The 87 Hetfield solution to management speak

10 February 2012 -


Let’s face it: workplace jargon can be pretty drab. Matt Packer surfs the Urban Dictionary for gems of modern slang that deserve to be enshrined in everyday office chat

Wikipedia; IMDB; Google; Facebook: just four gifts that keep on giving in the rich and teeming universe of the world wide web. But few online behemoths approach the satirical verve and sharpness of the Urban Dictionary – an indispensable lexicon of sardonic terms for a whole host of modern conditions and complaints.

Naturally, its vast pool of user-added content holds more than a handful of nuggets that chime with the wonders of the workplace, so Professional Manager has leafed through in search of some highlights – presented with their definitions and our own, handy usage guides.


Referring to a subject mentioned from an earlier text message.


MANAGER: You’re not in a Hawaiian shirt.

STAFFER: You’re quite right.

MANAGER: But… but this was scheduled in as Hawaiian Shirts Day… as aforetexted LAST WEEK!

(A hip alternative for “Didn’t you get the memo?”)

Holiday Eve

The day before a company holiday when employees are inclined to do as little work as possible.


MANAGER: So, I guess you’ll whizz me the handover notes to cover your break at about five or so?

STAFFER: Well, since it’s Holiday Eve, I was thinking of giving it a miss and mellowing out, if that’s ok.

(A hip alternative to “Demob happy”)


The finger(s) you purposely keep clean when you eat something messy so you can operate your touchscreen smartphone/tablet/GPS without making it look like your plate.


STAFFER: AARGH! A phone call while eating a Coronation chicken wrap al desko – lucky I kept a spare pair of iFingers…

(A hip alternative to “Wet Wipes”)

YouTube degree

A bachelor’s level certificate that people award to themselves after they have deemed themselves to be experts in a particular field of study by watching various instructional and how-to videos on YouTube.

STAFFER: Oh, good… I gave myself a YouTube degree in it last night. We’re solid.

(A hip alternative to “Open University”)


The condition of having one of the day’s major meals prevented or postponed by on-the-spot counteractions, such as meetings, tricky questions or complex discussions at – or in the vicinity of – lunchtime.


STAFFER [belly rumbling]: Gah! This cheese-and-beans jacket spud has clagged into a stone-cold mess. It would’ve been pure comfort food if that delayed job interview hadn’t lunch-blocked me.

(A hip alternative to “Absolutely snowed”)

Rehab Sunglasses

Sunglasses worn inside.


MANAGER [Morning after an office party]: Whoa – lot of rehab sunglasses in use today.
STAFFER [Morning after an office party]: Someone get me my rehab sunglasses or I’m going to DIE.

(A hip alternative to “An animal has died in my head”)

Submarine duty

Being forced to work in close quarters or cramped spaces with other people where privacy is unattainable.


MANAGER: It’s packed in here… this office needs a move, or a makeover.

STAFFER: I know – everyone’s on total submarine duty.

(A hip alternative to “Someone in here doesn’t smell too great”)


Too long; didn’t read. Typically typed in an internet comments thread whenever a nerd on the subject matter posts a reply that’s too epic to take in.


STAFFER: Hey, did you get my report on technology growth areas in the Nordic region?

MANAGER: tl;dr.

(A hip alternative to “I gave it a quick skim but still need to drill down to the specifics”)


When someone’s economic situation has become so tenuous that their entire net worth is in the pockets of their jeans.


MANAGER: I have to break it to you… we only got 501k funding for this project.

(A hip alternative to “Piffling”)

87 Hetfield

Cooler than cool; the pinnacle of awesomeness. In 1987, James Hetfield, lead singer/guitar player for Metallica, was the embodiment of cool – awesome personified.

Can be abbreviated to simply ‘87.


MANAGER: Wow, that budget increase/pay rise/new office/job candidate/project meeting/software package/quarterly performance report is totally 87 Hetfield.

(A hip alternative to pretty much anything.)

Detail of James Hetfield image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons, via Wikipedia

Powered by Professional Manager