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Are you an Ideas Hamster or ready to Plug and Play?


When The Apprentice’s Simon Smith, got the chop from the BBC’s hugely popular show and watched back footage of himself trying to manage a task for Sir Alan, even he admitted he should have been fired for some hideously embarrassing ‘Brenty’ moments.

So what other pitfalls should any wannabe apprentices trying to climb the career ladder avoid?, the country’s leading online office brokerage business, has spoken to businesses across the UK to compile a top ten list of the latest cringe worthy office terminology – all of which should be avoided if you want to steer clear of looking like David Brent or being fired yourself.

The Top Ten

1. Calling a colleague a ‘404’ (as in the web error message 404: Not Found) for being completely useless.

2. Saying you will ‘knife and fork’ a task – in other words, manage it bit by bit.

3. Claiming at an interview that you are ‘ready to plug and play’ – in other words you are fully trained and can start the job immediately without any support or training.

4. Offering to ‘bookmark’ someone you meet at a conference (taking note of someone and their contact details).

5. Inviting colleagues or staff to a ‘thought showering’ session – the supposedly now PC term for brainstorming.

6. Referring to your PC as the ‘square headed spouse’

7. Declaring that there is an ‘elephant in the room’ or indeed a ‘100lb gorilla’. What you actually need to do is be the one to admit that there is a big problem that everyone is ignoring.

8. Describing yourself as being ‘behind the curve’ – in other words, claiming you have a grip on modern technology and life.

9. Talking about ‘swallowing the frog’ when tackling a particularly horrible task. .

10. Talk about spending the afternoon ‘in the field’ – everyone will know you are skiving!

“There is a lot of inane office terminology out there, picked up by ambitious people who adopt it as part of their language in a bid to fit in,” says Jim Venables, Managing Director of “But we say there’s nothing like good, honest straight talking to see you on your way to success in business.”

“We are sure Sir Alan Sugar would cringe at some of the management speak heard in offices across the land on a daily basis, and the ‘cringometer’ in our own office certainly goes off if we ever hear anyone from attempting to use such terminology!”

Jim continues: “My business partner Andy and I find we ‘sing from the same hymn sheet’ when it comes to straightforward honest business talk. We’re ‘batting for the same team’ and like to ‘work hard, play hard’ to ensure the success of our business.

“We use lots of ‘blue sky thinking’ to come up with creative ideas and are always ready to ‘bite the bullet’ or ‘grasp the nettle’, often ‘pushing the needle’ to take things on to another level,” explains Jim. “Sometimes it feels like we’re having a ‘salmon day’ and swimming against the tide, but we ‘touch base’ regularly to keep on top of things and Andy often gives me a ‘heads up’ on certain issues which, a lot of the time don’t need ‘a degree in rocket science’ to overcome.

“Like most companies we often find ourselves indulging in a session of ‘blamestorming’ if something doesn’t go according to plan, but we are both such little ‘ideas hamsters’ that we always ‘get the ball rolling’ again quickly!” he concludes.

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