Playground Phrases Adapted For The Workplace
If you want to be awesome, talk like a kid.
If you want to be a kick-ass adult, you need to remember what made you a kick-ass kid. Life is going to talk a lot of trash and you need to reclaim your snappy comebacks to get ahead.
He who smelt it dealt it
Let’s begin with an easy one. Reggie in accounting announces via email, “I regret to inform you all that someone has been pilfering our pension account.” You’ve never liked Reggie or his liberal use of the line-item veto on your expense reports so this is go-time. Rarely in the professional world should you use reply all. It’s the nuclear option for email but today is a good day for nuking.
Choose reply all then type, “He who smelt it dealt it.” Hit send and watch your email reverberate through the office. Reggie is a goner and your work is done here. You’ll probably be promoted.
1, 2, 3, Not it
It’s that time again, quarterly reviews. Your entire marketing team is in the conference room, seated with bagels and coffee, waiting to share their performance against metrics presentations. Jessica, your director, asks which of the eight of you would like to go first. You’re no idiot. In an authoritative voice, announce to the rest of the room, “1, 2, 3, Not it!”
Your colleagues are stunned as you close your laptop and smile. You don’t get supercilious much but at this moment you made them all look super silly. Jessica will be impressed and you’ll likely receive another promotion.
I know you are but what am I
On the off chance that your 1, 2, 3, Not it wasn’t a smashing success, you may find yourself in Jessica’s office for a one on one. She might question whether you take your job seriously and say, “You seem like someone who doesn’t want to work here.”
The things we hate most about other people are the things we hate most about ourselves. Look her in the eyes and tell her, “I know you are but what am I?” It’s a teachable moment for Jessica. Confronting our true nature and the masks we wear is daunting. She will thank you for helping her evolve. You’re probably looking at a promotion.
I am rubber, you are glue…
Somehow Reggie in accounting managed to keep his job despite your Hercule Poirot performance. Furthermore, he’s asked you to his office along with HR to accuse you of pilfering the pension.
He presents documents allegedly proving that you, not he, stole money from the company. When he’s played his hand take a dramatic pause and play yours, “Reggie, oh Reggie, I am rubber and you are glue. What you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” Fold your arms for emphasis.
Claire, your HR director, has heard enough. She tells Reggie to pack his things and go. She apologizes for troubling you and offers you a promotion in exchange for not suing the company. You magnanimously accept.
Word has gotten out about your three promotions in four days. You’re now the youngest VP in the company and Chuck, your CEO, asks you to lunch.
Chuck takes you to a Chinese restaurant you’ve never heard of because executives don’t share restaurant recommendations with plebs. You feel the rush of executive privilege when you order the sesame chicken and a Diet Coke.
After the waiter leaves, Chuck asks you why he’s never heard of you and if you’re even qualified for your job. This is a power play by a man who feels threatened by you. Power only respects power. Take a sip of your Diet Coke while maintaining eye contact with Chuck. Set down your glass and say, “I don’t think you are qualified to question what I am qualified to do, Chuck. No backsies.”
Check and mate. Chuck folds and the waiter brings your sesame chicken. He tells you to enjoy your lunch and you do because it tastes like victory.
No, you’re a moron. Infinity
Chuck decides to retire after his crushing sesame chicken defeat. Everyone looks to you to take up the mantle and lead the company moving forward. After assuming CEO duties, you’re asked to give a TED Talk about your rapid ascent to the chief executive of a Fortune 1000 company.
Halfway through your seven-minute presentation, someone from the crowd yells out, “You’re a moron!” You momentarily forget what you were going to say next. Relax, you’ve got this covered.
You calmly ask which of the hoi polloi spoke up. When the jealous man raises his hand, you ask him for his name. He yells back ‘Jim.’ Perfect. Now say, “Well, Jim, you’re a moron. Infinity.”
The lecture hall erupts in applause as the crowd comes to its feet. You leave Vancouver an American and a Canadian hero.
You are now boss of the world and a goddamn legend.
Takes one to know one.