1. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Upskilling

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Gannon, Aug 12, 2008.

    Management at my place of work have created this monstrous coinage. What alternatives can I offer them so that I do not have to sully myself by uttering this frankensteinian abhorrence.

    Meaning: Upskill (v) - to acquire new skills or to concrete those already possessed. Often used elliptically in reference to the people whom have acquired the new skill.

    Usage:

    1) During the project review, several upskillings have been acheived / identified.

    2) Having undergone extensive training, I now feel fully upskilled.

    *shudder*
     
  2. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I revise my statement that our management 'created' the term. It has apparently been in 'use' for some time without hitting many, if any, dictionatries. Still anyone have any less hideous alternatives?

    Courtesy of worldwidewords.org:

    This is a moderately common technical term which hasn’t yet reached any of the standard dictionaries I’ve searched, though the Second Additions Volume of the Oxford English Dictionary cites a first use as long ago as 1983. Upskilling refers, as you would expect, to increasing the skills of workers, usually through training. But its introduction reflects substantial changes in the nature of work in developed and developing countries. In the past two decades a substantial proportion of all jobs have become more technical and varied. Much of this is due to the introduction of computers, which require many workers to take on tasks like word-processing or financial analysis which once would have been done by specialists. Trainers and employers both argue that to upskill workers improves their employability. But critics say that upskilled workers are not necessarily better paid, nor do they have better promotion prospects, and that upskilling benefits the employer rather than the worker. Upskilling may be distinguished from reskilling, which usually refers to giving people new skills to cope with a new job, usually an enforced one.

    Business Process Reengineering can result in more upskilled work and more integrated and interesting jobs, but upskilled work doesn’t necessarily mean better wages and promotional possibilities.

    [Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, Vol 8, No 2, 1996]

    Measures to promote upskilling and lifelong learning can raise the mobility and employability of workers, mitigate the costs of job displacement resulting from rapid technological change and reduce resistance to reform.

    [Structural Reform and Adjustment, OECD Report (1998)]​
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Well in the verb sense of the word, what's wrong with "to learn"?
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I feel your pain, Gannon. I do.

    In the mid 90’s I worked for (then) American retail giant Dayton Hudson. The book of the day for upward moving management was this horrid bit of lit called Zapped! I swear it came from Hades Press. It was rife with twitch inducing buzz words and phrases obviously concocted in an unholy congress of type-A’s. I was forced to read it when I took a promotion with the company.

    The manager I was strapped with after my promotion never actually spoke to me. He only ever quoted this book’s loathsome list of quotables. I don’t think he had his own brain, just crumpled balls of paper made from the pages of this book. I know my eyes went glassy every time he opened his mouth.

    You have my sympathies, Gannon.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm still nauseated by the Managmentese perverbsion, leverage (v.t.) (leveraged, leveraging)!

    We need Executive Assistants, former English teachers, empowered to rap managers' knuckles when they coin these atrocious terms.
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The one that still induces seizures in me is the following actual quote:

    We need to ratchet up production by revisiting our hourly manpower.

    I will never forget it. I had to bite my inner lip so hard, I actually bled. :(
     
  7. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    What was wrong with the age-old expressions "cross training" or "upgrading"? My wife got a promotion for "upgrading" her credentials at work, and this was after she "cross trained" from auditor to lead trainer. Oh well, upper "management" needs to justify their salaries in some manner. . .why not pay them the big bucks to spend all day searching for words?

    Wonder what term we could use to re-define "upper management"?
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, but those aren't power words, they don't carry enough buzz to leverage value. It's strategic to ratchet them up for a value-added metric.

    Isn't upskilling doing away with the delivery carrier with the brown truck and matching uniform?
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    :rolleyes: I love you, Cog. (In a complete platonic, academic manner. In no way am I attempting to leverage you or ratchet up your emotional investment in me by any measurable standard deviation.)
     
  10. Rawiya
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    Rawiya Member

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    In cases like this, I often find myself torn.

    The creation of words like 'upskill' and 'google' (as in 'to google') almost make me sick. But as a linguistics major, I have to accept that this is a natural part of language and treat them, immediately upon their creation, as a fully acceptable part of the language in question.

    This just happens to be one of the places where I agree fully with prescriptive grammarians: some of these words just shouldn't exist!
     
  11. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    As a fellow linguistics major, I too am torn. But, it seems that the purpose of these coinages is to obfuscate and add a kind mysticism to the art of business. To remove the meaning of the conversation from the masses and keep it for the inner circle of chosen ones is akin to clergy. No?
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I suspect it's more to apply branding to common concepts, to make them seem like new and improved ideas instead of the same old same old.

    Giove it a shiny new name and it's the New Paradigm(tm).
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The New Paradigm™ smells awfully like the Old Paradigm™
     
  14. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    All hail Prescriptivism! Perhaps it was looking towards the future for ideas after all.


    I don't see what's wrong with the old combination "to acquire skills". "up" doesn't even imply new skills, but only more powerful old skills.

    Perhaps we should institute a sacrifiece every year to the God of Good English, where we burn a fake dictionary containing all the new monstrosities coined that year, as well as a symbolic (but real) manager who has created/promoted one or more of them.
     
  15. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Can anyone attend, or will it be by invitation only?
     
  16. Rawiya
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    Rawiya Member

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    Oh! What shall I wear?!

    ::tears through closet::
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A firesuit.
     
  18. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    We'll run into real trouble when the executive of the company that conracts out the former english teachers gets sacrificed. It'll ruin everything!
     

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