A clusterfuck, SNAFU and a shitshow

We love this article in Quartz at work where Corinne Purtill explores the critical difference between a "clusterfuck," a "S.N.A.F.U" and a "shitshow."

These are important expressions to understand and could be liberally applied to both your work life or political commentary. Perhaps some light relief from the challenges in the world as we write in March 2020.

Cornine's short piece examines the differences and applications of these three terms in the workplace.



“a bungled or confused undertaking or situation" (The F-word)

It is widely believed that "cluster" was a reference to the oak lead cluster insignia for senior officers in the Vietnam war. So a "clusterfuck" was slang that the military used for failures resulting from insufficient situation intelligence together with too many top brass making decisions.



"Situation Normal, All Fucked Up"

Similarly a S.N.A.F.U is a military term that nowadays is applied to many "normal" situations, both for an individual and also in the business world.
Bob Sutton (Stanford business professor) also qualifies that,

"A SNAFU work environment is usually manageable; one that is FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond All Repair, another military legacy) probably isn’t."

And finally the,



“situation or state of affairs characterized by chaos, confusion, or incompetence.”

Purtill suggests that,

"A clusterfuck may come to possess all those characteristics (of a shitshow), but is more properly identified by the decisions that produced it than its outcome."

So you'll find the Rebootme team will liberally reference our content and publishing routines to either being a clusterfuck, SNAFU or a shitshow! But we still sit back and enjoy the moment and carry on.

We hope you enjoyed this language exploration and again a big shout out to Corinne Purtill for her original inspiring piece.