• Lisa Walden

The Words 2020 Built

We’re word people at GCC, and 2020 has introduced many, many, many new words and phrases to help us navigate a year unlike any other. Here’s a smattering of some of our favorite additions to the collective consciousness:

1. Work-life blur

Work-life blur is work-life integration gone wrong. Like hugs, boundaries seem like things of the past, making everything one big soupy mix of work and life. It's almost as if, as one of our clients put it, “you’re not working from home, you’re living at work.”

2. Blursday

What day is it? Who the heck knows! Even though I’m writing this in December, for many people it might as well be the 300th day of March. Friday, Monday, Wednesday, Sunday… when each feels like all the others, and your kitchen table doubles as your work desk, every day is Blursday.

3. Zoom fatigue

With the switch to WFH, leaders have embraced video conferencing as a way to recreate the face-to-face connection of in-person work. This means that many of us have spent hours upon hours sitting in front of screens. Cue the need for the phrase Zoom fatigue. Turns out video meetings don't just drain the computer’s battery, but ours too. Sidebar: as a "phone-hating" Millennial, I’ve never loved phone calls more. The relief when a virtual meeting turns into “just a call” is really something else.

4. Zorms

Zorms are Zoom Norms. While we’ve had video conferencing for years, this year we’ve been Zooming non-stop (see Zoom fatigue). As with any frequently used system of communication, it can be helpful to establish norms to get everyone operating by the same set of guidelines or expectations (like understanding that not muting yourself is basically the new reply all).

5. Doomscrolling

Let me paint a picture. It’s 3am. You’re sitting up in bed, face illuminated by the dim glow of your phone. You’ve gone through all your socials, checked what’s trending on Twitter, read your favorite news sources, then started the loop all over again. Sound familiar? Doomscrolling is just what it sounds like… compulsively scrolling through the news, looking for a hint, a glimpse, a glimmer of hope, only to be bombarded by more bad news and predictions of doom. #bleak

6. Infodemic

Thanks to our obsessive doomscrolling, we’ve been consuming vast amounts of information this year, much of it confusing and contradictory. The flood of pandemic-specific intel—reliable, unreliable, and totally made up—is all part of this year’s infodemic, and let me tell you… sifting through it has been exhausting.

7. Coronials

Simple formula: Millennials + Corona = the term for the youngest generation, a product of this year’s predicted baby boom. (It should be noted that research suggests 2020 has triggered a baby bust rather than a boom, but the phrase nevertheless persists.)

8. Coronacation

Think of this as a close cousin of the staycation, but with a giant dollop of existential dread heaped on top. A Coronacation is when you’re paid to take time off but have nowhere to go and nothing to do (except maybe doomscroll). Awesome.

9. She-cession

Yes, she-cession is extra depressing, but this is a list of 2020 words so what did you expect? A play on recession, this word speaks to the fact that women have born the brunt of the hardships this year, both economically and otherwise. Since the bulk of care tasks tend to fall on women’s shoulders, they’ve had to figure out not only how to manage their workloads, but also how to manage their homes and keep kids focused on Zoom school (and not wreaking havoc).

10. B.C.

Remember back in the day when we could go to concerts, dine at our favorite restaurants, and hey, even see a speech live and in-person!? If you’re fondly reminiscing about the way things were back in the “simpler days” or “oldie times,” a shorthand for you could just be BC, or, Before Covid.

What a year, eh? And while much of 2020 has been bad (and many of these words are a nod to that), there’s been plenty of good too. That said… 2021, we are so ready for you.