I worked in newspapers for almost 35 years.
Starting out as the proverbial cub reporter, I worked my way through all forms of newspapering, from reporting to editing to design.
I know all the lingo. I lived and breathed it for decades. Apparently, printer's ink ran through my veins.
I still have my pica pole. To me, a graph (actually spelled more like graf) is not a chart, but shorthand for a paraGRAPH. People who take pictures are fotogs. Headlines are heds. We of the fourth estate take every possible shortcut in the spoken language, perhaps to make up for our obsessive-compulsive reliance on the written one.
Whatever the reason, it was a world that I was comfortable in. Until I wasn't.
Those of you who have followed along know that the newspaper biz ain't what it used to be, and I jumped ship before it could sink right under my feet.
Best decision I ever made, but an interesting one as I departed from my comfortable slovenliness in the newsroom and entered the business casual world of corporate America.
In the four months I have been hobnobbing with the white-collar crowd, I have had to learn an entirely new language.
People sure talk funny in those big office buildings! Where newspaper folk take shortcuts, corporate people take the looooong -- and flowery -- way 'round.
Here's a little peek into what I have learned:
* Reach out: This is what people do when they need to ask someone for something. They "reach out" to the legal department to get clarity on an issue. I frequently feel like I should break out into song.
* Populate: I still don't really know what this means. I think it has to do with stuff filling itself in. Like my email addresses aren't populating. Who knew they could reproduce??
* Level set: This is a verb. "Let me level set this for you." Hmmm. Ask my husband. He says level setting makes sure your artwork isn't crooked on the wall.
* Metrics: Outside the cubicle, metrics are the system that we Americans are totally resistant to. We prefer our miles and pounds and gallons, and all. But in corp-speak, metrics is data. There's a joke in here somewhere, but I was too busy collecting the metrics on how many jobs needed to be redone to find it.
* The Help Line: Ah, here is where my two worlds collided. It is a universal truth that tech services can be reached at some extension that includes the numbers 4357. Or NOT be reached, as the case may be. And, as a result, I have made both jaded newspaper people and prissy corporate geeks laugh out loud by calling it the Helpless Line.
So excuse me, but I gotta go. I need to reach out to my coffee cup, which I will populate with my favorite beverage. The metrics on that are off the charts.