What do you do?
That used to be an easy question: a simple icebreaker when meeting new people. Now though, it’s more complicated.
First of all, since the economic crisis, people are understandably wary about asking the question, as we’re more aware of the fact that the answer might be nothing.
Second, for a lot of people who do have something that they do, it can be a hard to specify exactly what it is.
I want to take a little break from looking at language for this evening. Actually, I had tried to write something about language. I tried to write the post I’d mentioned yesterday: I wanted to start with the word English, and then let my phone choose which words would follow. I was hoping for some mad Dadaist poem, but was somewhat disappointed it was just recreating whole sentences from my blog or from emails. But then, having a look at my blog dashboard, and looking at other blogs, I decided to write about what I like about blogging. And when I started thinking about it, I realised I could write a lot, so I decided to focus on one aspect of the blogging experience: the statistics.
This phrase is one that’s become increasingly common in business emails in the last couple of years. Basically, it just means get back to me or reply to me. For example:
Revert back to me when you’ve finished the report.
Find out what time they want to have the meeting, then revert back to me when it’s been organised.
It’s part of the strange new world of business jargon: blue-sky thinking, move the needle etc. And while a lot of these short-lived buzzwords can be annoying, revert back to me tends to be the focus of particular anger. The main reason for that is because the word is basically being used incorrectly. Revert means to change to a previous state or action. So for example, someone might revert to a childlike state after a traumatic incident. A werewolf, with the passing of the full moon, might revert to its human state. It’s basically similar to return, but is more specifically similar to transform back. So what someone’s saying when they use revert back to me is transform back into me. Well, I never actually was you in the first place, so that’d be pretty hard! Continue reading