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get the axe

to be fired from one's job


entlassen werden



Last week Universal Pictures chief Casey Silver GOT THE AXE, just two weeks after Universal Studios Chairman Frank Biondi lost his job.

(BBC News - Wednesday, December 9, 1998)

Did you

to get the axe

The worst situation for businesspeople is when they have to tell their employees they are no longer wanted.

To get the axe is one of the more direct ways of describing this - it refers to those times when condemned prisoners were executed by beheading (enthaupten).

Many companies prefer "softer" ways of describing the process:

Barclaycard diplomatically justified recent sackings as:

"a consequence of a change designed to deliver significant improvements to customer services"

Barclaycard could also have used other euphemisms such as

- jobs 'fall away'
- jobs are 'de-emphasised'
- jobs are 'downsized'
- jobs are 'delayered'
- jobs are 'destructured'
- jobs are 'flattened'
- jobs are 'right-sized'
- jobs are 'iced'
(which is an acronym for an 'Involuntary Career Event' )

And HR consultants give these reasons for redundancies:

- 'restructuring to meet the competitive demands of the marketplace'
- 'a realignment of the senior management team'
- 'a more rapid integration of the organisational structure'
- 'to provide a seamless global organisation'

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