In Teddy Wayne’s Kapitoil, the main character, Karim, is a young financial wizard who arrives in New York City from Qatar in 1999. As you can imagine, it’s not exactly the smoothest transition—though it is quite hilarious. Imagine being dropped into your current job from a completely different world. Aside from learning to actually do your job, one of the hardest things might be, as it is for Karim, learning the utterly bizarre business jargon of the corporate world. Just here at Harper Perennial, which is not even as corporate-y as many places, we have mysterious acronyms like POS and ISIS and DAM and CTB. Other examples, used in complete sentences, include:
What will the cost delta be if we’re engaged further?
I’ll be OOP [out of pocket] tomorrow, so if folks on the line have any questions, they should query now.
Do any parts of the project dovetail given the tight timeline?
So, in celebration of both the ridiculousness of corporate America and Kapitoil (and Teddy’s participation in the McSweeney’s reading in LA tonight and his reading in SF on thursday), we’re running a contest! Please comment with the most arcane, absurd, and utterly useless business jargon you’ve ever heard in your office. Make sure to tell us what it means (I can’t decipher some of this stuff on my own). The ones that Teddy and Harper Perennial think are the most bizarre will win their authors signed copies of Kapitoil as well as some other Harper Perennial books to be determined later, as well as a post on this blog extolling their glory. Go to it!