Thursday, October 11, 2012

But Isn't That, Like, Where Astronauts Go?

The midterms that are looming next week remind me that I've now made it one-eighth of the way towards receiving my yuppie union card.

While I'm quite happy to be on that path, there are some ways in which I refuse to conform.  Whether the proper culprit is my relative age, my military background, my love for the English language, being a commuter at a non-commuter school, some combination of all of the above, or perhaps none of the above, I'm not entirely sure.  

I could write about 'hic-a-doo-la' "fun" events (die-hard Family Guy fans will know that reference) or about how I think a lot of people could use a dose of that "take your work but not yourself seriously" advice, but for now I just want to quickly write about the word "space." 

Almost from the day things got rolling, I began hearing the word 'space' thrown around quite loosely in places where I would've said something like 'industry' or 'field' or 'area.'  I don't think it was the word itself that bothered me (I'd like to think I canadapt to new usage and forms now and then!) but the pretentiousness with which it was used.

A quick Google search tells me I'm not alone.  First, from the blog "Polandia:"

Where it goes horribly wrong is with phrases like “reach out” or the current favourite, “space”. I was listening to a podcast, I think Harvard Business Review, and the lady being interviewed was using space so often it was genuinely hard to follow what she was saying. I forget the details but she would say something like “We were testing atheletes who were operating in the basketball space.”instead of saying “We were testing basketball players.” and as the interview went on it was clear that the word space, in its new role, had almost unlimited applications. I might have let this go as a one-off nutty professor moment but it has been cropping up with annoying regularity so it would be great to head this one off at the pass!

From "The Office Life:"

Space [n.]A consultant's designated area of expertise or focus. The term is normally used with some form of the verb 'play.' "Our SME plays in the outsourcing space."
Suggested by w3.
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Space [n.]A really douchey way to refer to a market or industry. "We're looking at full saturation in the tablet space by Q3."
Suggested by Corinne F.

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