(ASAP is an annoying business term and is just one of the 212 Most Annoying Business Phrases Managers Effuse, Confuse, and Overuse detailed in the hilarious must-have guide for every workplace: The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room. Available right now on Amazon.)
Let’s level set for a moment: (yes, you caught us, level set is an annoying phrase managers overuse – that’s why it’s in italics) ASAP is an acronym that simply means “as soon as possible.” It’s often shortened to ASAP (pronounced ey-sap) because the very nature of the request means even the request itself must be spewed forth as quickly as any human on earth could ever say it.
“I need this ASAP,” is certainly more efficient (and impolite) than saying, “I need this completed as soon as possible, please.”
The problem with ASAP – and why it’s so annoying – is the extra emphasis on immediacy that’s implied when one uses ASAP instead of something like “right away” or “as soon as possible.”
The ASAP request – to the requestor – is infinitely more important than a request for something “as soon as possible.” Of course, the pinnacle of annoying with this acronym is the occasional moronic manager whose request is so urgent that he needs something A-S-A-P. Taking the extra time to announce each letter separately most certainly means that his request ranks even higher in importance to any merely needed ASAP.
By the way, if you find yourself with a boss who overuses ASAP, and you’d like to find a way to keep from cringing each time he utters it, just separate the acronym into two words in your mind. Just imagine he signed his request as “a sap.” So, instead of hearing, “I need this ASAP,” you’ll hear, “I need this, (signed) A Sap.”
Replacement phrases: As soon as possible; Right away; Immediately
See also: FYI
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon.