Perhaps no motif is more ingrained in our psyche than that of the mentor or father figure offering up powerful life lessons in low-voiced, soothing maxims. As the undisputed “next generation,” we’ve come to expect these teaching moments in not just our films or television shows, but also in most of our interactions with people over 40. It’s hard to go a week without the typical “As you move into the real world, remember…” or “There’s an old saying in Tennessee…”
For me, many of these conversations center around the idea that we have the opportunity to undo or at least avoid the mistakes of our parents — to get the best out of the world we’re inheriting as we shape it into something more fair and welcoming for all. There’s one aspect of this “real world” before us, however, that many in the baby boomer generation still don’t recognize as a problem for their successors to address. The area, in my view, is a source of untold anguish and ruin – a dark spot we must bleach before it further stains American society. To me, there’s no question: we must let die the mass abuse of those stupid cliché business terms.
If you’re not familiar, some examples of these banal utterances include saying “improvement opportunities” instead of “problems,” or, yes, even calling managers “people leaders” and the H.R. department “people operations” (et tu Google).