I think I work in a jargon-loving office. My coworkers are always throwing around phrases like “I don’t have enough bandwidth” and “that’s definitely in my wheelhouse.” Honestly, I hear these types of phrases so often that I sometimes forget that they’re office jargon. A couple weeks ago, I used the term “bandwidth” when talking to my boyfriend, and he was completely confused.

So just in case you work in an office that isn’t quite so enamored with jargon, I thought some definitions might come in handy. Here’s a list of some of the phrases that you might encounter, and what they mean:

Phrase When Would You Use It? Example
Not enough bandwidth When you’re too busy to take on a new task “I don’t have the bandwidth for this project.”
In my wheelhouse When something is within your area of expertise “This trivia challenge is totally in my wheelhouse!”
Bleeding edge When the terms “cutting-edge” or “state-of-the-art” just aren’t enough and you want to take it a step further “This new technology is bleeding edge!”
Put a record on and see who dances When you want to try something out and see what happens (similar to the phrase “run it up the flagpole”) “I’m not sure how people will react to this new product, so let’s just put a record on and see who dances.”
Boil the ocean When you think something is impossible “Bob, don’t boil the ocean. You know you can’t get all that work done in two weeks.”
OOTO and OOO When you’re too tired to type out the words “out of the office” (OOTO) or “out of office” (OOO) “I’m OOTO. Be back on Tuesday.”
All-hands When everyone is expected to participate “We’re going to be holding an all-hands meeting.”
Circle back When you intend to check up on something at a later date “I’ll circle back with you on that report you’re writing.”
Pain point When there’s a problem or challenge “What are the pain points on this project?”


2018 Business Jargon and What It Really Means. (2018, March 20). In Unum. Retrieved from: https://www.unum.co.uk/hr/2018-business-jargon-and-what-it-really-means

Brenoff, A. (2018, July 20). Your handy 2018 guide to officespeak. Huffington Post. Retrieved from:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/guide-to-officespeak_us_5b50b6bae4b0de86f48ac4c2