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Words and phrases born of recession may stay with us

Pay cuts, pay freezes and job losses have in the past 2 ½ years sent a lot more people scrounging for coupons and other cost-saving deals.

Someone pointed me to www.coupon sherpa.com — clever name, that — which carries a load of online coupon information.

The site also provides links to articles, and I happened on this one a while ago:

"25 Recessionista Slang Terms You Need To Know."

I occasionally write columns blasting business buzzwords, those irritating words that pepper the workplace. Sadly, I admit defeat in the war against many of them.

Paradigm, synergy, actionable and change catalyst appear destined to plague us forever, without telling listeners much about what the speaker intends to convey other than the ability to spout multiple syllables that sound important.

So let's take a fun foray instead into words born from double-digit unemployment and wage stagnation. They're not buzzwords yet, but they have a dose of cleverness that suggests longevity.

By now, everyone's heard of staycations — when you can't afford an out-of-town trip. And the notion of permatemping has entered the vernacular; there's even labor law about it.

But did you know that you can be decruited when a job offer is withdrawn before you've begun to work?

That's as opposed to getting a job-job — new lingo for a "real" job — full time, with benefits.

Some applicants are having trouble landing job-jobs because they have job stoppers — tattoos, piercings, purple hair or whatever a prospective employer finds objectionable.

Those of us who have jobs but may be required to take unpaid furloughs have a new way to describe the time off: We're taking fakations.

At least that gives us freedom to surf the Web for recession porn. Keep your clothes on: That's the term for an obsession with blogs, articles, charts and graphs about the economic downturn.

The economy has been looking up, though, and consumer spending has grown — which potentially means more moneymoons — the "period between making a purchase and the onset of buyer's remorse."

Better we should all be frugalistas and be careful spenders in the first place.

Oh, for the good old days of prairie dogging, when you'd find a sea of heads popping up above cubicle partitions at the mention of free food.

We don't need recession porn to show us that many of those cubicles aren't populated anymore. And, in many workplaces, the free food awaits a comeback — unless we bring it ourselves.

Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at the Kansas City Star.

Words and phrases born of recession may stay with us 06/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 18, 2010 6:55pm]
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