Stop Using Them, they don’t help.
I hate the word proactive. I loathe its sound and shutter when I see it written. You might consider it strange to hate a word. However, as a hiring manager, I see this meaningless, over-used word at least 6 times a day. Every resume that glides across my desk states “I am a proactive, team centered, problem-solving, people person who LOVES being bossed around .” Ok, they don’t exactly say that, but it starts sounding like that when you see the same thing over and over again.
I’ve seen the use of this foul word bleeding over to the business world recently. In a recent meeting a co-worker stated “We really should be proactive when it comes to the Sullivan account.” My blood immediately ran hot, and I replied with a quote from the Simpson’s: “Excuse me, but “proactive” and “paradigm?” Aren’t these just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important?” I got a few snotty glares, seems they didn’t appreciate my hatred of the word or my vast Simpson’s knowledge.
I think the thing that bothers me most about this word is its sheer lack of genuineness. It had a place in the English lexicon once upon a time, but it got hijacked by those people who want to sound way more sophisticated than they actually are. And the saddest thing about it is that all it does is make the user sound like an ass. It doesn’t even accomplish the goal of making you appear better than you are.
So, the next time you are writing a resume or preparing a presentation, please think of me and leave out the terrible, horrible, no good word that is proactive. Trust me, you’re better off without it.