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Workplace acronyms you should know
Veena Venkateshwaran
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October 08, 2007

On my first day at work, I got an e-mail from my boss. I knew it! It was inevitable! He'd seen me struggle with the coffee machine. You don't have to be an MBA gold medallist (which my boss was) to tell that a girl who can't make coffee can never "contribute immensely" to the company. It was over! I pictured myself grovelling at his feet and begging him to give me another chance. I opened the e-mail with trepid hands.


It was blank. The subject line said: Please fill the attached form (EOM).


EOM? What does that mean? Even on -- Mondays? There is a form I am supposed to fill everyday -- and even on Mondays? No, wait. Maybe it means Eventually Out of Mind. My boss is a busy man; he must have forgotten to send the form earlier. So he's glad that it is "eventually out of his mind." Oh god, I was losing my mind! Without realising it, I said the word EOM out loud, pondering its significance.

"It's End of Message," said the girl on my right. Oh! The syllable "oh" managed to express the strange mix of relief, enlightenment, and utter shame that I felt.


Well, even if your first few days at work weren't as dramatic as mine, I'm sure you had your own little EUAs -- Encounters with Unknown Acronyms (okay, I made that one up).


Short forms, acronyms, nicknames � they are all part of workplace culture. They are an easy and fun way to communicate for those in-the-know, but to people who have just joined the company they can be a nightmare.


FYI, there is no quick fix. Of course, you can always ask someone, provided you muster enough courage. And if you are a fresher, the situation is twice as bad because you don't know the acronyms, and you don't know whom to ask!


But fear not! Help is at hand! You can always turn to the internet and find a refreshingly helpful article (like this one) that lists common workplace acronyms. The list below explains the acronyms and also shows how they are typically used. So go on! Pin it up on your softboard, save a copy or just learn them by rote. And in case you don't notice, the acronyms are in alphabetical order. Why? JLT! (Just Like That)


~ Send me the report ASAP.

ASAP = as soon as possible (If this is an e-mail from your boss, drop everything else and work on the report!)


~ I read that article BTW. Not so great.

BTW = by the way (Some even use it to mean "back to work" -- safe for ending an online chat with colleagues.)


~ We don't have to pay the printer now. It's COD.

COD = cash on delivery (It is a mode of payment; you pay when the goods are delivered.)

~ Roohi, I will send you the details by tomorrow EOD.
EOD = end of day (End of day can mean before closing time or before you or Roohi leave for the day, whichever happens first.)


~ Find out the ETA and then send the car to get them.

ETA = expected time of arrival (This usually means phoren delegates.)


~ Our prices are FOB.
FOB = free on board (Warning: It's technical. FOB prices include the charges to load the goods on a carrier. Damage in transit is not your responsibility.)


~ FYI, this is the update I got from the team.
FYI = for your information (When you share information to keep people in the loop, it's FYI.)


~ Your KRAs will be defined at the start of the year.
KRA = key result area (Closely related to the next acronym.)


~ In your PA, you will get a rating on each KRA.
PA = performance appraisal (When your performance in a company is appraised, your superiors or peers rate you on the functions you perform.)


~ No. of participants: TBD
TBD = to be decided (You will know it eventually.)


~ Updated policy on office work timings (w.e.f. October 1, 2007)
w.e.f. = with effect from (The date that follows is very important!)

The writer works with Cactus Communications -- a company that provides English language solutions.

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