Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Words from the Post-College, Adult Land

Since I started working a real job, I've noticed a new kind of vernacular...

I vaguely recall the booming voice of my dean at the first section of the class that was requirement for all incoming freshman. "And you will learn to speak this new language called adult." He meant we'd stop using the word "like" incorrectly and sound less like a valley-based high school soap.

But there really is an adult world vocabulary and I've decided to start a list of post-college words here:

The third definition from dictionary.com seems most appropriate:
3. power or ability to act or to influence people, events, decisions, etc.; sway: Being the only industry in town gave the company considerable leverage in its union negotiations.
Often times people talk about leveraging things as if to say they're using X experience to get Y result--I mean to say that the goal is as important as the thing being leveraged in adult speak. It makes me feel like I'm playing on a teeter toter.

This definition from dictionary.com seems most relevant:
1. Economics Relating to or involving all stages from production to sale: vertical integration.
But I think people use the word verticals and mean potential business leads in adjacent spaces (not necessarily on the production to sale track). I think of Vertical Horizon, the one hit wonder from when I was in high school.

This word compliments of my friend Josh, who recently graduated from Boston University. Graduating from BU and debt seem to go hand in hand, but debt does seem to be a sickeningly adult phenomenon. The only thing you can incur debt for as a kid is overdue library books... Welcome to life--pay up!

Feel free to add your own in the comments section. I'll add more as I think of them too...


Sandy said...

Bandwidth-- How could I have forgotten this one?

Bandwidth is that wonderful word that means:
1. The numerical difference between the upper and lower frequencies of a band of electromagnetic radiation, especially an assigned range of radio frequencies.
2. The amount of data that can be passed along a communications channel in a given period of time.

In professionalisms, bandwidth refers to the amount of time available for productivity in a day. "Do you have the bandwidth to finish this project?"

mdy said...

One term that I find funny (being in Asia) is how some American friends now use "Ping" to mean getting in touch or to touch base.

For example: "I'll ping you next week to finalize our lunch venue."

Since I have a technology background, the first definition I learned for "Ping" meant something else... which, when you think about it, is also funny, since "Ping" means something else yet again when we talk about SONAR.

Amanda Gravel said...

I'm graduating from BU in December... Any advice on how to NOT experience the post-college debt phenomenon?

Another word I have been hearing whispered all around me in a sinister-sounding voice lately is "bills." Very scary stuff...

Adulthood, here I come!