CHARLOTTE, NC—During what was described to them as "a look-forward meeting to discuss and evaluate the company's event-chain methodology," MediaLine employees stood with mouths agape Wednesday as they witnessed the very moment at which project manager James Atkins attained complete mastery over the fine art of meaningless corporate doublespeak.
According to his awed coworkers, Atkins' usage of vacuous administrative jargon reached an almost mythical apex with the pre-lunchtime announcement, during which a string of expertly crafted drivel rolled off the 28-year-old's tongue with the confidence of a seasoned executive.
"Due to the increased scope of the project vis-à-vis Tuesday's meeting, compounded with our aforementioned desire to maintain quality without increasing cost, an as-yet indeterminate amount of time will be allocated to our newest venture," Atkins said without once stuttering. "You should all be proud of the amount of effort and energy you have put forth thus far, and can be certain the project's conclusion will become more apparent as the tasks become increasingly more finite."
Atkins then told the stunned boardroom, "I look forward to partying with you all when the work is done," and concluded the meeting by saying he had to "step out." After they had regained their senses, his coworkers determined that this seemingly innocuous send-off was, in actuality, an attempt by Atkins to portray himself as a regular guy—a clever tactic that only further proved him to be a veritable wizard of ambiguous executive nonsense.
However, the magnitude of Atkins' achievement was only fully understood later, after employees finished sorting through the cloud of lilting bureaucratic bullshit that spewed forth from his mouth and deduced their project manager had just informed them that he had no idea when the new project would be completed, and no one would be receiving overtime pay.
"My God, just listen to him spin that empty administrative rhetoric into flaxen strands of gold," said a visibly stunned Tim Rosen, one of the company's head market researchers. "The fact that he could come in here and talk to us like that is…. Well, I'm speechless."
MediaLine president Brian Morrow was among the first to recognize Atkins for his newly achieved mastery of corporate gibberish. After years of directing Atkins to a large binder whenever he asked for tips on speaking with employees, Morrow said he knew his protégé had become a true virtuoso of business jargon when he witnessed Atkins enter the conference room with a newly acquired clipboard and ask a group of adults to participate in a "targeted brainstorm."
According to Morrow, Atkins is now closer than ever to receiving a promotion after confidently relaying the message that employees needed to "focus on diversifying the brand"— a masterful phrase of managerial gobbledygook devoid of any significant content that Morrow admits he himself doesn't fully understand and is unable to deliver convincingly.
"We are very impressed that James has made great strides to elaborate in this solution-oriented manner so as to more adequately harness heightened executive verbiage when such platitudes aren't necessarily mission critical," Morrow told reporters. "That's what we desire from those managers who are employed by, work for, touch base with, and attain biweekly compensation from, MediaLine. If he keeps up this outside-the-box thinking, and continues to focus on diversifying the brand, perhaps there could be a position opening up for him here at corporate."
When Atkins first joined MediaLine as a young market researcher in 2003, he was reportedly inept at using such inane administrative buzzwords and phrases. Sources close to him said he "spoke like a normal person" and wasn't even sure he wanted to enter the field of marketing. He only applied for the company's project manager position, colleagues said, because the increased salary would offer him a better chance to pay off college loans.
"When he first took the job two years ago, he told me, 'They're putting me in charge of making sure that stuff gets done,'" art assistant Kyle Bovard said. "That's why I was amazed when I overheard him on the phone yesterday describing his position as 'a facilitator tasked with developing predictable increments that are intricately tied to benchmarks, milestones, and completion dates.'"
"I don't know how somebody even begins to talk like that," Bovard added.
When asked to comment on his recent success, Atkins responded in a one-line e-mail, stating, "FYI ETA TBD EOM."