Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Getting Ben-Hurred in Business


Having for the most part spent my working life as an ink-stained wretch, retail punching bag or cubicle rat, I am new to business meetings and am having a good time with some of the jargon. This recent delight is probably remedial to many readers, but it’s a relative novelty to me.

My favorite thus far has been the term, Ben-Hur. When one gets Ben-Hurred, it means a relatively small issue has distracted a manager, which has in turn caused him or her to turn away from a more important matter. It refers to a moment in the movie "Ben-Hur" when Charlton Heston’s character meets a group of people who are going to see Jesus Christ deliver the Sermon on the Mount. Poor old Ben elects not to join them and misses out on one of the defining pieces of Christian oratory. It’s like missing the “I Have a Dream” speech, the Gettysburg Address and Faulkner’s Nobel Prize acceptance all at once.

In a business context, it might refer to someone getting wrapped up in a merchandising project and as a result, missing out on an opportunity to land a major client. It is a case of not seeing the forest for the trees or of being penny-wise and pound-foolish. It is the misapplication of resources born of a poor assessment.

I have been so entertained lately by business jargon that I am tempted to share another term here, but I wouldn’t want you to feel rag-dolled.