Carnival of Nuclear Blogs #308 1

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  1. “Fired” vs “Laid-off” vs something else?

    I wonder, the term “fired” has historically carried a connotation of fault – that is, someone is ‘fired’ for incompetence, belligerence, theft/fraud/other illegal behavior, or lack of professionalism.

    I think in common American usage, the expression laid off has come to mean people who have lost their jobs not due to any fault of their own, but because of lack of work, regardless of whether temporary or permanent. In the case of a facility being closed (factory, power plant, store, whatever), the term lay off has been used so as not to tar the workers with the negative connotations of the word ‘fired’.

    Clearly the Vermont Yankee plant workers did a good job for 40 years of running the plant, and don’t deserve to be labelled as ‘fired’, IMHO.

    But, perhaps American English needs a 3rd term other than lay off when not describing a temporary lack of work? The Brits use the term “Redundant” or “Redundancy” for such situations, but I find that to be a very awkward use of that word, personally.

    1. English speakers are nothing if not creative in their linguistic constructs. In this case, there are all sorts of colorful terms, canned, sacked, dismissed, booted, given the gate, released, let go, turfed, booted, pink slipped, downsized, transitioned, outplaced, axed, furloughed. I’m sure we could add other descriptive terms, but in the end they all amount to the same thing. Aside from the issue of dollars and cents, I’d be curious about the human costs of this action. I know there is a lot of happy talk about people “moving on”, but I have a sense that there are also a lot of stories of people who have, in the words of the executives, “left the company”, but where have they gone? My guess is, unemployment and welfare. Really good for the local economy, that.

  2. The euphemism Collateral Damage works for me; innocent civilian victims of a political war. Invisible to all but family and friends, secondary casualties, who try to help them get through it.

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