PHILADELPHIA — A new study from the Wharton School of Business confirmed what millions of employees around the world have known for decades: injecting military jargon and metaphors into your normal work day validates your otherwise completely pathetic existence. The study, conducted by Professor Leonard Lodish, appears in the May issue of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.
"When I pore over a 10MB Excel Spreadsheet or tell my team to work 20 hours a day for absolutely no reason whatsoever, I feel a special kinship with America's service men and women," said IBM senior manager Tom Wood, a participant in the study. "If I had to make a direct comparison to the level of dedication and sacrifice needed to succeed at my level, it would be the Bataan Death March."
Instead of actually performing a job that is personally fulfilling and universally admired, test subjects — who ranged from telemarketers and middle managers all the way up to Fortune 500 CEOs — could casually slip a "locked and loaded," "hit the beach on D-Day," or "take no prisoners," into their business dealings and immediately feel a surge of self-importance, no matter how enigmatic or nonsensical the placement, hiding the vacuousness of whatever was being discussed.
"Everyone wants to feel like their job makes a difference in the world, despite how utterly redundant and truly derisory most are," Lodish wrote. "Inserting abstruse, military claptrap into mundane business reviews and sales meetings is a great coping mechanism for dealing with the pulverizing reality that the sum of your life's work to date means absolutely nothing."
In fact, according to Lodish and his team, the more study participants used incoherent and ambiguous military-related gibberish, the less they thought about asphyxiating themselves in their garages to find sweet relief from the stark reality of selling their souls day in, day out, for the next 30 years for absolutely no benefit to humanity whatsoever.
Lodish concedes his conclusions are far from revolutionary, but indicates that private sector workers are thinking in terms bigger and more delusional than ever.
"I am sure if Sun Tzu and Thucydides were alive today they would appreciate how middle managers all over the world have used their works to claw their way into positions of ever increasing power in the quest for a carrot on a stick they will inevitably die trying and failing to reach," Lodish wrote in his conclusion.
Senior military leaders have taken note of the study, including CENTCOM Commander Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III. He and his peers are keenly aware of how civilian practices shape military policy and assured Duffel Blog they would not fall into the trap of spouting gobbledygook in lieu of actionable ideas.
"Lodish is a rockstar, and his article is a real home run," Austin told Duffel Blog. "It was 4th and goal, Lodish was on the one yard line, and he went for two. Everyone knows you can't full court press a triple double before getting a hole in one, but he didn't throw in the towel before completing this hat trick of a study."
"I hope he continues to shake the tree and see what falls out."