(Wheelhouse 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.)
We’ve got bad news and great news about this one.
The bad news is that wheelhouse is another annoying business phrase borrowed from sports.
The great news is that it’s the last annoying business phrase borrowed from sports included in this book!
If only this also marked the last time any of us would hear our hack of a manager discussing business using sports analogies, metaphors, and clichés.
Wheelhouse is a term annoying managers borrowed from baseball that baseball borrowed from industry. It originally referred to the housing or area around a wheel (like the paddle wheel on a steamboat).
At some point, baseball adopted wheelhouse to mean the area where a batter’s swing is most effective – that is, where they would make the best contact with a pitch.
Today, annoying managers everywhere insist on equating competence at anything to one’s wheelhouse.
Mosely’s not very good at answering phones? Phones must not be in his wheelhouse.
Trudell’s a pro at presenting to customers? Presentations must be in his wheelhouse.
Of course, if referring to competence or expertise as one’s wheelhouse was the only use of this irritating jargon, we’d probably (try to) learn to live with it. It’s never that simple with annoying bosses, is it?
If you really want your ears to bleed, think about the time Steve heard a manager use wheelhouse to describe (he believes) business acumen or intelligence. “Yeah, Frye really has the wheelhouse for that kind of thing?”
What. The. Heck?
What in the world does that even mean? We may never know because it’s clearly outside our wheelhouse.
Replacement phrases: Expertise; Competence
See also: Ballpark
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon