‘Low hanging fruit’: S’pore Redditors share their most-hated workplace jargon

A deep dive into workplace jargon that Singapore Redditors hate the most

Those who’ve been in a corporate setting long enough would likely have heard phrases like “low-hanging fruit” and “circle back”.

If you cringed and felt like punching something, you are most certainly not alone.

On Friday (21 June), a Redditor took to the r/askSingapore subreddit asking people to share the workplace jargon that they hate the most.

And boy, did the floodgates open, with the post garnering more than 200 comments in two hours.

Singapore Redditors despise workplace jargon like ‘revert’ & ‘let’s take this offline’

To get the ball rolling, the Redditor mentioned “low-hanging fruit”.

workplace jargon

Source: fz750 on Canva

“I just picture a set of dangling wrinkly balls. Super distracting,” they explained.

According to Indeed, “low-hanging fruit” refers to tasks that can be completed easily before tackling more challenging matters.

One commenter has a particular disdain for “touch base”, quipping that they “don’t really want to touch anything”.

Source: r/askSingapore on Reddit

Another user isn’t fond of “circle back”, which basically means to revisit a topic at a later time.

Source: r/askSingapore on Reddit

Even simple email formalities like “nice to e-meet you” drive some people up the wall.

workplace jargon

Source: r/askSingapore on Reddit

This Redditor decided to unleash chaos and write an entire sentence loaded with enough corporate lingo for an entire department meeting, triggering others.

Source: r/askSingapore on Reddit

Then there was this comment by another Reddit user, which contains 10 phrases that make their “ears bleed”.

workplace jargon

Source: r/askSingapore on Reddit

While most agreed that these office buzzwords belong on the ick list, some argued that certain terms are necessary.

For instance, “alignment” is deemed crucial for large projects involving multiple groups working towards the same goal.

workplace jargon

Source: r/askSingapore on Reddit

Corporate lingo mocked on TikTok

Corporate lingo is certainly not unique to Singapore — there are over 92 million posts about “Corporate Jargon” on TikTok, mostly parodies or lists of the worst office lingo.

In March, TikTok user @courageousleadership embarked on a mission to determine which terms annoyed people the most.

She asked users to comment their most hated corporate jargon in a video and compiled a Top 50 countdown, with the Top 5 worst corporate jargon phrases being:

  1. Circle back
  2. Synergy
  3. Bandwidth
  4. Low-hanging fruit
  5. We’re like a family

Replying to @Keith Overbay here you go! Top 5 worst corporate jargon phrases 🤢 THANK YOU and also I’m sorry 😂 #corporatejargon #corporatehumor

♬ original sound – Robyn L Garrett

Numerous articles and studies delve into why these phrases are so exasperating.

A survey by LinkedIn and Duolingo in the United Kingdom (UK) found that 48% of Millennial and Gen Z respondents felt excluded at work due to office jargon.

Many even admitted to making mistakes because they didn’t understand the terms.

Merriam Webster editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski also explained that such terms can turn into cliches and lose their meaning.

“They suddenly become a kind of signifier for something else, which is language that isn’t very direct language, that isn’t very emotionally honest,” he said.

There’s more to explore on why workplace jargon leaves such a bad taste in so many people’s mouths, but we don’t have the bandwidth to get into it.

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Featured image adapted from metinkiyak on Canva.

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