Steven is solely responsible for maintaining the machines at the factory. Fixing problems with these machines is not trivial, but should be relatively quickly understood by most people with adequate experience after some effort.

Steven is concerned about his replaceability at the company and is over time building up many complex processes and rules for maintaining the machines. He still manages to do the work quite efficiently, but doesn't hesitate to let his colleagues know how difficult the machines are to maintain and that they are lucky to have him there.

Anyone else trying to follow Stevens guidlines for maintaining the machines when he is on vacation is overwhelmed by the apparent complexity of taking care of the machines, so they are all glad when he is back.

Steven is afraid of his job so he [...].

[...] is unfortunately common in profession X.

That manager is all about hand-waving and [...].

Any suggestions?

  • Perhaps not exactly what you seek, but related: A Rube Goldberg Device is something that accomplishes a simple task in a needlessly complicated manner. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rube_Goldberg_machine – Brendan W. Sullivan Mar 22 '18 at 17:50
  • @BrendanW.Sullivan Thanks, that is sure related. It would be odd to use in the above sentences though... – Alex Mar 22 '18 at 18:06
  • It's called a Consultant. – m_a_s Mar 22 '18 at 18:17
  • err ... recondite ? – lbf Mar 22 '18 at 22:02

This is (intentional) obfuscation. Interestingly, the Wikipedia article (quoted below) also mentions medical profession in the context of your second example.

Steven is afraid of losing his job so he obfuscates it.
Obfuscation is unfortunately common in profession X.


NOUN [mass noun]
The action of making something obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.

‘The effect of his work is not to explain anything, but rather to dramatize the purposeful obfuscation of information.’


Obfuscation is the obscuring of the intended meaning of communication by making the message difficult to understand, usually with confusing and ambiguous language.

  • I like this, do you know of a synonym that could be more precise? If I would use it like in "Lawyers tend to obfuscate" or "That manager is all about obfuscation", I think it would be very unclear what they are obfuscating. – Alex Mar 23 '18 at 9:55

If Steven's intentions are less than honest, he would be bamboozling the company. If it's an unfortunate consequence of how he works he would be simply making his work confounding.


Steven's documentation could be described as convoluted or even obcsurantist.

Convoluted means complex and can be a straight-forward description of something like a walnut but, when it's applied to documentation or explanations, it carries the implication of excess complexity.

Obscurantism, as shown by the definition the link points to, is a more or less deliberate act, a mindset or corporate culture aimed at concealing the truth from the target audience. Sadly some technology sales personnel indulge in obscurantism to make their product sound more innovative and impressive than it actually is.


byzantine free dictionary

Of, relating to, or characterized by intrigue; scheming or devious; highly complicated; intricate and involved

He made his job seem byzantine to others, while in fact it was most simple.

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