Occasionally, when reading a blog, I come across an unfamiliar word or phrase. These words may be commonplace in their home country, but practically unheard of in this country. Two unfamiliar words came to my notice recently.
The first word – jobsworths - appeared in an English blogger’s post. Even in the context of its use in the post, which I understood was connected with local government employees, I still couldn’t figure it out. I had no idea and searched with the help of that know-it-all, Google, for a definition.
The jobsworth definition is as follows:
An official who upholds petty rules, even at the expense of humanity or common sense.
Now I can see how this descriptor might fit any number of people employed in local government, both here in this country and in England. Extending this thought a little further, I can think of at least two people I know, who would qualify as jobsworths. They are quite fixed in their thinking and would stick to the letter of the law, whether it is a local government by-law or any other law.
The second word appeared in a comment box and came from an American: America is a Steeple country.
What? Is this meant to be read as America being a country of churches with steeples, whose congregations are people who might fit the description of the conservative religious right?
Wrong! Nothing to do with churches at all.
Further investigation reveals STEEPLE is an acronym for Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, Legal and Ethical.
It’s an acronym used for business planning to see how well a new business proposal might fit within the acronym framework; a step up from the old SWOT analysis which has been around for quite some time. It looks in more detail at factors which may decide whether a business proposition is worth proceeding with or abandoning or perhaps tweaking certain aspects to make it fit the formula.
I do not know what other countries use as this acronym for business planning; maybe STEEPLE is used internationally, although Americans claim it as their own.
I’ll forget the acronym in less time than it takes to put these words down but I will remember jobsworth, as it represents a type of person; people, and their behaviour, fascinate me.
|Church- with Steeple|
Bathurst NSW Circa: November 2006