There is a curious world called LinkedIn, a social media site for people trying to nurture their careers. The problem with it is that the participants are expected to take themselves more seriously than they might in what we used to call real life. LinkedIn has a culture of self-importance that cracks me up every time. There is nothing quite as funny as utter humourlessness.

Years ago, there used to be gags about door-to-door salespeople who were always trying to sell something. Those jokes were staples of shows such as I Love Lucy where a stranger would not leave the house until they had sold the latest household gadget, not realising that nature abhors a vacuum clearer. Surely it is worse when strangers are trying to sell themselves. I noticed one modest young man describe himself on LinkedIn simply as ‘global leader.’

Before you venture into this scary world, you need to learn a new language called LinkedInglese. Allow me to equip you with enough phrases to get you through a working week.


  1. Monday morning

Your boss asks you to go to Seven Eleven for a ream of copy paper for the printer, normally his job.

In translation this is: Excited to undertake new leadership role in logistics and acquisitions interfacing with major global corporation at local level to enhance communications within team building environment. Stepping up to take on new challenges in terms of supply as we restructure out of silos and build workplace partnerships for success. #succeedingatsuccess


  1. Monday mid-morning

You ask your friends at work if they want to share a pot of tea to keep them going happily till lunch.

Translation: Benchmarking success in workplace consultation as best practice leadership for resilience and well-being using performance-based incentive showcasing excellence in rehydration. #teabagsforsuccess


'LinkedIn has a culture of self-importance that cracks me up every time. There is nothing quite as funny as utter humourlessness.'


  1. Monday afternoon

Going for coffee.

Translation: Enhancing project focussed outcomes in caffeine friendly environment. #saucersforsuccess


  1. Tuesday lunchtime

Your friend is applying for a job at an undertaker which will involve working on the hearse.

Translation: Passionate about driving results to closure. Prepared to dig deep to meet the market. #undertakingsucess 


  1. Tuesday after lunch

You need to apologise for farting in the office.

Translation: Actively realigning internal comms in terms of industry wide protocols and standards whilst multitasking to simultaneously challenge workplace culture in acceptance of alternative renewable energies such as wind. #nogutsnogas


  1. All day Wednesday

You are doing CPR training.

Translation: Breathing new life into old corporate models. #highimpactheartvalues


  1. Last thing Wednesday

A colleague is in bother for including things on their CV that never quite happened.

Translation: Forging upward paths towards the best me I can be. #creativeresume


  1. Thursday morning

You are drawing up a roster for emptying the dishwasher.

Translation: Mentoring colleagues in sustainable and equitable establishment of a clean working environment where the glass is no longer merely half full but totally re-imagined such that it can bring more to the table. Developing solutions to tackle some of the greatest climate challenges facing our corporation. Guaranteeing a role for all in an inclusive and sustainable model of management. #contractinghealth


  1. Thursday late morning

You announce that you are getting married.

Translation: Excited about prospective mutualisation of major biological assets and consolidation of existing levels of debt towards forthcoming innovative entry into the mortgage market. Franchise opportunities may follow. #partneringforsuccess


  1. Thursday ten minutes later

Your colleague announces that their marriage is ending.

Translation: Excited about demerger of established portfolios with view to re-capitalisation within broader market and greater exposure on social media. Franchisees will be fully supported throughout a rebranding process that will afford them greater diversity of mentoring. #departneringforsuccess


  1. Friday morning

The company announces the death of the last employee who ever used a filing cabinet.

Translation: Owing to rationalisation of a personal footprint within the constraints of our short-term lease, staff unable to attend in person have been moved to cloud storage. #offboardingforsuccess


  1. Friday at four

Sharpening pencil.

Translation: Delighted to announce shortening cylinder of communication with view to greater pointedness and enhanced visibility of message. Erasure available for development and clarification of conceptuality within creative environment. #leadingleadpencil


  1. Friday afternoon

Staff drinks.

Translation: Management endorses major exposure to the wine industry with a view to offsetting foreign tariffs by significant expansion of local market. Staff encouraged to stand together through full and frank mutual performance assessments. Identification of designated drivers of success will guarantee future security. #linkedgin


  1. Saturday night

The company announces the sudden death of a staff member of 25 years faithful service.

Translation: We are hiring. #hirepower


A full dictionary of Linked Inglese is in preparation. Linked Inglese will replace outmoded English in school curriculum to ensure the young are job ready.



Michael McGirr’s new book, Ideas that saved my life, will be published in Spring by Text.


Michael McGirrMichael McGirr is the bestselling author of Snooze: The Lost Art of Sleep, Bypass and Things You Get for Free. He has reviewed almost one thousand books for various newspapers; his short fiction has appeared in Australian and overseas publications; and he has been a publisher of Eureka Street and fiction editor at Meanjin.

Topic tags: Michael McGirr, LinkedIn, social media, corporate jargon, job ready



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Existing comments

What a great read in these trying times. Or should I say ....

Tom Kingston | 02 September 2021  

I’m humbled to have the opportunity to say this article is right on target. A great outcome to share!

JohnA | 02 September 2021  

Thank you, Mr McGirr, for information about LinkedIn and its dominant language LinkedInglese. I believe I have the qualifications to make a real impact on this site #leadingleadpencil. Hereunder my resume:
School report aged 8 years: Writes indifferently. Ciphers a little, and works neatly. Knows nothing of grammar, geography, history or accomplishments. Altogether clever of her age, but knows nothing systematically. Home Life: Lives at the top of a steep hill in a cold place, Parsonage at Haworth. Physical characteristics: Small-ish physique, short-sighted, prone to nervous headaches. Hobbies: walks on the moors, preferably in biting wind. Reader, I rest my case. C. Bronte.

Pam | 02 September 2021  
Show Responses

This is terrific. You made me laugh. Thank you!

Michael McGirr | 05 September 2021  

Wonderful, Michael! How did some Australians ever become so humourless and self-important? I blame the plague of MBA courses myself.
Jean Dawson.

Jean Dawson | 02 September 2021  

Orwell would be chuckling, Michael!

John RD | 03 September 2021  

Brilliant, Michael. Thank you for restoring faith in the armoury of satire. The full Dictionary of Linked Inglese is eagerly awaited by this reader.
Jenny Gribble

Jennifer Gribble | 03 September 2021  

Brilliant, LinkedInglese deserves such treatment.

William Burston | 03 September 2021  

I just love this article... you usually find that the glossy veneer of most Corporates and their personnel is pretty thin if you scratch the paint. Pet hates of mine are the Quality systems righteousness (too often just lies) and Corporate Values "policy", an avoidance of real laws. It took me years to understand that Policy only applies to employees to be recited at the convenience of management or HR. LinkedIn really is just a forum for the squeaky gears missing the oil that being well-regarded by peers through quiet achievement lubricates so well. For some users there's the security of 500+ "contacts", usually just a who's who list of nobodys that wouldn't buy them a beer or know their wife's name...but for some reason LinkedIn reminders tell you if they got promoted. How awful; notifications of someone graduated to Senior Domestic Engineering Manager when they're really just taking parental leave at home as a new mum or dad.

ray | 03 September 2021  
Show Responses

This is a great comment which I fully appreciate. Thank you.

Michael McGirr | 05 September 2021  

I'm quite confident that this comment won't be published.... because my comments have been blocked/overlooked before...... Michael, it might al be a game for you, but for people in desperate situations who don't have your white privilege, words DO help

AURELIUS | 03 September 2021  

Those of us in the Anglican Communion should have a competition in Modchurchadmin Speak to have a LinkedInglese adaptation

Stuart B | 04 September 2021  

Genius. #thatsall

Owen L | 06 September 2021  

Thank you for this much-needed laugh! The article was very accurate, unfortunately. #9 made me think of a former coworker... glad I no longer work there. This makes me want to spice up my LinkedIn profile.

HD | 07 September 2021  

One of the many problems I have with speakers of this new language is I think they actually believe what they say. That scares me. Don't they have a life? StuartB, extremely perceptive, is not the only one to notice Linkindenese is creeping into Churchspeak and its sub-dialects. I remember once coming down an escalator at a tube station in London. There were two delightful West Indians behind me speaking what I presume was a patois. I couldn't understand a word. It reminded me of the Leavisite dogma and language they tried to inculcate into us at Melbourne University in the English Department. I am obviously a failure here as I still speak and write English. The West Indians were lively and humorous. The likes of Sam Goldberg at the Shop were decidedly not. Talk about dropping down deadness of manner!

Edward Fido | 13 September 2021  

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