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How to Decipher Your Co-Workers' Emails & IMs

Are you tired of getting messages at work featuring acronyms you don't understand? This handy translator will help.


  • Step 1: OOO is not "ooh" When a colleague responds to your message with an, "OOO," it doesn't mean they're expressing awe at your brilliance; it means they're "out of the office."
  • Step 2: Know what's up If a co-worker is WFH, they're "working from home." If they respond to your message with "BRB," it means they'll "be right back." If they say they're IAM, they're "in a meeting." And if they write they CTRN, stop bothering them; they're telling you they "can't talk right now."
  • Step 3: Make it happen If your boss asks for something by "EOD" or "COB," hop to it: It means they want it by the "end of the day" or "close of business."
  • Step 4: Don't delay Don't ignore a message that has "QQ" in the subject line; it means your associate just has a "quick question."
  • TIP: If an IT (information technology) technician notes that your computer problem is PICNIC, you're being insulted; they're saying the "problem is in the chair, not in the computer."
  • Step 5: Be glad Celebrate if your boss responds to your proposal with, "WFM" or "SLAP." They're saying, "Works for me," or "Sounds like a plan."
  • Step 6: Fuhgeddaboudit When the answer to your query is DHTB, your colleague is saying they "don't have the bandwidth." Still scratching your head? It means not having the resources to do whatever it is you requested.
  • Step 7: Listen up A colleague who begins his message with IMO is telling you what they think; it stands for "in my opinion." If there's an "H" before the "O," they are being humble.
  • Step 8: Learn to vent If you need to vent about a bone-headed boss or doltish colleague, these are helpful: BFO means "blinding flash of the obvious," ASTRO stands for "always stating the really obvious," and IHMB expresses the popular sentiment, "I hate my boss."
  • FACT: AAAAA stands for the "American Association Against Acronym Abuse."

You Will Need

  • Acronyms
  • Translations

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