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Sweden’s worst office clichés revealed

Sweden's worst office clichés revealed
Can't keep up with the boss and her new vocab? File: Shutterstock
"We have to hit the brakes and the gas at the same time." Does your Swedish boss confuse you? You're not alone. Swedes have crowned that phrase as the worst workplace cliché of the year.

Clichés mingled quite freely with rather hard to interpret phrases on the annual list of "floskler" (meaningless phrases). Being told to speed up and slow down at the same time (Vi måste gasa och bromsa samtidigt) has really got a lot of office workers' goat, however (excuse the cliché).

"We've pulled our hair out trying to figure this one out," said Anders Lundgren, who submitted the winning phrase to the white-collar trade union Vision, which compiles the annual inane office banter list.

Vision's member magazine, on announcing this year's call for entries, defined 'floskler' as "more or less meaningless phrases that sully the language". 

Other lofty statements on the list were:

"Vi har högt i tak", which roughly translates to a workplace fostering a free-speech culture.

"Det gäller att se möjligheterna, inte hindren" – "You have to see the possibilities, not the obstacles".

READ ALSO: Guide to dealing with your Swedish boss in Swedish

Vision's magazine argued that bosses were to blame for the flood of inanities in the Swedish workplace.

"They spread new phrases and metaphors around them backed by smooth-talking consultants," the writer noted. "Soon everyone starts talking about 'tailoring your suit' and the 'inner compass' and soon these phrases lose all meaning."

Several other phrases made it onto the list.

"Kraftsamla utifrån en helhetssyn" – 'Gather strength from the bigger picture'

"Genomlysning av verksamheten" – "Review of the business", although it's more poetic, like the bosses pick up a torch and a monocle to go scour for clues to what's not working in the office.

Bosses talking about transparency and flexibility were also on the list of phrases that sound good but mean little.

Do you have examples of workplace banter which means little or might even leave you confused? Let us know in the comments field below.

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