As a generation ages, its members will inevitably observe younger generations, concluding, “things aren’t like they used to be.” This is common in language where the context, combination, and usage of words changes steadily over time. Because meaning isn’t fixed, dialogue between generations is easily confused. So, naturally, fractured communication results in frustration, and frustration leads to hesitancy to communicate — a vicious cycle! The code of communication. 

The same factors are at play in the working world. Businesses rely heavily on industry, company, and even department-specific vocabulary to ensure tasks are accomplished and relationships maintained. Therefore, new hires, learning the “code” used by management and coworkers is essential to becoming a reliable contributor.

Recently, I began training as a graphics installer with TKO, and almost immediately realized I had no concept of the phrases being thrown out around me. Because the words spoken by my coworkers were not unfamiliar, but the context in which they were used was. For instance, there’s…

  • pre-mask
  • backing
  • rivet brush (short and long)
  • sticking vinyl
  • stuck vinyl
  • finishing
  • full coverage
  • partial coverage
  • poker
  • big poker
  • scrap (avoid at all costs)
  • cutting seams
  • working the top

…and the list goes on!

Thankfully, the guys I work with have explained (often through demonstration) what these terms mean. Because they understand the code of communication. Unlike other skilled trades, installing graphics isn’t something you grow up around and do on weekends with your dad, like carpentry or auto repair. So, as a result, the more seasoned members of TKO’s installation crew seem to easily remember their training difficulties and have remained patient, as I experience my own. Because that’s how the code of communication works.