Wankword obsession?

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Help! It seems as though I’m becoming wank-word obsessed. I’m listening out for them all the time now. I think I may be developing a wank-word problem. Where do I go? Wankwordaholic’s anonymous? Anyone have their number?

Anyway, in my quest to discover more wankwords, I stumbled upon another chap’s blog post about tips on things to avoid when writing a resume (or CV as we call it here).

You can read Steve Yegge’s full post here.


Tip #5: Avoid Wank Words

Wank Words are words that inflate your perceived importance (e.g. using “architected” rather than “designed”), or words that have simply become synonyms, such as “Rational UML Process”, for the so-called work done by people who sit on their asses and don’t know how to code anymore.

Wank Words are worse than just devoid of content; they’re active indicators of total inactivity. Resume screeners either delete Wank Words or replace them with the word “wank” (e.g., “Certified Wank Master”), which makes the resume a lot easier to scan.

“Advocate” is a common wank word, when it refers to a title or position. If it’s a verb then it’s just a weasel word, but if you think it’s your title, then you’ve inflated yourself into Wanker territory. Either way, if you’re walking around advocating stuff, it means you’re not working. Also, it means nobody listens to you, because if you possessed actual leadership, people would just do what you recommended and then you wouldn’t need advocate it anymore. So “advocate” just means “wanker”.

“Consultant” is often another absolutely outstanding synonym for “wanker”. Now let me just add, before I get stabbed to death by eager members of the heavily armed Consultant Industry, that some consultants are great. The problem is that the odds are completely stacked against you in tech resume screening. It’s like fast-food experience when applying to be a waiter at a fancy restaurant. It might have helped you hone your waiter skills, but the odds are against it, and a lot of the art of resume screening is about weighing odds.

The problem with “consultant” is that it has two meanings. It can either mean “person who was hired on a contract basis to fill a coding need in the organization”, or it can mean “person hired to ‘consult’, aka ‘wank’, because the hiring organization is too clueless to solve their own problems and too incompetent to retain even one full-time staff member capable of helping them, so they turn to paid self-help.” When you see the word on a resume, it can be hard to distinguish which kind it is.

The all-time worst Wank Word is probably “Methodologist”. It will definitely get your resume circulated around at tech companies, but not for the reasons you were hoping. Any sort of amusing synonym for “Methodologist”, such as Scrum Master, generally has the same effect.

Wank Words are a bit like the adjectives on restaurant menus — meaningless fluff words added in an attempt to make the dish sound tasty. You can get a much clearer idea of what the hell it is that you’re contemplating eating if you take all the adjectives out, including nouns and noun-strings that serve as adjectives. For instance, House Cured Spice Rubbed Apple Smoked Line Caught Columbia River Coho Salmon, when all the Wank Words are removed, becomes “Salmon”, which is of course the only part of the description that you’re actually eating. Depending on how you feel about what that winds up being, you can replace all the adjectives with either “icky” or “yummy”, e.g. “Yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy Salmon”, or “Icky icky icky icky icky icky icky icky Eggplant.”

Hence, many wank-filled resumes wind up looking, after the screeners have marked them up a bit, like this: “Senior wanker wanking for the Wank-Wank Institute of Wankology on the wank wank wank project during which I wanked successfully with seven other wanky wankers.”

Well, “senior” is also kind of a wank word, but you get the idea.


Anyway, my wankword for Monday is: Gameplan.

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