Legal and HR Jargon
What Jargon Annoys You?
Let’s face it, we all have pet hates when it comes to jargon and terminology. Lawyers use it all the time, and it is usually a big gripe that lawyers write in a style of language which is hard to understand. We’ve all come across Legal and HR Jargon too often.
Actually, that is less true these days than it used to be. Most lawyers I know are now careful to write correspondence to clients in plain English, and try to explain difficult concepts in language their clients will understand. But when it comes to legal documents, all too often lawyers go back to archaic and old-fashioned legalese, full of long sentences replete with double negatives. If you have tried to read a property Lease, you will know what I mean.
The great thing is that it is easy to blame the Americans for some of our horrible terminology. In my field of employment law, the term “human resources” has sadly taken hold (although thankfully it is made somewhat more palatable by the generic term “HR”). But we just need to think of terms like “Chief Executive Officer”, “President” and “Vice President”, “reach out”, “core competency”, “going forwards”, “buy-in”, “empower”, “blue-sky thinking”. Ugh.
Another one of my pet hate terms is “Corporate Social Responsibility”. This is the whole area devoted to making companies look like they have a conscience and care about society at large (rather than just profit, shareholders and directors’ bonuses). But Corporate Social Responsibility sounds like you are trying too hard to be good, the focus being on the `corporate’ element rather than `social responsibility’. Could we not come up with something better – how about “What We Do to Help Others”?
That said, it is only a term of language and really I should get over it. Lots of companies do many good activities and try to benefit society at large, and so what if they get a bit of good PR and kudos out of it?
And on that note, I am joining in the Corporate Social Responsibility activity of none other than Deloitte. They organise an annual Ride Across Britain challenge, and I will be cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats in a 9 day haul this September, with approximately 1000 other cyclists.
It is going to be tough, but I’m thoroughly looking forward to it and have – temporarily – embraced the MAMIL fraternity. But the important ‘social responsibility’ bit is that most of us will be raising money for various charities, and I am pleased that I will be raising money for the MS Society.
If you would like to donate to my justgiving page you can do so here.
And if I and many others can raise a decent amount of money for good causes, I’ll happily put up with any amount of jargon.
(c) Ben Thornber, Thornber HR Law