Here's a dictionary of terms that any engineer can appreciate. Most of them were sent to me by other people. Some I just found lying around. Absolutely none of these terms were created by me. I'm not sure if they're funny or depressing. You be the judge.

If you have any additional terms to add to the dictionary feel free to mail them to me at If you're just going to be a Seagull Manager, fly over someone else.


Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located. "Don't bother asking him . . . he's 404, man."


The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.


The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss.


When a technically superior concept/product looses out to a lesser product due to bad marketing. This term came about came into existence after the demise of the Sony Betamax.


"Bad Flack! No Biscuit!" - Subject of an e-mail message from Don Marti containing a forwarding of an exceptionally clueless promotional article. Now used by the staff at Linux Journal (and soon the rest of the world) whenever a flack produces an exceptionally clueless piece of work.


Sitting around in a group discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.


The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating "The Bozone Layer." Unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

Chainsaw Consultant

An outside expert brought in to reduce the employee head count, leaving the brass with clean hands.


Career Limiting Behavior. See CLM.


Career Limiting Move - Used among microserfs to describe ill-advised activity. Trashing your boss while he or she is within earshot is a serious CLM. (Also known as CLB)

Crop Dusting

The act of releasing a poisonous, possibly lethal gas from the rectum right before or as you leave a room full of people.

Cube Farm

An office full of cublicles.


The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.


To be exploited and oppressed by your boss. Derived from the experiences of Dilbert, the geek-in-hell comic strip character. "I've been dilberted again. The old man revised the specs for the fourth time this week."

Dopeler Effect

The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.


One who provides publicity; a press agent. Flack is thought to have come from anti-aircraft barrages that resemble the persistence of press agents who barrage the press with publicity schemes.

Flight Risk

Used to describe employees who are suspected of planning to leave the company or department soon.


To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

Management by Wandering around

Practiced by people who don't want to be at their desk when the phone rings.


The title of an excellent book written by Douglas Coupland 1. Any software engineer, not at the management level of a large corporation. The serfs of the high-tech feudal system.


That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake.

Percussive Maintenance

The fine art of whacking an electronic device just right to get it to work again.


The Pure F???en Magic. The very magical substance that keeps much of the world's computational systems running.

Q: How does that work?
A: It's PFM?


A state of mind of a person committed to killing all of his or her coworkers. Attribute to a string of shooting in U.S. post offices committed by postal workers.

Prairie Dogging

When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm and everyone's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.


See Rectal Database.

Rectal Database

The very private location from which instantaneous answers to questions may be retrieved. "I queried my rectal database."

A slightly less accurate answer may be achieved by a taking a SWAG.

Salmon Day

The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.

Seagull Manager

A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, poops over everything and then leaves.


"Scientific Wild Ass Guess" - An informal estimate slightly less accurate than one obtained by quiering the Rectal Database.

Q: How did you come up with those numbers?
A: I took a SWAG?


People who take training classes just to get a vacation from their jobs. "We had three serious students in the class; the rest were just tourists."


Printed computer software/hardware documentation.

1. I have a copy that I bought a few years ago.

Last updated on November 23, 2014