The only thing that annoys me more than jargon is the perennial articles that tell me how much other people are annoyed by jargon.
I've seen stories about how much people hate the phrase 'thinking outside the box' for literally decades.
The thing is, I love this phrase. And here's why. It actually means something:
"The notion of something outside a perceived "box" is related to a traditional topographical puzzle called the nine dots puzzle. The origins of the phrase "thinking outside the box" are obscure; but it was popularized in part because of a nine-dot puzzle, which John Adair claims to have introduced in 1969."
Thank you Wikipedia by the way. One of my other favourites: 'Paradigm shift'. Yes, once again, it has real meaning: "a fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a scientific discipline". It gets misused, but blame the speaker, not the words. (Hat tip Wikipedia once more).
The other reason I love 'thinking outside the box' is that it stresses one of the reasons that humanity in the workplace will long survive the rise of automation and AI.
Puzzle solving, lateral thinking, contextualisation. All these qualities are what makes us better than the machines.
In addition, the last time I was asked to solve the nine-dot puzzle, I did so with the help of the team I was working with at the time. Collaboration in other words.
And guess what. That's another skill that you, me and our fellow carbon-based life forms have that our silicon co-workers will never enjoy. Thinking outside the box? It's going on my next t-shirt.
"Jargon is often used for what economists call 'signaling' in the workplace. Expensive packaging for products sends a signal that what is inside is high quality. The latest business buzzwords are supposed to send a signal that the person using them is an up to date expert. Using buzzwords can make you look like you are an expert in an area you are not. It is easier to copy the language than to understand the deep knowledge behind it. Also we want to appear up appear as if we are up to date. By using the latest buzzwords, we [show] that we are 'keeping up' - even thought our practices may not have changed. They can also signal you are part of the tribe. If everyone talks about 'thinking outside the box', using that phrase shows that you fit in.