What Say You?

I received my one year evaluation today. I have been with the company 5 years however I was promoted just over a year ago into a new position and this was my first evaluation in this position. Receiving the evaluation is a good thing, it means a raise. What bothers me is some of the feedback I received with the evaluation.

It seems that I have excellent communication skills, in fact it seems, possibly too good. They have asked me to use smaller, simpler words while speaking to people because some of my vernacular is to profound for many folks to understand. Really?!?!? When I questioned some of my peers, I was shocked to find that they indeed concur with the assessment! I have to admit this has really disturbed me. Pressure to cede intelligent conversation because someone doesn’t know the meaning of an occasional word is outrageous and embarrassing. Where are we going as a nation? If this is any indication of what is happening around the nation, it does not bode well for the future.

Rather than drawing down those whose vocabulary has expanded beyond our own, here’s an idea pull out a dictionary and Look It UP! I do mean a dictionary because today we are likely to just google it and forget it. If you go through the effort to get out a dictionary and look it up at least you have a 50% chance you will hold on to the meaning for more than thirty seconds. Good Grief!

Now the other feed back I received may indeed be a valid complaint… They say stop taking so long to say things, just get to the point and shut up.



About JT

I am a happily married man with 6 children and have an autoimmune disease. I hope to share my story and explore others' stories and perhaps together both of our lives will be enhanced.
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10 Responses to What Say You?

  1. The average reading level of Americans is between 8th and 9th grade, according to a recent report on NPR: http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/05/21/153024432/sophomoric-members-of-congress-talk-like-10th-graders-analysis-shows

    In addition, the conversational level of congressional discourse has dropped from 11th grade to 10th grade since 2005, with Republicans speaking at a lower level.

    So yeah, you use words like “vernacular,” so of course you got dinged. Performance reviews suck and what this decline says about the nation sucks.

    Congratulations on your good review and raise, and remember, no matter how good you do, your boss is required to list areas for improvement.

  2. Jennwith2ns says:

    Yeah, that’s a good point. I had to laugh because that paragraph is, shall we say, replete with “big words.” I get that kind of feedback a lot–and not in performance reviews!

    Fortunately Starbucks was great because most of the employees are starving artists so we all used big words, and the teenagers at church are brave enough to ask me what I’m talking about. The word thing can be very appealing, too, to the right people. It was one of the things that Paul and I found attractive about each other. πŸ˜‰

    • JT says:

      Yes, I am guilty of adding a couple of less used words, however I will say one example they gave me was: Say the word “Talk” instead of “Converse” which really floored me as I really didn’t consider converse a “big word” … Quick somebody send me a rolling the eyes emoticon πŸ™‚

      • Jennwith2ns says:


        I think part of the problem for wordies is not that people don’t actually understand us–it’s that they think we’re being snooty show-offs. “Converse” isn’t a big word, but it’s less to-the-point than “talk,” and therefore, in the current climate, show-offy.

      • JT says:

        I know what you mean, and I think that is part of the problem, they probably do think I am tying to be a “show-off” . I really just enjoy learning and expanding my vocabulary.

      • Jennwith2ns says:

        I think that’s usually the case. Although i can understand the perspective, too.

  3. I had a similar conversation like this 4 months ago and have to agree Really?!? Then I was told some people do not understand my sense of humor or three word sentences. Is there a Happy Medium??? I am not changing and will continue to be true to myself and the education I have earned. Be True To Yourself; Do Not Change Unless You WANT To!!! Have a Great Evening:)

    • JT says:

      Hi Renee, I am a bit conflicted because I don’t use “big words” because I am trying to sound smart or make people feel like I am somehow better than them. I just have the attitude that we should always embrace learning… it is how we grow as a people. I would hope if anything that it would spur on others to grow as well. Thanks for the affirmation πŸ™‚

  4. Donald Miller says:

    That’s why I have the lifelong learning center set up at WordExpress Weekly.

    I can’t quite agree with you JT. I think those of us who know have some obligation to help out others. No doubt there are those who do not want to be helped, but we can do it for them anyway. By this I mean that we can either choose another word or use an appositive statement.

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