Wise Counsel

Wise Counseling

Jargon is a help until it's not

Let me offer a modest defense of jargon.  The code phrase and acronyms we use and hear daily can help speed our understanding.  And that can be worth money and time.

Just as symbols and sirens help guide us on a journey or away from the rocks, the phrases freighted with meaning like "Amber Alert" or acronyms that impute authority like the FAA or, more recently, USMNT, help us better understand our world.

The danger is an over-reliance on these codes, particularly when we don't know whether those that can hear us have the same grounding.  As a result, jargon is no longer grease for our gears, but a bit of sand.  This is when jargon works to exclude and limit the conversation.

Some of this is unavoidable.  Very technical or specific professions develop a language that helps get the conversation moving.  Mostly technical but expanding into the social sciences, it is often hard for outsiders to locate the glossary.

When our approach to our professional lives begins to affect our personal ones, we can do something about.  We can work to speak is a more human and globally understandable way.

Who knows, if we do a good job personally, it may begin to influence our work lives.  If jargon arose as an aid to understanding and productivity, perhaps clarity can have the same effect.


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