BUREAUSCEPTIC One who refuses to buy into customs and cultures of office life.

CASCADE Chinese-whispers-style theory about disseminating information from bosses to the workforce. Senior managers brief slightly less senior ones who brief middle managers who ... and so on, until the information reaches the plebs, in a linguistic "trickle-down".

CREEPBACK The tendency for employers to recruit new staff surreptitiously after making over-enthusiastic redundancies.

CULTURE There are four kinds of workplace culture:

1) Power culture. Thrusters encouraged.

2) Role culture. Conformists' heaven. Employees thrive by fulfilling job descriptions.

3) Task culture. Small working groups are encouraged to solve problems together.

4) [rare] Person-oriented culture.

FLAMEMAIL Abusive e-mail.

HOT-DESKING Euphemism for "no-desking". Workers sit wherever they can find a place - or, in many firms, book a desk. They are sometimes given mobile filing cabinets.

INTRAPRENEUR Person who creates new opportunities within an existing company rather than branching out on their own.

McJOB A concept made popular by Douglas Coupland in his novel Generation X: "A low-paid, low-prestige, low-dignity, low-benefit, no-future job in the service sector. Frequently considered a satisfying career choice by people who have never held one." Compare the old joke: "What do you say to a university graduate with a job? Big Mac and large fries, please."

NEGATIVE PATIENT EPISODE As Britain's largest employer, it is only right that the NHS should be recognised for its contribution to workplace jargon. Definition? The patient has died.

NYLON CARPET Office anorak, who can always be counted on to give way during any confrontation with colleagues or negotiations with management about pay, conditions etc.

PHANTOM PROMOTION A new and very important-sounding but completely meaningless job title conferred by management as an alternative to offering any more money.

POWERNAP Sleep is for wimps, but the powernap (move keyboard, slump on desk, cradle head in arms) can easily be accommodated between meetings or while working late in the office.

PRESENTEEISM Perhaps the work phenomenon of the Nineties. Fear of redundancy has created a nation of middle-managers terrified of not being seen to be working. Presenteeists' descriptions of their mammoth working are known as clock & bull stories.

RECURVING Leaving a well-paid job for a less well-paid one with better prospects. Disillusioned with the City, many bond dealers recurved during the late Eighties. You can be forced into it (see volume reduction window).

VIRTUAL MANAGEMENT An office in which workers know superiors' wishes so well they consistently second-guess them is said to be "virtually managed".

VOLUME REDUCTION WINDOW Opportunity to fire a few people. Compare delayering, delevelling, flattening, icing, dehiring, rationalising, downsizing, rightsizing, core re-emphasis, skill-mix adjustment, involuntary severance, functional concentration, workforce realignment, outplacement, unassigning, and telling people that their jobs are "not going forward."

Adrian Turpin

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