There are many new terms for our collective conscience to wrap around these days, but several of them aren’t nearly as pleasant as they are contrived to appear. One of those diversion tactics for a workplace experience that’s actually quite awful is to be “downsizing” someone.

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When an employer wants to replace you with say, someone with a pulse, you will be summoned into his office where he will sombrely but enthusiastically compliment you on your many wonderful attributes. Flattering for sure temporarily, but nonetheless he or she will admit that the organization has chosen to “downsize” you, thank you very much. As one of my old bosses liked to say: “If you’re not fired with enthusiasm, you’ll be fired with enthusiasm.” I think it was a famous football coach who came up with that originally, but my former boss was sure fond of repeating it to me on a regular basis.

Don’t misunderstand that term, “downsizing”. You are not really being demoted to a lesser position in the company (and ultimately retained). It is far more akin to what your soon-to-be-former employer is softening by describing it as an “external promotion opportunity.”

All while his assistants are quietly packing up personal effects from what used to be your desk. Unlike your cat, you will not appreciate the sight of an empty cardboard file box in your former workspace.

Downsizing is the new politically correct term for “getting sacked”. “Being shown the door”. “Terminated”. “Employment-concluded”.  Or, what worked so well for employers in the past, and as a certain former U.S. president used to say during his Celebrity Apprentice days: “You’re fired! (© ® ™)”

You’re not so much being thrown out onto the street, as being verb-isized into new employment. Afterwards, your wounded self-confidence will hopefully heal-isize itself once you rebound and find new employment.

I kind of wish this sizing thing hadn’t been so easy to accept by mainstream society. I feel strongly that I’d still be a 98-pound weakling myself if some genius hadn’t invented “super-sized” meals. I curse those oversized fries, milk shakes and hamburgers I was frequently wolfing down that would eventually split a pair of pants, whilst I was bending over to pick up a pen.

Where else has “–size” been added, to put a new spin on something into everyday life vernacular?

How about “Popular Restaurant-sized” for drinks (gotta be careful of those litigation-sized possibilities when actually naming a real restaurant in your column…), where a single-shot cocktail suddenly becomes a pail of alcohol and mix, just because it happens to be after 9 a.m.? No kidding, happy hour!

What about “over-sized” when it applies to a golf club head? That’s supposed to be a benefit, allowing you to drive from the tee box like the pros. For most golfers, it makes for a longer walk into the woods, trying to find the over-sliced ball.

There is a variation on the “super-size” meals, called “up-size”. I think they could rename all those bigger meals in one fell swoop and just call them “Spanx-sized” meals.

I think I’d better lay off the new “size” possibilities before I take this concept too far, and my editor invites me in for one of those columnist “external promotion opportunities”.


  1. Ha!

    You are correct sir! Oh, to be rolling in the gov’ment gravy!

    Well, to be fair, this is a fictional observation based on folks I know, so I’m not in too dire a straits. However I will set a future reminder to consider more colourful phrasings and vocabulary just for shiggles!

    • Hi Dan:

      Good thing your name’s not Jack.

      I think you’d be rolling in more than gravy; more like mud ‘n crud. And hey!…life ain’t fair.

      I didn’t realize the folks you know are fictional characters. Do they know that?

      I’m not very good at geography, so, where the hell is “too dire a straits”? Is it near the straits of Juan de Fuca? That’s where when the Spanish guy fell in, he yelled out to his buddy “Juan, where de Fuca are ya?”

      I’ll be in Kelowna sometime early April for a couple of hours. Let me know if you dare to yak it up over a coffee at a local Tims—if the COVID shut-down crap allows—and we can tell more lies. At worst, we can shout at one another from our vehicles.

      [email protected]

      • Hey Brian!

        My knowledge of geography is similarly limited, but I understand that in Too Dire A Straits you are supposed to be able to get money for nothing?

        Ah, Kelowna, I remember it well. Since then I’ve been in Calgary and now back home in Winnipeg to be around for an unfolding family situation. If you’re ever out this way, absolutely! [email protected]

  2. Too bad you don’t work/write for the gov’ment Dan. If you were found to be inadequately-sized for your current bureaucratic, paper-shuffling, over-paid, income-producing, “Ya can’t fire me ’cause I’m in the Silly Service Union!” position, you would likely be promoted. As the saying goes, every Silly Service public servant rises to his/her level of incompetence…and thence stays there.

    Better watch out for Jim-the-editor-guy though; he’s been known to crinkle-size many of my offerings herein, but keeps them in his special drawer of flammable materials for future laugh-ins whilst no one is watching. Next time, go out on a limb; use words like “bullshit”, “full ‘o shit baoy” (that’s Irish), “Y’er arse is a star” (that’s really Irish) etc. See if ya can’t get kicked upstairs like a real bureaucrat. That’d be upstairs-sideways-sizing. Give Jim a try. Let me know how it goes.


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