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The Big Kiss-off

“In this period of high anxiety, the [severance] letters may well contribute to the stress in the newsroom.” (Miami Herald)

“This is a letter I have worked very hard not to have to write . . . It is a letter that brings news you will not be pleased to receive.” (San Jose Mercury News)

“To put the layoffs in perspective, however, they affected just over 200 colleagues out of our total workforce.” (Dow Jones)

“With the national economy shaky, we have no reason to believe we have reached bottom yet.” (Charlotte Observer)

“It is clear that many recent hires are people of color. If we do come to the point of laying off employees, the contract dictates those journalists would be among the first to go.” (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minnesota)

“We feel tremendous pain and disbelief at the realization of having no alternative but to lay off so many loyal members of the EnvisioNet family. Unfortunately, there is no way that we can absorb the cost of keeping employees.” (EnvisioNet)

“Each of these problems on its own would be serious enough. Taken together — and with no signs of improvement . . .” (The New York Times)

“Pending the outcome of the Chapter 11 restructuring, we have taken down the online job-search page. Thank you for your interest in employment opportunities at Enron.” (Enron Corp. Web site)

Euphemisms for “You’re Fired”

“Headcount reduction” (Metro Newspapers)

“Voluntary separation program” (Disney, in a letter addressed to “Fellow Cast Members”)

“Involuntary force reduction” (Detroit Newspapers)

“Economy-driven personnel reductions” (Cooley Godward law firm)

“Transitions” (Kraft Foods)


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