re: What does it mean to "task" someone? VIEW POST

FULL DISCUSSION
 

Culturally speaking, the reason some might be offended by the term "task" is that it goes back to slavery systems. The term "task-master" comes from slavery.

From How Slavery Inspired Modern Business Management:

As Gantt wrote, “The term ‘task master’ is an old one in our language; it symbolizes the time, now happily passing away, when men were compelled to work, not for their own interests, but for those of some one else.” Gantt’s goal was not to abolish this old system but to adapt it to modern needs. As he explained, “The general policy of the past has been to drive, but the era of force must give way to that of knowledge, and the policy of the future will be to teach and to lead, to the advantage of all concerned.”

That "now happily passing away" time was in reference to the US system of slavery.

The cultural-assessment presumes that the author of the linked article - and those similar to it - are correct.

 

some might be offended by the term "task"

I doubt the word "task" itself was spoken by the manager. Who in his right mind would say, "Hey, let me task you with this"? And even if some idiot did that, the response I mentioned doesn't make sense. Consider this conversation:

Manager: "Hey, I'm giving you a task to do XYZ by next Friday."
Developer: "Are you trying to task me??"

Looks like a conversation a bot would generate.

In conclusion, I think no one was offended by the word "task" because it was likely never spoken.

 

I doubt the word "task" itself was spoken by the manager. Who in his right mind would say, "Hey, let me task you with this"? And even if some idiot did that, the response I mentioned doesn't make sense.

In the US? Many, many, many managers would use some variation of exactly that. Primary difference is it typically wouldn't be in the form of a near-request, but a flat imperative (i.e., "I'm giving you this task" or, even more frequently, "I'm tasking you with this").

For a more (near) interogative example of manager-speak, you'd likely hear, "I have an ask for you" (often with the "big" modifier).

Manager-speak is liberally-peppered with all sorts of cringe-inducing word-choices.

In conclusion, I think no one was offended by the word "task" because it was likely never spoken.

You need to get out more - or at least talk to more people.

In the US? Many, many, many managers would use some variation of exactly that.

Really? Wow! At least it confirms that the usage I came across in that podcast wasn't uncommon. Thanks for your inputs!

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