Thursday, January 12, 2023

Get It Straight

Was watching this video recently, and a point needs to be made. Joshua Fluke, with whom I so frequently agree, makes the statement that SalesForce "fired" 7000+ employees. The fact is, to be very literal, that SalesForce laid off  7000+ employees. 

Although all words are made up, the fact is that language is an agreement upon specific words having specific meaning. When meanings are conflated, or when the same word has multiple, unrelated (or even conflicting) meanings, the word loses its value. And someone who uses words to mean what they do not mean is certainly not an effective communicator. 

Therefore, for the sake of clarity, let's define these words. Yes, it could be argued that these words are HR buzzwords. Nevertheless, it is important to make the distinction. 

Fired: "to terminate an employee's employment" - often with what the employer considers to be "with cause." 

Laid off: "to terminate an employee's employment due to lack of work. The inherent understanding is that the termination is unrelated to the employee's performance. 

Why is it important to make the distinction? Because, when you are interviewing for a new job, you MUST get your verbiage correct!  My brother was laid off from Dell some years back. Although he interviewed a lot, he was not getting calls back. After discussing with him at length, I learned that he was telling people he had been fired from Dell. A quick change of the term he used to "laid off" and he was getting calls back and offers in short order! 

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