(Hard Stop 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.)
Hard stop is used proudly by the smuggest of the smug in business to let you know they have more important things to do than whatever it is they’re doing with you. Just as your conversation begins you’ll hear, “I have a hard stop in five minutes.”
If they feel they can only spare five minutes, why not just say, “I have a meeting in five minutes,” or “I have to poop,” or “I have the attention span of a gnat, so I can’t dedicate more than five minutes to any conversation?”
Because hard stop sounds cooler and way more significant.
We mean that. Hard stop sounds cool. The first time Steve heard it he was hooked. Hard stop is to an adult businessperson as smoking is to a teenager. They know it’s wrong, but it just seems really, really cool. So cool, in fact, they can’t wait to try it so they can be cool too!
Steve knows… because that was him. Both as the teenage smoker and as the adult telling everyone about his hard stop. Man was he cool! Of course, the problem with smoking is that it’s so addictive it’s nearly impossible to quit.
Steve knows… because it took him years to finally kick the habit.
Uttering hard stop, it seems, is more addictive. Steve knows it’s wrong. He knows it’s annoying. He knows it’s not cool, but he can’t stop. Steve is embarrassed every time hard stop comes out of his mouth, but he still hears himself telling someone about his hard stop at least weekly. And even though the shame he feels saying hard stop is greater than the shame he felt while smoking, he can’t stop.
To be clear, Steve was going to write a bit more on this, but he’s at a hard stop. Perhaps someone could invent a patch or gum to help people like Steve.
Replacement phrases: I have another meeting/engagement/appointment; I have to poop
See also: Firewalled
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon