Jewish World Review Nov. 29, 2000 / 2 Kislev, 5761
One must keep up with the times.
Everybody who is anybody.com is now a provider of solutions. People who used to work for the phone company now provide communications solutions. People who two years ago built network machinery now provide networking solutions.
I don't know why this happened. Maybe it's the kind of phrase made up by people who refuse to see difficulties when there are only opportunities. Who see the glass as half- full, not half- empty. Who make lemonade when life hands them lemons. Who accept challenges where others only see problems.
In other words, the self-deluded.
For some reason, this is particularly true of high-tech companies. The kind that supply Internet solutions, Windows-based software solutions and data- management solutions.
I don't mean to sound like the Noun Police, but none of these phrases makes it past the Daddy-what-do-you-do-at-work test. To pass, one should be able to imagine oneself repeating the job description to a kid. For example:
"Daddy, what do you do at work?"
"Well, Ashley, I provide high-touch, staff-actualizing business solutions for real-time modern workplace enhancement."
Most solution providers fail the Daddy-what-do-you-do-at-work test. Most fail the straight-face test. Nevertheless, get used to job descriptions like these:
Why is this kind of corporate happy-speak so infectious?
A generation ago, people used the word "engineer" to embellish job descriptions. We read of sanitation engineers, smiled knowingly, and wished they wouldn't bang around the metal garbage cans. Now "solutions" provides the same kind of solution.
One of the more pervasive ways language is debased is when people are handed a vocabulary that forces them to say things they don't really believe. Language that drafts the user into the sales force. There's a level of happy talk that makes people unhappy. Or at least cynical. Solution-providing comes very close to that.
Debasement of language is a hard thing to stop. Particularly when it makes a person feel just a little more important in the office. It imparts the sense of being a little more 21st century. A little more a part of the workplace of the future.
What is to be done? Don't ask me, I'm just the content provider.
You need to ask a solution