WhyWork® Podcast | Professional adult content | Sponsored by ViVA health at work

The WhyWork Vocabulary

Capability – the magical skill of convincing your computer that you know what you’re doing, even when you are randomly clicking buttons and sounding busy.

Capacity – the maximum amount of coffee that one can consume before achieving a perfect state of caffeinated enlightenment or spontaneous combustion, whichever comes first.

Caretaker – the unsung multitasking maestro in the organisation who is responsible for juggling the chaos of their working life and others, juggling project chaos with the finesse of a circus performer.  

Caselaw – the ultimate fireplace stories for legal nerds and work design aficionados where judges profile their storytelling skills, turning mundane disputes into epic sagas with plot twists and drama. They permit the confluence of sociopolitcal forces and the occasional cameo appearances of obscure Latin phrases. Caselaw can affront our sensibilities and remind us of instances of a reality when the shit hits the fan.

Celebration – the forum where we all pretend that calories do not count for a day because there is cake.

Cha-Cha – the dance you perform around the office when you avoid the extra work assignments.

Chief – the chief cat herder, organising a class of entities that are inherently uncontrollable and wicked.

Client – the person who miraculously knows exactly what they want but only after they asked for something else and you’ve delivered on that. Also, the person who has asked for something vague that required your help to shape and define the problems so that they could articulate their needs, while you secretly wish that you could get paid like a lawyer for that advisory service.

Coffee – a magical elixir that turns “I can’t” into, “I can… after this cup.”

Coalesce – when diverse ideas come together like introverts in a social gathering, realising that they’re all a little ‘special’ in their own way.

Colleague – a fellow inmate in the office prison; someone that you pretend to like for the sake of workplace harmony, or at least until the coffee machine runs out.

Collusion – when two people decide to be naughty together and hope that nobody finds out.

Commute – the daily ritual of convincing yourself that sitting in traffic can be either meditative or productive (when it is neither).

Compartmentalise – the superpower of being able to separate work stressors from weekend relaxation, at least until its Monday morning again.

Competence vs Confidence – the eternal battle between knowing what you are doing and pretending to know what you are doing.

Composure – the art of looking serene and unfazed while internally calculating how many hours until the weekend starts.

Concoct – The art of creating something delectable or disastrous, depending on your level of courage.

Conference Call – the convenient way to transform a 5-minute task into a 45-minute meeting with 25 follow-up actions and three weeks of activity.

Confrontation – the awkward dance of truth where nobody really knows the steps, and someone’s toes always get stepped on.

Conjurer – a magician, who when asked about how a work concern has been resolved responds with a dazzling distraction.

Consultation – the forum in which everyone talks, no one listen, and, afterward, everyone does what they originally intended to do or prefer anyway.

Context – the magical force that turns a seemingly innocent scenario into a potential disaster.

Contravention – the act of doing precisely what you were told not to do, just to see what happens.

Cooee – the polite way to get attention in Australian bird language.

Coworkers – the person who steals your pens, snacks, and, occasionally, your sanity.

Creative block – when deadlines are due, and your brain decides to take an unannounced vacation.

Croissant – a flaky, buttery excuse to have dessert for breakfast without judgment, and the bread that was broken during the genesis of the idea for the WhyWork Podcast.

Crystallise – when an idea goes from being a vague thought to a full-blown, “A-HA!” moment, usually accompanied by the sound of mental bells ringing.

Cubicle – the modern adult playpen where creativity goes to die.

Cultivate – the delicate art of growing relationships or excuses for why you did not finish your work on time.

Cunning – not to be confused with ‘stunning’ or ‘stunts’, the ability to convince everyone that you are innocent, even when the cookie jar is empty and there are crumbs on your chin.

Curate – pretending that you are an expert by carefully selecting attractive artefacts or desirable resources and organising them as though they make perfect sense when they sit all together.

Curmudgeon – one with skin of crust, known for joints that creak, fluent in the language of ‘grumblese’ and possessing a black belt in sarcasm. Often found shaking fists at the sky, proclaiming, “Back in my day…” with a side vintage of grumpiness.

Custodian – the official title of the most protective person in the organisation, keeper of petty cash, holiday  champagne budgets, Friday coffee cake contributions, and photocopying paper. 

Magnificent – the state of being so spectacularly impressive that even the peacocks in the room pause to take note.

Maintenance – surgery on a budget, propped by tools like duct tape and the hopes that noone notices the rattling noises coming from the eqiupment when resources are constrained and time is money!

Majestic – the feeling you get when successfully completing the contemporary art of internet-order furniture assembly while filming the process to post on your social media influencer feeds (also a term in the S-words: ‘Shallow’).

Margins – the elusive gap between revenue and expenses that management insists on widening, akin to chasing after a unicorn with a calculator while populating your presentation material with optimistic, upward-arrow graphs and projections.

Maverick – the work colleague who insists on pivoting, changing momentum, and reinventing the wheel during team projects to feed their need for whirlwind chaos and confusion, with everyone navigating the upheaval and the waves in their wake.

Melancholy – the feeling you get when you realise that the only thing that you’ve accomplished today is mastering the art of procrastination.

Memeology – the rapidly evolving field of workplace communication, where important announcements and reactions to news are conveyed through hieroglyphics of GIFs, emojis, acronyms, and obscure social media phenom, leaving older-generation colleagues utterly bewildered. See S04 E01: The Gif Gal and the Emoji Man .

Mentorship – the art of guiding new team members through a labyrinthine maze of office politics and power influences, whispered gossip, and action planning defense strategy when filtering meeting invitations and email provocations.

Merger – a coporate version of a shotgun wedding, in which two companies hastily join forces, hoping to merge culture, combine strengths, and marry in harmony to outweigh the awkward integration of the extended family, and the inevitable arguments of custody over things like who gets the office dog. This is characterised by another M-word, ‘mess.’

Meticulous – the art of arranging your sock drawer by colour, texture, and emotional significance, while simultaneously avoiding doing any ‘real work.’

Metrics – arbitrary widgets counted by management to quantify productivity and qualify their intiatives to the C-Suite and executive boards, even when their fabrication is laced with magic and shrouded in the hustle and finesse of shell games.

Microbreaks – Brief respites from the relentless grind of corporate life, typically spent staring blankly into space while pretending to consume the latest company-wide e-literature on the importance of synergy and engagement.

Micromanager – a creature descended from the depths of bureaucratic nightmares, whose primary goal is to cause you inconvenience and scrutinise ever detail of your work, derail your achievements, and diminish your sense of worth.

Milestones – small victories well met by teams with obligatory cake, awkward high-fives, and congratulatory dribble despite the collective relentless march toward existential angst.

Milestoneitis – a contagion characterised by obsessing the pursuit of arbitrary goals solely for the purpose of updating one’s social media profile (also a term in the S-words: ‘Shallow’).

Mischievous – your cat’s behaviour when it decides that your keyboard is the perfect spot for a spontaneous dance party mid work team video calls.

Mission – a grandiose proclamation plasters on the coffee break walls and stalls of the company loos, serving as a daily reminder to workers that world peace is resolved by their productive sales of office supplies.

Monday – the weekday designed to remind you that drudgery awaits and the organisational social jockeying positions must resume.