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“bubble up” September 24, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Definition.
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bubble up
BUB-uhl UP

Not this kind of bubbles. (cc-licensed photo by Mike Babcock)

Not this kind of bubbles. (cc-licensed photo by Mike Babcock)

This was a completely new one to me. I had no idea what it meant until I saw it on a meeting agenda. The item simply read “trouble tickets, bubble up”. Apparently this is a concept the operations department, where I was sitting in on a meeting, uses all the time, because its context was not explained to me in any way.

And, really, it’s kind of a quick, less-serious way to say “push it up the chain to the next level of authority”. In other words, escalate. If a client gives you trouble, let it bubble up to the next level. If a salesperson won’t listen when you lay out the rules, let it bubble up. “Escalate” sounds so serious — “I’ll have to escalate this to my superior”; “bubble up” sounds more like “hey, this is something I don’t think I should deal with because of my level of authority, so can you help me out?”

I imagine it’s something that, similar to “go from there”, is going to get really tiresome after a while. But right now, it still seems like a useful phrase that I can use in conversation.

Good to know.

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