Gen Z might not use “bandwidth” and “don’t boil the ocean” in their everyday work slang, but they’re bringing their own Gen Z jargon to the office table. Here are some of the most popular sayings — and emojis — Gen Z is likely to use in the workplace.
>>MORE: Are you a Gen Z’er navigating new workplace phrases? Check out the corporate jargon you should know.
While this term is still associated with beauty, Gen Z uses it to describe a pleasing style, mood, aura, fashion sense, or taste. Can be used as an adjective or noun.
I love that brand’s aesthetic; it’s so modern but old fashioned at the same time.
Altered my brain chemistry
Something that made you rethink your life outlook.
That Company Y commercial about the old man looking back on his life through the lens of his dresser might have been corny, but it altered my brain chemistry.
You’d rather us get no Fridays off all summer and do winter Fridays instead? That’s a bad take.
Mainstream or unoriginal.
Did you see X Company’s Instagram reel? It got a ton of likes, but it seemed kind of basic to me.
I accidentally sent an email meant for you to my boss. Big yikes.
A really good song.
Let’s use that new Doja Cat song for our next TikTok. It’s a bop.
To stop supporting someone because of their unethical behavior.
I saw that the company fired employees who told people to go out and vote on their social media — it’s canceled.
Not literally the chief executive officer, but the best at.
She’s the CEO of viral tweets. I wish we had her on the marketing team.
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Often used as “I’m dead” to mean you find something hilarious.
Did you see they tried to promote the company with a TikTok trend from two years ago? I’m dead.
Over the top; dramatic.
He wants us to present the slides and do a separate recording of them? That’s so extra.
When someone or something was once popular, and now isn’t.
Cold calling used to be our best sales tactic, but TBH, it kind of fell off.
Tweak or do something tactfully, skillfully, or cleverly.
I’ll send my cover letter draft to you by EOD — I just need to finesse it a bit first.
Great, amazing, exciting.
That graphic you made for Instagram was fire. Nice work!
For real; true, valid.
Can’t wait to flex my presentation skills at the all-hands meeting on Tuesday; they won’t know what hit them.
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Greatest of all time.
Serena Williams is the G.O.A.T. of tennis, but she’s also killing it off the court — she was in multiple Super Bowl ads just this year. Queen of sports and sponsorships.
A positive sign about someone or something. Opposite of “red flag.”
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to apply to Company Z, then I saw their list of benefits included free therapy sessions, gym membership, and office snacks. Green flags all around — I just sent in my application.
Desirable; what you want out of life.
You showed up to a team meeting late because your last meeting was an exclusive interview with Selena Gomez. I mean, goals.
When you suddenly don’t hear back from someone with no explanation.
I thought I was a shoe-in for that role, but after the second interview, the recruiter totally ghosted me.
A woman who acts as her own boss, though the term has evolved since its inception to take on both positive and negative connotations. For Gen Zers, typically used ironically as a hard-working person who puts work before anything else. Both a noun and verb.
I’ve been putting in 12-hour days this week. I’m in my girlboss era.
Revealing something new suddenly and without previous warning; typically refers to a new relationship. Opposite of “soft launch.”
Did you see Kelly’s hard launch in the #watercooler channel? Her wedding pictures are incredible, but I had no idea she was even engaged!
Very, really, definitely. Opposite of lowkey.
I highkey want that promotion but I’ve already made it clear to my boss, like, five times.
Experiencing something that feels different or new compared to before.
My afternoon iced latte hits different after that networking event this morning.
Finding something hilarious; see “sending me” and ☠️
Did you see that new meme Company Z put out after the Met Gala? I’m weak.
In my ____ era
Used to describe a specific period of your life around a central theme. For example, if you’re in a period where everything is going wrong, you might be in your “flop” era.
I used to wear pajamas all day to work on my couch, but now I’m commuting almost every day. I’m in my office era.
It’s the ____ for me
Referring to something that stands out about a person, thing or situation; can be used as either an insult or a compliment.
Not X Company running an ad about climate change when they’re literally ruining the environment. It’s the hypocrisy for me.
If you know you know; something that’s only understood by a few people with context.
Darn, I messed up the formatting in that promotional email. Marketing tragedy, IYKYK.
On the downlow; secretly, understatedly.
I lowkey want to volunteer for the social committee, but I haven’t spoken to anyone on it.
Lives rent-free in my head
Something you can’t stop thinking about.
That new jingle from Company Z’s ad lives rent-free in my head.
Someone who’s confident and in control of their life. The world revolves around them.
Jess got a promotion and engaged on the same day. She has such main character energy.
An iconic feminine figure. Typically used as “someone is mother.”
Kathy shut down that board member when he was being sexist. She’s mother.
Warning sign; negative sign about something or someone.
There’s nothing about diversity, equity, or inclusion on the company’s site. Huge red flag. I’ll have to ask the recruiter about it in my interview.
Good, amazing, excellent.
Wow, Betty, I love the look of the new website. The sign-up form flow slaps.
To do something well. Can be used as a verb (“you slayed”), noun (“that’s so slay”), or a singular compliment (“slay”).
Slay, Julian, you crushed that sales pitch.
Subtly revealing something new through a small hint; typically refers to a new relationship. Opposite of “hard launch.”
Did you see Company Z’s new Instagram post? I think they’re soft launching a new partnership with Diet Coke — you can see *just* part of a Diet Coke label in the corner of the picture.
Shoot your shot
Go for it; usually used when someone is going after someone or something they’re interested in.
I think you should ask him for the salary bump this week. Shoot your shot — the worst that can happen is he says no.
To be a fan of; liking something a lot.
Did you see Y Company’s new plus-size fashion campaign? We stan.
Finding something hilarious; see “dead.”
The gif she sent in #watercooler-chats is sending me.
Company X announced an influencer campaign last month, but today the influencers they were supposed to work with took down their sponsored posts. I wonder why — isn’t that a little sus?
Gossip, news, or juicy information. Frequently used in “spilling the tea,” when sharing loaded information.
Did you attend the strategic planning meeting on Monday? Spill the tea.
Bad; low quality.
I’m going to have to restart the project. The draft I’ve been working on is trash.
That feeling when. Usually accompanied by an image or gif
TFW your boss finally tells you you’re doing a good job.
Understood the assignment
Used when someone’s done a great job or has gone above and beyond.
She didn’t just present this quarter’s sales numbers — she added great context, fun gifs, and even made the presentation interactive. Hannah absolutely understood the assignment.
If I want to do a vibe check on a company before applying, I’ll look at their ratings on Glassdoor.
I’m so glad sales got the W with that deal last week; things were looking bleak before then.
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After some controversy with its ad campaigns in the early 2000s, I’m glad Company Z is turning around and producing some more woke ones this year.
Gen Z’s enemy when it comes to emojis. Reserved for their millennial counterparts.
Hilarious; see “dead.”
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