Gaseous Emissions
Upper Kirby Progressive 4/2001

For those of you who are perched perilously on the edges of your seats waiting to hear how last month's story ended, I will relieve your tension and include one more highlight. (For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I think you'll get the gist anyway.) As I was putting on the finishing touches and getting ready to send the article out, I suffered a rude interruption which prompted yet another call to my now beleaguered plumbing company. This is sort of how it went.

"Hi, this is Laurie Feinswog. I'm pretty sure you have a plumber scheduled to come out to fix my tub, but I don't think he should come right now because I'm about a block from my house by order of the fire department who was called because the guys fixing the city sewer line broke a high pressure gas line, and now myself and the rest of the people within a two block radius are waiting for the Entex folks to get out here and cap it off because the dozen or so hazardous materials guys and firemen in my yard can't manage it…"

But, that said, my sewage is now draining properly, my lawn has no more holes in it, and the pillar of enormity is placidly awaiting an artist to doll it up and make it less of an eyesore. It's almost as if I have nothing left to write about.

Ah. Would that that were true.

I'm not sure what I should make of these articles anymore. I started off with Technology because I thought I could perform a service by explaining to as many people as possible the same things I was finding myself explaining to my parents. I felt like I was perfectly positioned to pursue this activity. High tech industry, access to bleeding edge technologies, insight into new business strategies… The works.

But recently I was introduced to a whole new side of the technology industry that I'd really never had a chance to experience before.

The laid off side.

Before you start gasping and thinking, "oh no! Someone find that poor woman another job!" let me assure you that I'm really quite thrilled about it. I immediately set myself up doing freelance business writing (ß shameless plug) and now I get to work from home, keep my kiddo out of daycare, sleep until noon and write during the prime, productive vampire hours of my choosing. Ok, ok, I have to pay self-employment taxes, find my own health insurance and keep annoyingly meticulous books, but I'm quite positive that it will all be offset by the fact that nearly every expensive hobby or vice I've acquired over the decades turns out to be a business expense. Except beer. I still need to figure that one out.
There is a down side, though, and it's not that I will no longer be offered vaporous stock options as incentive or reward. It's the fact that because I'm still writing for the corporate world, I'm not free of the most hideous of all corporate anomalies. That bizarre business lingo that is so ubiquitous it has resulted in the creation of the globally recognized game, Buzzword Bingo.

Instead of just casually deriding this Verbing of America like I used to, now I'm in a position where I almost have to do something about it. Oh, sure, I could just play along and use "disincent" as a verb in a sentence as if it were an actual word, or as if the language would benefit from it becoming an actual word, but I don't think I'll do that. I think, in fact, that I will end up as Champion for the Real Word. Spokesman for Truth, Justice and the American Noun.

I will build or create. I will not architect.
I will motivate. I will not incent.
I will show how a business grows, not how I grow a business.
I will bring everyone to the same level. I will NOT - never, ever, ever - level set them.

I will refuse to make every verb I type a bullet-point action verb as if I first learned how to write in a resume building class.

I will probably talk about the cutting edge, the leading edge, and the bleeding edge because those terms are able to segue nicely into non-corporate sounding metaphors that I can pepper throughout my writing. However, value chain, value proposition and core competency are all expressions for which I know I can find more illustrative replacements.

I might have to partner with other service providers but it will be against my will. It's possible that I will have no choice but to create Centers of Excellence and touch on Thought Leadership, but only because the concepts are so nearly vacuous that I could hardly be bothered coming up with better terms.

I'm definitely going to be a little touchy about downsizing, rightsizing and smartsizing.

Finally, I will concede the use of leverage as a verb, BUT ONLY after I describe the physics behind the concept and point out that where you place the fulcrum is far more important to business efficiency than the amount of brute force applied at the pushing end.

So, you see, I have my plans. By day I will lunch and liaise with those in the corporate world. Later… in the still of night… at my keyboard… while no one is watching… I will put on my tights and cape and will stealthily replace their favorite buzzwords with actual words with real meanings. Then I will watch with delight when their eyes light up and they say, "Hey. That sounds MUCH better. How do you do that?"

Really, it's so much more than a job…

Laurie Feinswog is currently working as a freelance writer, utilizing her skill set in a customer-focused manner that highlights her core competencies and allows her to work smarter, not harder as she takes ownership of her own bottom line. If you'd like to dialogue or interface or otherwise share some bandwidth with her she'd love to hear from you at