New descriptive entrants Language evolves and finds new words for change that is inevitable in our lives. New words appear on the scene to describe new situations, and sometimes an old one that had not been served by a definition yet.
In the 21st century the workplace has changed too, with new words being coined as an inevitable result. Two years ago Joshua Glen wrote an entertaining book called TheWage Slave’s Glossary that lists and defines some 200 such neologisms. Here is a small sampling:
Hurry Sickness: A new term for a condition that was actually identified (but not named) in the 1950s – an ailment in which the sufferer feels chronically short of time (“24 hours in a day is just not enough!”).
Funemployment: The enjoyable feeling of being unemployed, as evident from the Twitter feeds of happily jobless men and women in their 20s and 30s. For a generation whose sky-high self-esteem won’t permit them to take jobs they deem unworthy of their talents, the recession removed the stigma of unemployment – and, perhaps, of downward mobility, too. The backing of old money or the moving back into the parental home for free would make this luxury ‘affordable’.
Leisure Sickness: The bane of many an organisation, in which employees mysteriously (and conveniently) fall ill just before or after a weekend.
And its extreme opposite? The After-Dinner Man! Here’s workplace strategy expert Adrian Gostick on the subject: “Fifty years ago, most people worked hard until five or six and then went home to their families, friends and hobbies. Business people who brought work home were the butt of jokes – they were workaholics or those inefficient souls who couldn’t get their work done in eight hours. The term ‘the after-dinner man’ emerged to describe them.
Today, the average North American spends more time working than did medieval peasants in servitude. And even when we do leave the office we don’t disconnect. We are attached to our phones and laptops at all hours and even on vacation.”
Time to detox!