Rule 52: Speak the language

Famous Lagos-Nigeria Clothier, Alero Idowu of Hallero  Courture
Fitting
in means being able to follow the corporate culture, and speaking the language
is a big part of this.  You can give the
game away by not using the right jargon, or using computer-speak at the wrong
time.

If they all use geeky language,
then you too must use it.  No, this isn’t
the time or place to discuss whether you want to belong to a geeky company – that’s for you to do
alone in the soul searching time of the early hours when you can’t sleep.

If
the boss talks in terms of SPRs for staff/product/ratios then you too must talk
of SPRs.  It isn’t your job to educate
them, re-educate them, edify them, inform them, teach them, give them a bit of
class, drag them up, stop the dumbing down process or instruct them.  Their corporate language is what you must
speak.  I know there will be times when
it will make you want to scream – but speak it you must.


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I
once worked for an Italian boss who, because of his inadequate grasp of English
had taken to talking of clienters’, which was his sort of mix of clients and customers.  Because he was the boss, this ridiculous term
had entered public domain and every member of staff from the general manager
down talked about the clienters.  I could
have stood there and screamed ‘No, no,
no, this is wrong, stop it at once’
. 
Fat lot of good it would have done me. 
It was clienters the whole time I was there and I hated it every time
I heard it.  But I knew the rules and
also called them clienters.

“IF THEY
ALL USE GEEKY LANGUAGE, THEN YOU TOO MUST USE IT.”.

Spend
a little time listening to how your office uses language. Do they speak the
Queen’s English or a curious local variation? 
We’re not talking accents here, but the sort of individual clienters that every office somehow
manages to pick up.  I also worked with
an American who talked of people working as hard as Mexicans. This was his
way of being, what he thought, politically correct.  It was, of course, just as bad, just as wrong,
just as offensive.  However, he was the
owner of the company so the term ‘Mexicans’
had stuck and again it was wrong and horrible, but it was in current usage.
The
only time this rule should be broken is where it applies to swearing. The Rules
say no swearing, but if the corporate culture is that everyone swears what are
you to do?  Answer: not swear.  Rule
37
over-rules Rule
51
in this case – you’ve been trumped.
(Excerpts from THE
RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “How to decode the dress code of your industry” from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)
















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