Cut the Mustard
(Curt the Mustard 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.)
Cut the Mustard
The real question should not be why someone cannot cut the mustard at your work; it should be who can?
Really, how is this even possible? Every time we try to cut the mustard, the two sides just blob back together. Yes, we can cut the mustard, but we cannot keep it cut.
Again, who can?
Another old saying with an unclear origin, managers who use cut the mustard to indicate someone’s worth to the team or to a project have simply run out of ways to say things. They’re grabbing outdated clichés because they either cannot find the proper words to use or they’re just lazy.
Overuse of clichés is a sure sign of lazy language. Clichés, you see, are easy. Finding and using the right words takes a little bit of thinking.
Saying you’re not sure whether someone can cut the mustard could have numerous meanings. Do you think they’re incapable? Do you think they’re capable, just not willing? Do you think they’re capable and willing, though without the assistance required?
What the hell do you mean?
Okay… then just say that and save the mustard cutting for a fun challenge at the next kids’ party you host.
Replacement phrases: Able; Capable; Effective
See also: Pass Muster
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon