Tonight my family was watching Project Runway, and I heard one of the contestants talk about his “aesthetic.” I started thinking about the language that comes with different jobs. I’ve never been in a career that required use of the word “aesthetic,” but I’ve watched enough television shows to see that there are plenty that do. Artsy careers such as fashion and design use that word a lot. I think it would be awesome to hear a plumber tell me that his snaking of the drain really exemplified his plumbing aesthetic.
Several years ago I volunteered for an Army family program. We taught life and leadership skills to family members in military communities. At the next level we would teach others to instruct. At the top level, we taught program management and we trained others to teach instructor training. We were train-the-train-the-trainers. I loved it with all my soul. Not only did I feel like I was making a difference, but I also was part of a sisterhood of trainers. The friendships I developed at this time have lasted longer than some other relationships I’ve had.
What I loved most is that when I would go to a training, there was a language that we spoke including acronyms and experiences that seemed unique to us. I knew that if I walked into the room and started talking about an LES or the ACS, the audience would completely understand me.
Last year I met up with a friend of mine from junior high school who was in town for a conference. He’s some kind of engineer – I know it has something to do with dirt. At any rate, I met him for a drink one evening and he was there with some of his colleagues from the conference. It was fun to watch them speak their own language. I didn’t get it, but I could see that they did.
A couple of years ago I took a job as an office manager for a company that sells energy drinks. When I first started I was so completely confused by the language that was used and just the pure ignorance. Wholesale drink sales (followed by sun tent sales) was so completely outside of my realm of understanding. It’s been a steep learning curve, but now I know what COGS and Co-ops are. I understand what people are asking me for when they want vendor terms.
What language do you speak? Who are the people who speak your language?