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Languishing Language

Steve Rushin is one of a handful of writers that makes Sports Illustrated worth reading issue after issue — even though I’m not much of a sports fan. And his Jan. 12 Air and Space column is extremely work-related, and somewhat tied into our February interview with neologist Paul McFedries.

Opening with the question, “How would you like to be fired?” Rushin riffs through the synonyms and euphemisms for getting fired — or as the headline puts it, “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Owner.” Let’s look at Rushin’s roundup:

Cut ties, stripped, resign, bought out, canned, released, stepped down, let go, expires, declined to extend, sack, an unwelcome divorce, pink slip. For each term — and general category — Rushin expands on its usage and import. But in the end, Rushin comes down on the side of “firing” itself.

It’s an apt word, the flammable firing, hellish but hardening, like the process used to finish pottery. Ask any earthen jug: Firing makes you stronger.

Does getting fired make you stronger — and better prepare you for career challenges? Take the Fast Company poll.

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