Plane Thoughts: “Like” no.

I spend more time on planes than most. Thanks to family across the country and a job that forces me to leave the safety of my sweatpants occasionally to act like a real adult, I’ve easily spent over 20 hours on a plane this month with a few more flights this week. While I board every plane with a list of work, my focus isn’t always there.

With no reliable internet and no attention span, that means I spend my time listening to (overhearing, really) a lot of weird shit. Annoying shit.

I can’t just keep all of this annoying shit in my head, so I open a word doc and I write. Usually, I just dump these but I figured, why not post it.

So here it is, my latest plane rant:

In high school, I used to count words. In presentations, in speeches, even in conversation. Not just any words, words that annoyed me or caught my attention simply because they were used so many times. You know the words – like, um, so. They’re words people use to fill in space, to give their brain time to catch up with the thought. I count because, frankly, it drives me nuts and it’s the best way I know to distract my own brain from mounting frustration at the sheer volume of these key phrases.

I read a book where the author was coaching politicians for debates – teaching them to avoid these phrases because it gave people the impression the politician was stalling, untrustworthy and ill-prepared.

So why is it that the movie Clueless’ vernacular has crept its way into so many people’s vocabularies today? How is it that it went from cool to a sign of stupidity? Think about it. How often do you hear the word “like” randomly interjected into the sentences of the people around you? In no situation is it actually contextually relevant unless someone is using a simile to describe a situation. However, if someone is using like frequently enough to start my head count – it’s highly unlikely they even know what a simile is off the top of their head…

clueless vocabulary

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Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster,, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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