A few months into the three-plus years I spent at Eastwick, a Silicon Valley tech strategic communications agency, I noticed the frequency with which “just” appeared in email and conversation.
Everyone at Eastwick was whip-smart and wired for success. The culture elicited high standards and accountability, but the frequent appearance of “just” ruffled my feathers. It seemed inconsistent with clarity I experienced at Eastwick, and it made me curious.
I wondered if the high ratio of female to male employees had something to do with it.
I arrived at Eastwick directly from Google, which had a more traditional gender mix, and where I didn’t hear “just” nearly as much. “It’s your imagination,” I told myself. Yet after a while I knew it was real. “Just” kept showing up in too many emails, meetings, and conversations.
“I just wanted to check in on…”
“Just seeing if you’d decided between….”
“If you can just give me an answer, then…”
“I’m just following up on…”