Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Communication Cliques New Hires Orientation Training and Education Mentors and Mentoring Corporate Culture

I have been with this company for a couple of weeks, and most of the discussions include acronyms that are specific to the company but are a mystery to me. I donít like to interrupt a conversation ten times to understand what is being said, but if I donít, I have no idea what to do. How do I get through this?

Companies are like little societies, complete with their own language, history, culture, and customs. Some companies are more open and accepting of outsiders, while others are more exclusionary. Those in the latter category are typified by the use of language and terms that are foreign to outsiders.

The most important step you can take right now is to ask questions whenever you hear terms that are unfamiliar to you. If you fail to do so, you are going to fail, period.

You should also step back and take a careful look at the company itself. While there is nothing wrong if a company has its own terms and terminology, there is a real problem when no steps are taken to familiarize new hires with this unique language. The situation is easy for a company to correct, such as through an orientation program, a mentoring program, or even with something as basic as a glossary. The fact that the company uses none of these raises real questions.

As you learn the lingo, you should suggest to the powers that be that the company take extra steps to help new hires with this issue. The companyís action or inaction in response will say more than words.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!