Dylan Jones: If you ask me

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The Independent Online

If you ask me we need seriously to watch what we say. Anyone fortunate enough to have plumped for I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! as their reality TV show of choice last year would have seen the ghastly ex-supermodel Janice Dickinson parading around with celebrity Tourette's.

One expression she seemed to favour above most others was "100 per cent" – as in, "I'm in it to win it – 100 per cent." And now I can't seem to have a business meeting without someone saying exactly that.

"Think you can convince her to do it?"

"100 per cent."

"Sure you're willing to work until ten every single night for the next six months?"

"Oh yes, 100 per cent."

Now, while I admire anyone who expresses such devotion to duty, your new employee is basically lying to you before he or she has even started work. 100 per cent? Unlikely, really ...

I've been down this road before, of course. There was a time when you couldn't blink without someone coming up with some new socioeconomic cult. Metrosexuals? So last century. Trustafarians? So 1980s. Pastafarians? My dear, have you seen Ruud Gullit recently? Since then we have had Metrobachelors, Turbo Shandy Men, Creative Sector Nomads and even Ladults. And all have disappeared.

Next we were treated to "jargonics", a catch-all term for the nonsensical office jargon that passed for conversation in the dotcom boom: "We have bench", MBWA ("Management By Walking Around"), "de-careered", "reconfigured", etc (or should that be "etc"?).

This was replaced quite quickly by TLAs, the three-letter acronyms used in e-mail. And what started harmlessly with FYI and BTW soon exploded into CLM ("career-limiting move"), ROW (the American designation for "rest of the world"), ITA ("I totally agree"), JFDI ("Just f***ing do it!") and my own favourite, EOD ("End of discussion").

We have now entered a period where verbal shorthand is so habitual it's possible to have entire conversations using nothing else. I was in a meeting the other day and not only did I hear the phrase "going forward" six times (a phrase that means precisely nothing), but one person used it three times in one sentence.

Which is definitely the wrong sort of percentage.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

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