Two Dirty Words in Modern Workplace: 'pls fix'

'Wall Street Journal' digs into the phrase dreaded by young professionals
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2022 6:00 AM CDT
For Young Professionals, One Phrase Is a Weekend Killer
Stock photo.   (Getty/Sorapop)

This year, the phrase "quiet quitting" has entered the workplace lexicon, as has its opposite, "overemployed." Now the Wall Street Journal digs into another new workplace phrase, one dreaded by young professionals: "pls fix." As in, that terse phrase shows up in emails at all hours of the day and night, including weekends and holidays. "Until you've gotten that 10pm 'pls fix,' you just don't get it," says Amelia Noel, a former investment banker who's now a career coach. Lindsay Ellis of the Journal defines it this way:

  • "The text might vary—'please action' or 'make better'—and the notes tend to come with little instructions. (What the heck needs fixing?") But the message generally translates to: Stop what you're doing to send the 39th version of a PowerPoint slide to your boss."

And, yes, the phrase has made it to Urban Dictionary and onto Instagram and TikTok, and it's also becoming a popular slogan on coffee cups, T-shirts, and the like. There's even a podcast called "Pls Fix Tnx!" that focuses on workplace troubles of people in their 20s and 30s. The Journal story recounts example after example of young professionals lugging their laptops with them everywhere, all the time, in anticipation of the "pls fix" command.

For something of a counter to all this, a story at eFinancialCareers takes note of a banking intern's complaints in a separate article at Insider. "He found that the worst thing about the job was the feeling of having to be available at all hours to give quick responses to 'pls fix' emails, and he didn't feel that editing PowerPoint slides was the best use of his no doubt stellar abilities," writes Daniel Davies. But "reading between the lines, it seems like the issue was more likely that the anonymous intern didn't actually want to be a banker." (Read more work stories.)

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