This might make your bowels gurgle, but I’ll say it.
Imagine eating the same one dish for breakfast, eleven o’clock snack, lunch, tea and dinner your whole working life.
Something a hyper-ordinary. No spice, pepper or joy. Meat and potato pie without the meat or the pie. Roasted toast. A pastel hue of pasta sauce. Celery with celery-salted celery chips and celery salad on the side. You’ll know a few more. You might have had them at school or borstal.
Think what it’d do for the digestion. The first few weeks might be fine. Then you’d be taking war and peace to read on the pan. Then your hair starts falling out, your once pert, rosy cheeks turn to ash and your farts acquire the unsullied roar of a Vulcan bomber. Scurvy would have nothing on it. Your teeth would be in a bucket.
And as for your mind, God knows. Boredom would quickly turn to rampant insanity, all for the lack of daily wonder and surprise. Interests would degrade to habits. Morale would turn into meat and potato pie without the potato or the pie. Dawn of the Dead stuff.
Enough to make you crave some buttered gravel from the drive.
But here’s a thing. Truly, it’s happening everywhere.
In marketing departments. In corporate HQs. In corporate crannies and universal strategy offices and brand development departments, central comms and best practice and all over.
Except you don’t eat it, you read it.
Every day, a diet of transformed functions, change drivers, modalities, operating models, pockets of excellence, benchmarked players, anticipated change drivers, consumer centricities, data-driven decisions, agile innovations, key drivers, turnkey solutions, principal aggregators, integrators of environments and uncountable -isations. Add more here.
Every conference, conflab, convention, conf call, catchup, PowerPoint, Keynote, key briefing, key learning session, key something else, breakout, brainstorm and brainfuck.
Think what it does for the constitution. The first few weeks might be fine. Then, session by session, doc by doc, you slip inexorably into a semi-comatose syndrome. An industrial poisoning, unidentified by doctors but proven by results. Conditioned into believing there’s no other way to communicate, whole neural centres shrivel and rot like old grapes, like our senses of direction after Google Maps. Then inexorably, the initiative goes down the pan, whether your pants are up or down.
It’s not so much the meaninglessness of corporate speak. It’s its Orwellian monotony.
No wonder a million corporations take eons to react, act, dare and do.
No wonder our original, new, convincing, eye-opening writing often doesn’t open eyes. The path between the eyes, the ego and the imaginations of many who see it is in sleep mode.
Here’s a thing. We’ve all got imaginations. Our problem is that many are in a coma. Unchecked, corporate-speak is like an accumulative, lead-poisoned general anaesthetic. And blindingly, it’s nobody’s fault. Just a habit.
Think what everyone could do if they broke it. Buy outstanding creative. Ask for seconds of meat and pie and deliciously sweet, salt, sour, bitter and umami words that nourish heads and wake up minds from clockwork routines. At work and on the street.
Maybe, for us writers, it’s our duty.
Buttered gravel sandwich, anyone?