Euphemisms for Job Loss
The unfortunate occasion of being dismissed from employment can be expressed in numerous ways.
Some of the more familiar expressions are:
to be made redundant
to receive a pink slip
to be dismissed
to be discharged
to be laid off
to be let go
to lose one’s job
to be fired
to be got rid of
to be booted out
to be given the boot
to get the sack
to be sacked
to be given one’s marching orders
to get the ax/axe
These homely expressions still appear in headlines:
Pentagon gives pink slips to thousands of soldiers, including active-duty officers
Digital strategy to axe tens of thousands of central government jobs
Thousands of Woolworths staff face sack in Christmas week
Thousands of Doctors Fired by United Healthcare
However, when it comes to carefully worded announcements issued by people doing the firing, today’s reader must exercise advanced skills of textual interpretation.
Here are some of the ways firing people is described by public relations officers:
realigning the workforce
focusing on involuntary attrition
rightsizing the company
offering unpaid leave with the option to pursue new employment
smart-sizing the company
rewiring for growth
rethinking our future
adjusting to shifts in demand
rebalancing human capital
going in another direction
And my personal favorite: decruiting.
decruit (verb): to remove people working for an organization from their jobs because they are no longer needed.
Clearly modeled on the word recruit, this poor little misshapen invention is already being used without scare quotes:
the phenomenon of companies announcing their various intentions to decruit vast numbers of people. –Stanley Bing, Fortune.
Teach leaders what they must know to decruit workers when necessary. –from a brochure for a business leader workshop sponsored by Penn State.
Let go of the unalterable agents. If you can’t change their work habits, then change their work place. Decruit them. Let them go. –“Tips to Lead Your Company to Success,” Miami Association of Realtors.