10 Basic Job-Speak Terms Working Newbies Need to Learn

Many graduates are about to enter the workforce for the first time. It can be a happy and confusing experience. A steep learning slope lies ahead for job newbies, and one of things they'll need to get a hang of is the professional terms people use. Here's a basic guide that will help you feel less overwhelmed with all the corporate lingo.

PTO: Paid time off is the amount of hours allotted to an employee for time off work with pay. It's common for PTO days to include sick days as well, but there are some companies that separate both.

401(k): A 401(k) is a free retirement savings plan sponsored by employers. Money is taken from your paycheck before taxes are deducted so you will be investing what's called pretax money in the retirement plan. Occasionally, employers "match" your contribution, which means they will also add money to your retirement account. It's best to start contributing as early as you can. Read more about retirement plans to figure out a good saving strategy.

Floating holiday: A floating holiday is basically similar to a PTO — you can take time off and still get paid for it.

Brainstorm: A brainstorm is a discussion among a group of people to generate ideas or figure out solutions to problems. It's often better to prepare before a brainstorm and write down a few ideas before heading in so that you know you'll be contributing to the discussions.

HR: Human resources is basically a part of the company that focuses on the well-being of employees and the paperwork it takes to retain them. The department has responsibilities that can include filtering job applicants, calculating raises, fielding complaints, and raising company morale.

HMO or PPO: HMO and PPO are two of the most common types of health insurance plans. Find out which plan is right for you based on needs and preferences.

Ergonomics: Many workplaces believe in keeping their workers safe and healthy, which means you may have to encounter an ergonomic evaluation. Basically, the evaluators will assess how you sit and how the equipment is positioned. For example, they'll try to see if you have your computer screen at a height that won't cause you to awkwardly crane your neck.

W-4: A W-4 is a tax form you'll have to fill out that will let your employer know your factors that affect your tax situation, such as marital status and other exemptions. This will help the employer figure out how much tax to withhold every month from your income.

W-2: The W-2 is a statement you'll receive in January from your employer that states information like your salary and the federal, state, and other taxes that were withheld.

Performance review: A performance review is most commonly held every year at a company and you will be reviewed by your boss on how you've been doing at the company. A good performance review can lead to a promotion and that much-wanted raise.