Slang Smart

Don’t let your fellow coworkers or subordinate cube-monkeys make a fool out of you at work while your on the clock. They can save that for Happy Hour or the next company-wide celebration. Below are a few phrases to be aware of in case someone uses them on you with the hope it will go over your head instead of in your ears.

“What a 404!” If you’ve ever gotten a “404 Error Code” on your computer screen, you know exactly the type of people this phrase is referring to: A clueless coworker who can never be located — and is even harder to figure out.

“He learns best through assmosis.” This increasingly popular take on “osmosis” refers to the kind of professional who is better at butt-kissing than at completing spreadsheets. They usually don’t acknowledge what they’re doing until they’ve climbed to the top of the ladder.
“What a mouse potato!”
What do you get when you make a couch potato go out and get an office job? They get addicted to a different type of remote control and seek out more productive sources of entertainment at work and when they get home.
“My assistant was on dial-up today!”
Remember that annoying sign-on noise AOL used to make before it proudly announced “You’ve Got Mail”? Well, the time it took to complete the whole process back then would be really frustrating by today’s standards. Alas, some professionals still move at a snail’s pace…or on dial-up, as it were.
ID-10-T Error & PICNIC
The first one is an age-old I.T. joke that’s often used on tech-clueless people who continue to press the wrong key time after time. Take away the dashes and you have ID10T. PICNIC stands for “Problem In Chair, Not In Computer,” another jab at the computer’s operator.

Life Goes On
These are times of change for many of us. Often we try to hang on to what was, rather than risk going toward something new. My neighbor, Carlos, reminded me of how much growth and creativity can come from a time of change, even if we have to experience some discomfort and disquietude to get there. He shared his story with me, and inspired by it, I want to share it with you. Carlos came to this country to attend college, fully expecting to return home after graduation. Unforeseen political events made that return impossible. He married, built a business, and was raising his children in Miami. He appreciated all the goodness and comfort in his life. When his business declined due to factors beyond his control, he tried to hold on. At first he felt anxious and adrift as day after day loomed before him. Then something wonderful happened. He began to use this quiet time to ask himself what he really wanted to do for the rest of his life. He thought of his father and the family farm, of the land that he, of all his siblings, had loved so much. He began reading everything he could on modern farming and became excited about returning, just as his father was retiring. He dreamed of making the farm into something he always knew it could become. Ultimately, Carlos is grateful for the change and for the chance to begin anew, while he still has the energy and drive to reinvent himself. More importantly, there’s a lightness to him as he moves forward on his path. And that’s something we should all aim to accomplish in our own lives.

Robin Raina Benjamin, LCSW, PsyA, is a psychotherapist and modern psychoanalyst. She’s affiliated with Key Therapy which also provides: speech/language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, massage therapy, CPR classes and personal training. For more, visit or

Singing Success
Ok, so maybe these songs are only half motivational, but there’s something about them that will make you crack a smile even in the most stressful situations. Keep them on your I-Pod or download them as a ringtone at work. Whatever you do, learn the lyrics!

Fountains of Wayne: “Bright Future in Sales”
From the tipsy traveling for business to the new computer and the quick reading right before the big meeting, this hit comes from the same people who brought you Stacy’s Mom.




The Smiths: “Work is a 4-Letter Word”
Two four-letter words (Love & Work) unite to make some seriously memorable melodies with this classic that takes the notion of “going nowhere” somewhere.




Merle Travis:
“Sixteen Tons”
Whether your 16 tons are made of paper, presentations or PDFs, one thing’s certain: The weight can get to you, and professionally, lifting it will make you stronger.