: They don’t even trust me to run the copy machine.

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