Corporate Acronyms From ASAP to WFH

Many people fresh out of college are scared of the corporate world when first starting out in the job market. They mostly fear the new surroundings, that the work may be too hard, or perhaps they might not be cut out for the 9-to-5 slog. But what daunts some of them most is the corporate lingo. Especially the inscrutable, unintelligible acronyms that have invaded the corporate domain at every level. There is a three-letter word for everything, but don’t be scared. Our handy little list will help you out ASAP! Read on…

So this is what a typical response will look like from someone you have just wrote your painstakingly crafted two-page e-mail:


Dear sender,

I’m OOO till June 28th for PTO. I’ll respond SOB June 28, when I’ll start WFH. WBR, John Smith <eom>

WTH, you think to yourself… Oh, wait, no: you haven’t started thinking in acronyms just yet. You will though, trust us! So ICYMI, here’s a less brief explanation of this email:

John has left the office for his paid time off and will be back bright and early on June 28, but not at the office. Instead he’ll be working from the comfort of his own home. Then he sends his best regards and signs off, indicating where the message ends.

Did you get all of the above information just from his exceptionally condensed communiqué? No? Fret not. Let’s take it from the top, topic by topic:

Work-related acronyms:

Acronym… Stands for… And really means…
EOB end of business Put simply, the end of the working day for someone. It’s used instead of hours because many time zones and many companies have different daily working hours, and in many corporate settings employees decide when they show up, then leave 8 hours after that. „Deadline is EOB Tuesday” means you should deliver something before leaving work on Tuesday.
OOO out of office Put into the auto-responder feature of email this allows you to swiftly say you will not be working over a specific period of time, or have already left for the day.
OT overtime This is a shorthand for working longer than you normally do. Since in corporations nearly every day requires that, people have come up with a shorter version. Except it’s the same as „off topic” so use it sparingly!
PTO paid time off This is a leave you can take for which you are paid. A holiday, a day off etc.
SOB start of business Like EOB, except this is for the hour you normally start your work. It’s used in the same way as EOB.
WFH working from home A good way of saying you are not at the office, but are still working remotely. Especially useful as a status on Skype or other messengers.


  E-mail and communication-related acronyms:

Acronym… Stands for… And really means…
<eom> end of message This short acronym, usually enclosed in <> means that nothing follows. It’s useful when the email itself is empty, and all information you wanted to convey instead fit into just email subject. So the recipient need not even look inside the email!
AFK away from keyboard You type „AFK” when you are going for lunch, to the toilet or generally just briefly not at your computer. If you’re going out for longer, consider using BBL instead.
attn attention/attention of… In email subject or opening, use this followed by someone’s name and/or title to make sure the email reaches a specific person. This is useful for general mailboxes like etc.
BBL be back later Used mostly in gaming, BBL can sometimes appear in a business context as well. It simply means you won’t be back at your computer or desk very soon, it may take you even a couple of hours.
BCC blind carbon copy A useful feature of emails, BCC (you can also use it as a verb: to BCC someone) allows you to discreetly send a copy of some e-mail to someone (e.g. your boss) without the recipient of the e-mail knowing it.
BRB be right back Like BBL, BRB is mostly used in social and casual contexts. This one means you will be back quite soon.
CC/Cc carbon copy Another useful feature of emails, CC (also usable as a verb: CC me about something…) allows you to send a copy of the email to someone other than main recipient or recipients. The recipient(s) will see that and if they wish, they can also include these people when replying if they hit „reply to all” button when composing their return letter. CCing someone is not just a simple copy, as modern email systems are smart enough to automatically direct such email to specific inbox folders so that you are kept in the loop and can later see what went on in the email conversation, but are not inundated by all the emails as if you were the main recipient of them. Neat!
FW forward This is yet another email feature, and like both others, you can use it as a verb. „To FW the email to…” means simply to resend what you just received to new addressees, including all attachments, with a possibility to add your own thoughts or comments.
FYI for your information When you want to let someone know something ICYMI, but are even more strapped for time
ICYMI in case you missed it… This is a good reminder about something that someone should have seen or heard before, but perhaps needs a little jolt to their memory.
IM instant message, instant messaging or to instant-message someone Any type of chat or fast communication using computers, especially when messages are typed and not spoken aloud. Skype (or Lync, ICQ, Jabber etc.) are IMs.
OT off-topic In chat or IM, you say „OT” before stopping talking about relevant or important subject and interject something funny, not quite related to business etc.
PFA please find attached… A shorthand that allows you to efficiently signal that there’s an important file or other attachment to the email. This saves you the trouble of constantly deciding how to best phrase it in English! Is it „I have attached this file for you…” or „Please see the attached…”? Now you just write: PFA <document> and you’re all set!
re: reply or in regards to This is automatically inserted to email subjects when you respond, but you can also use it in a chat when you want to skip „in/with regard to…” or „regarding the topic of…”.
WBR with best regards, A cut-and-dried e-mail sign-off phrase, this one is usually best avoided in formal correspondence. Otherwise, just use „best,” followed by your initials or name.
WTH what to hell? A rather colloquial and slightly rude acronym that allows you to ask what is going on, expressing your disbelief or shock etc.


  Organizational acronyms:

Acronym… Stands for… And really means…
IC intra-company Anything that happens or is done by another department of the same company (as opposed to another business or a contractor).
Mgmt management A shorthand for upper level of the company hierarchy.
OHS occupational health and safety A very brief acronym to denote a very heavy topic: how not to die or get injured while working. It’s quite important, but OHS is OMG so boring!
Ops operations A shorthand for the company’s day-to-day workings, and specifically all that is done when the company produces its goods, services etc.
PM project manager A person in charge of any type of project from start to end, and also one of the most hectic and nerve-wracking positions in the corporate world.
Sr/Jr senior, junior A short acronym before a person’s title that denotes if they are just starting out in this post or have been promoted (twice) before. Typically Seniors have reached the end of their progression in a given position and must be promoted into another tier to advance further,
VP vice-president Usually these are the most hands-on of the executives of the company. They have a lot of responsibilities for very large chunks of a company’s business, but are not boardroom level and cannot decide about the whole company’s direction, future, IPOs etc.


General business acronyms:

Acronym… Stands for… And really means…
ASAP as soon as possible Very soon, without any delay. Useful to show that there is no future deadline for something, it needs to be done NOW. In the Office, a famous TV comedy series, one character says: „As ASAP as possible”, possibly to express that something that needs to happen even faster than very fast!
ETA estimated time of arrival You can specify how long it will take you to be „OMW” using ETA. For instance, OMW, ETA 15 mins means you have started to go somewhere and will be there in 15 minutes.
N/A not available If some table or spreadsheet requires some field to be filled, but you have nothing to put there (because there is no data, nothing to say or note), use this instead.
OMW on my way This is good for IM or SMS when you are in a hurry – because you need to be in the office ASAP. Just type OMW and people know you won’t respond until you are finally at your destination.
PO purchase order A shorthand for an electronic document that proves you have done a certain task for a company and can be compensated for it. Especially useful for freelancers and contractors when they need to be paid for each task they performed. The „trail” of this in accounting or project management system ends with a PO – purchase order – to be sent to the contractor upon recording that a task was accepted as done.
Q#FY## quarter no # of fiscal year ## This shows quarter of the fiscal year. First # can be 1 to 4, and the last ## signify the current year, of which the last two digits are used. So at the moment of writing this blog post, it’s Q3FY17 – third quarter of the fiscal year 2017.

So there you have it. Nothing to it really, right? Now, I need to prep for my tomorrow’s SOB meeting ASAP, or I’ll be permanently OOO!



fresh out of college – świeżo po college’u/studiach
o start out – zaczynać (np. karierę)
surroundings – otoczenie
to be cut out for sth – być do czegoś stworzonym, mieć wystarczająco siły/talentu by z czymś sobie poradzić
9-to-5 – praca od 9 do 17, pot. o pracy w stałym wymiarze godzin
slog – harówka
to daunt – przerażać
lingo – żargon
inscrutable – zagadkowy
unintelligible – niezrozumiały
handy – poręczny, przydatny
ASAP (as soon as possible) – jak najszybciej
response – odpowiedź
painstakingly – mozolnie, w trudach
to craft sth – wyprodukować coś
OOO (out of office) – poza biurem, nie w pracy
PTO (paid time off) – urlop płatny
SOB (start of business) – początek dnia roboczego
WFH (work/ing from home) – praca z domu/zdalnie
WBR (with best regards…) – z poważaniem…, z wyrazami szacunku…
eom (end of message) – koniec wiadomości
WTH (What to hell?) – co do licha? o co chodzi? (pot., slang.)
ICYMI (In case you missed it…) – gwoli przypomnienia…, jeśli jeszcze nie słyszałeś/aś, to…
brief – krótki
bright and early – skoro świt
to sign off – odmeldować się, pożegnać (w liście)
to indicate – określić, wskazać
exceptionally – wyjątkowo
condensed – skondensowany
communiqué – komunikat, wiadomość (franc.)
fret not! – bez obaw! spokojnie!
let’s take it from the top… – obejrzmy to jeszcze raz…, zajmijmy się tym od początku…
put simply… – mówiąc prosto…, po prostu…
time zone – strefa czasowa
working hours – godziny pracy
setting – otoczenie, miejsce
to show up – pojawić się
deadline – termin ostateczny
feature – funkcja
swiftly – szybko
for the day – danego dnia, w tym dniu
overtime – nadgodzina/y
shorthand – skrót
to come up with sth – wymyślić coś
off topic (OT) – nie w temacie, poza aktualnym tematem
sparingly – ostrożnie, z rozwagą (o użyciu czegoś)
leave – urlop
remotely – zdalnie
enclosed in sth – otoczony czymś
to convey – przekazać
to fit – zmieścić się, pomieścić
recipient – odbiorca
to consider doing sth – rozważać (z)robienie czegoś
mailbox – skrzynka pocztowa, skrzynka e-mailowa
blind carbon copy (BCC) – ukryte do wiadomości (przy wysyłaniu wiadomości e-mail)
discreetly – dyskretnie
casual – swobodny, luźny
reply to all – odpowiedz(ieć) wszystkim (w wiadomości e-mail)
to compose – komponować, pisać (np. e-mail)
to direct – skierować
inbox – skrzynka odbiorcza
to keep sb in the loop – informować kogoś o czymś na bieżąco
what went on… – co się wydarzyło/działo…
to inundate – zalać, zalewać (kogoś czymś)
neat! – nieźle!
addressee – adresat
attachment – załącznik
strapped for time – który ma mało czasu, któremu brakuje czasu
reminder – przypomnienie
jolt – bodziec, wstrząs
to type – pisać na klawiaturze
relevant – mający związek, ważny (w danej sytuacji/kontekście)
to interject – wtrącić (np. uwagę)
efficiently – efektywnie
to save sb the trouble of doing sth – zaoszczędzać komuś zachodu/wysiłki potrzebnego przy (z)robieniu czegoś
to phrase sth – ująć coś (w słowa)
you’re all set! – i wszystko masz gotowe!, i już gotowe!
to skip sth – ominąć coś
with regard to – odnosnie do, co się tyczy
cut-and-dried – gotowy, rutynowy
initials – inicjały
colloquial – potoczny
rude – niegrzeczny
disbelief – niedowierzanie
department – dział (w firmie)
as opposed to – w odróżnieniu od
contractor – kontraktor, podwykonawca
hierarchy – hierarchia
to denote sth – określać coś, oznaczyć
occupational health and safety – bezpieczeństwo i higiena pracy, BHP
injured – ranny
day-to-day – codzienny
workings – praca (np. firmy)
in charge – kierujący, u steru
hectic – gorączkowy, zabiegany
nerve-wracking – wykańczający nerwowo
to promote sb – awansować kogoś
progression – progresja, postęp
tier – szczebel, pułap
hands-on – praktyczny, bezpośredni
executive – menedżer wyższego szczebla, członek ścisłego kierownictwa firmy
responsibility – odpowiedzialność
chunk – kawałek, kawał (pot.)
boardroom – sala posiedzeń, tu: na szczeblu rady nadzorczej
IPO (initial public offering) – pierwsza oferta publiczna, debiut giełdowy akcji spółki
delay – opóźnienie
to express – wyrazić
estimated time of arrival (ETA) – oczekiwany/spodziewany czas przybycia
on my way (OMW) – w drodze, już jadę/idę
spreadsheet – arkusz kalkulacyjny
to fill a field – wypełnić pole (formularza)
destination – cel podróży
purchase order (PO) – zamówienie (dokument zlecenia)
to compensate sb for doing sth – zapłacić komuś za zrobienie czegoś
freelancer – freelancer, wolny strzelec
to perform – wykonać (np. zadanie)
trail – ślad, ścieżka
accounting – księgowość
to signify – oznaczyć, określić
digit – cyfra
nothing to it – nic prostszego, to wcale nie takie trudne (pot.)
to prep for sth – przygotować się na coś/do czegoś
permanently – stale, na stale

by Prochor Aniszczuk

Komentarze są wyłączone.