(Total-Total 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.)
Total-total is to net-net what a solar eclipse is to a light bulb.
Hearing an annoying manager use total-total the first time feels like a rare, almost holy experience. It’s spoken with such confidence – and it just rolls off the tongue – like it’s really a thing.
After a few seconds basking in the faint echo of total-total, you realize it’s not a thing. There is no total-total… but, that doesn’t matter, you think, it was still a cool thing for your manager to say.
You feel this way until he says it a second time; in a different meeting. Now, you start thinking he’s a little slow. You forgive him these two indiscretions until you hear him go all-in on this abomination and utter it more than a dozen times in the same meeting.
In Steve’s entire career, he’s heard total-total used by just three managers. Of course, it felt like each of these three said it more than 100,000 times, total-total.
While annoying, there is still something magical about the use of total-total that we can’t put our fingers on. It makes us smile when we hear it. It makes us smile the same smile we might display when a baby or a kitten does something worthy of sharing on social media.
Perhaps it’s the playful innocence of the annoying speaker – like the playful innocence of a kitten.
Perhaps it’s the childlike way he or she approaches the job.
Perhaps we’re just smiling because it reveals how stupid this person in charge of us really is.
Yeah, it’s that third thing.
Replacement phrases: Total; Net
See also: Net-Net
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon