Do You Fear What I Fear?
That wondrous time of year is here again when we put on our holiday finery, go to office parties, eat mutant cocktail weenies and participate in lively holiday chatter about our bottom lines. At least that's where the conversation usually ends up. Itís an unwritten rule.
Sure, our holiday party conversations start out with some playful banter like, "Gee, Bob, your bow tie with the light-up Rudolf sure looks whimsical!" But in a matter of minutes you'll overhear something like, "B.J. says that if growthwise we get any more negative, he's going to put my head in a shredder."
Itís likely that some of you will get caught in just such a boring business conversation ó the kind that causes your eyes to glaze over and puts you in the imminent danger of dozing off and drowning in the punch bowl. Not only would that put a damper on the party, but your insurance company probably wonít pay much for death from inhaled maraschinos. So, to help you through these dreaded holiday office parties, the Odd Parity Research Center and Festivity Survival Team has come up with a few helpful hints.
First of all, donít hang around in corners. Stand in the middle of the room and keep your mouth full at all times. Most people wonít start up a conversation with someone whoís attacking onion dip like itís their last meal. If you do get backed into a corner and find yourself trapped in a really mind-numbing debate, keep calm. The best way out of this jam is to maneuver the conversation to the most obscure topic you can think of. Even an ardent shop talker will wander off if they have absolutely no clue as to what youíre saying.
Those of you who write press releases, corporate speeches and technical articles will have no problem with this. But for all you poor souls who have no such experience in verbal haze making, Iíll pass on a few pointers. Try to hold off making a point for as long as you can by saying things like, "In all likelihood, if the numbers hold up and our thinking isnít blue sky, we see continued expectations of little or no developments on the far horizon. But donít tell anyone I said that." If you need any help with this one, watch a few political press conferences, especially on controversial topics. Hours of questions and answers can pass with no one making any sense at all.
It's also helpful to make up words. Sticking a meaningless ending on a word can go a long way if you really want to spout some gibberish. Endings like "ability" and "wise" are good for beginners. Non-words like "benchmarkability" and "designwise" have the power to cloud minds. For extra effect, use both endings for a grandaddy like profitabilitywise. Finally, use "robust functionality" as often as possible.
The next gambit could backfire, so be careful. Try to be more boring than anyone else in the group. Start talking about your job in minute detail. Drone on about your benefits, the problems you have loading your staple gun, the condition of your office furniture ó just donít stop. If you pause, even for an instant, someone could jump in and start about the lousy coffee at the office or the temperamental copy machine and youíll be nodding off. By the way, because of the sleep-inducing nature of this maneuver, it shouldnít be attempted near the punch bowl.
If all these tactics fail, itís time to get nasty. Start a sing-along, and be sure to lead off with ďThe Twelve Days of Christmas.Ē Somewhere around "eight maids-a-milking," people will start checking their watches, making excuses about baby-sitters and heading out the door.
By the way, itís possible that some of us might end up at the same party. If we stick together, we can skip the shop talk and do meaningful things like swap fruitcake recipes and freshen each otherís drinks. I'll be wearing a red and green plaid bow tie and a retro holiday pocket protector that says "Let me tell you about my database."
Come on over and say hi. Don't be afraid. Obfuscationwise, I have no robust functionality.
By Mike Donlin.
Mike does technical, marketing and creative wriiting for The Write Solution, his freelance business. He can help your company wend its way through the vagaries of the English language, and prides himself on his intimate knowledge of gerunds, semicolons and dipthongs. If you'd like Mike to pen a tome on a timely technical topic, you can reach him at email@example.com or 603-889-4955.
Reprinted from SOCcentral.com, your first stop for ASIC, FPGA, EDA, and IP news and design information.