Human Resources and Workforce

Workplace Buzzwords by the U.S. Dictionary You May Missed Out Last Year

Understanding the workplace buzzwords comes with several perks. It helps us to communicate better, connect with the team, and showcase professionalism. Also, being aware of the phrases commonly used in your workplace fosters a sense of belonging and aids in networking. It is particularly important for leaders to manage change. In this dynamic environment, knowing the current workplace language is not just about fitting in but about thriving and contributing effectively to the professional landscape.

Shift Shock

Shift shock is when new employees feel surprised, disappointed, or regretful after they begin a new job. Kathryn Minshew, CEO and co-founder of The Muse, defined shift shock as the sensation someone experiences when beginning a new job and discovering, with either surprise or regret, that the role or company differs significantly from what they were initially told or expected.

Rage Applying

Rage applying is when employees apply for too many jobs at once because they’re frustrated with their current job. This happens when they feel burnt out, bored, annoyed or even unappreciated. Hence, they want a better opportunity. However, when people rage apply, they might not think much about the companies or roles they’re applying for. This is why some rage-applying doesn’t usually work well. Job seekers might find that the opportunities they apply for aren’t what they really want.

Chaotic Working

Chaotic working refers to a workplace that is messy, unpredictable, and doesn’t have clear rules. It can also mean employees expressing their dissatisfaction by being overly nice to customers or coworkers. This might include giving discounts or benefits, not because they care about good service but because they no longer worry about getting in trouble. It can also be a way for employees to protest against authority without directly challenging it.


Resenteeism is when employees stay at a job even if they are not happy with it. It happens when people feel stuck, frustrated, or don’t like their job. They might do the minimum and feel unappreciated. Signs include not displaying company branding and skipping events they used to go to. They might even appear mentally elsewhere despite being physically present in the office. Resenteeism can harm relationships between employees and employers.

Bare Minimum Mondays

While Monday blues is when someone attends work with a lower spirit, bare minimum Mondays is where employees do the least amount of work on Mondays to avoid feeling overwhelmed. It is to reduce stress and prevent burnout. It can include attending only important meetings, starting the day with self-care, taking breaks from emails, setting lower expectations, taking more breaks, and only completing essential tasks for the day. Many companies have adopted this trend as it improves employee morale and productivity.

Boomerang Employees

A boomerang employee is someone who quits a job at a company and later comes back to work there. People become boomerang employees for various reasons, like finding a new job, handling personal matters, gaining experience elsewhere, missing the company’s atmosphere, or being excited about its new direction. The advantage of boomerang employees is that they can benefit a company by getting up to speed quickly, but they may also resist changes in how things are done, company policies, and leadership.

Career Cushioning

Also known as recession-proofing, career cushioning is like building a safety net for job security. To do this, employees could learn new skills, check job listings regularly, apply for new jobs, attend networking events and keep their resumes and LinkedIn profiles up-to-date. Other than that, they could try to explore jobs in stable companies, start a side business, and think about how their skills and interests can lead to different career paths. Career cushioning is a way to prepare for unexpected career challenges, creating a safety cushion around your professional life.

Quiet Hiring

Quiet hiring is a strategy that companies use to gain new skills and meet business needs without hiring full-time employees. Rather than openly advertising job positions, organizations may train and reassign current employees to fill skill gaps, hire independent employees for specific tasks, fill job openings without publicly announcing them, and look for talent within the company and rely on recommendations from existing employees. However, it could prevent the inclusion of new employees, burnout and overworking.

Quiet Quitting and Loud Quitting

Quiet quitting and loud quitting are two ways employees leave their jobs. Quiet quitting happens when employees do the bare minimum to keep their jobs. This may involve not actively participating in meetings, refusing to work overtime, and having more absenteeism. On the other hand, loud quitting occurs when employees leave their jobs in a public manner. This could involve announcing their resignation online. They are seen as actively undermining an organization’s goals and leaders. It is suggested that they may be expressing dissatisfaction with inequities in the workplace, aiming to improve their rewards or benefits.

Lazy Girl Jobs

A “lazy girl job” is a term created by TikToker Gabrielle Judge in 2023. It refers to a comfortable office job that is not too challenging, pays well, and allows employees to quit without making a fuss. This is due to the pressure of working hard, the trend of people resigning from their jobs, and concerns about mistreatment of workers. The characteristics of the jobs are that they require minimal effort, have a good work-life balance, have decent pay and benefits and could be done remotely. Examples of roles include customer success manager, marketing associate, digital marketing executive, and account manager. It has gained popularity on social media, with many sharing their experiences of switching to jobs that offer better work-life balance.

Copycat Layoffs

It happens when a company decides to let go of some of its employees when a competitor also do the same thing. This makes it seem like layoffs are a common trend in the entire industry. Stanford University professor Jeffrey Pfeffer points out that some companies even lay off employees they recently hired, even after paying them bonuses for joining. When the economy gets better, these companies might try to hire new talent again, competing with the same companies they laid off employees with. He adds that this is the reason behind the large-scale firings in the tech and media industries in 2022 and 2023.

Staying attuned to workplace buzzwords is more than just a language exercise; it’s a valuable skill that enhances communication and fosters a positive work culture. Whether leaders or employees are aiming for effective collaboration, networking, or leadership, understanding the current language trends in the workplace will position oneself for career success.

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