The worst euphemism ever for getting fired

Goodbye to handing out pink slips. Now HSBC is 'demising' jobs that are being eliminated. That's about as final as it gets.

By Aimee Picchi Apr 24, 2013 12:43PM

Image: People at a funeral in a cemetery (© Mike Kemp/the Agency Collection/Getty Images)Getting fired isn't supposed to be pleasant, but employers always hit upon fancy-footed ways to dance around the painful truth. 


Companies traditionally have lowered the boom on employees with terms ranging from "streamlining" to "right-sizing," as well as the venerable pink slip. But now one bank has found what's possibly the most depressing term for losing one's job: getting "demised."


HSBC (HBC) on Tuesday said it's cutting 1,100 jobs, but instead of saying so in plain terms, the bank coined a new way of expressing the firings. "The bank will be demising the roles of 942 relationship managers," the company said in a press release.


If that seems, well, rather a grim term, you're right. "Demise" means to "die, decease" or to "pass by descent or bequest," according to Merriam-Webster. 


So how did the bank settle on a term that indicates death? 


HSBC likes it because the word suggests that while the jobs are disappearing (OK, dying), the employees aren't all leaving the bank. "It's another way of saying 'the roles will go,'" spokesman James Thorpe told The Wall Street Journal.


Still, that's likely to be cold comfort to the hundreds of "demised" workers, regardless of whether they're shifted to new jobs instead of getting fired. 


The announcement created anger and derision among the bank's staff and union representatives, according to the Financial Times. A spokesman for Unite, the sole union representing HSBC employees, told the publication: "We think that playing with words was insensitive and was an insult to people."


Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi

 

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100Comments
Apr 24, 2013 1:44PM
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How many banks would have met their own DEMISE had the american people not been forced to bail them out
Apr 24, 2013 1:25PM
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I wish Congress would "demise the roles of all the czars"  that have been appointed over the last couple of decades.
Apr 24, 2013 1:32PM
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"Demised."  The dumbest euphemism I have read in a long time. Leave it to a big bank to come up with that dehumanizing term. It maintains a long tradition of dehumanizing acts done to Main Street by Wall Stret, and surely isn't the last one.

"We didn't just kill your job, we demised it, which is totally worse! I guess that tells you what we think of you in no uncertain terms."

Gee, thanks. Bye.

Apr 24, 2013 1:43PM
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Let's demise the banks and Wall Streeters that are the root of most of our problems.  That's  demise we can live with!
Apr 24, 2013 1:53PM
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Shouldn't HSBC change their initials to DCML (Drug Cartel Money Launderers)?

Seriously, how hilariously appropriate that they should choose "demise" as a new euphemism.

"Hi, we're making tons of loot both above and under the table, but we're gonna have to nix a few of you inconvenient peons so that we can fit some more blow into the executive expense budget, so we're gonna 'demise' your job to pull that off, thanks...toodles."
Apr 24, 2013 3:53PM
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And these companies wonder why there is no employee loyalty.  What a bunch of maroons.
Apr 24, 2013 1:46PM
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Jeez, I thought getting a pink-tinted email was the ultimate weasel term.  But "demised"?  Another classic de----word.  As in demented, de-friend, decapitate, denial, defenestrate (jump out a window), et al.  Demise is used by homicide detectives instead of "death". 
Apr 24, 2013 3:04PM
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what do you write on a job application when you have been fired?  I have struggled with this for over a year of unemployment.  It was not all my fault.  Not enough hours to adequetly do my job and I encountered sabotage of my job performance.  What do you say to get around this.  I don't put down my bosses name I use my immediate supervisors instead...hopefully they don't check everything.  This whole process has left me with minor PTS and paranoia.  I just want to get back to work!  Demise, gosh we feel like we die  when we lose a job...how insensitive.  Banks are run by Satan ...would expect anything less!

Apr 24, 2013 3:54PM
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What happened to "terminated?"  That was good enough for my last employer when I was forced into early retirement
Apr 24, 2013 2:58PM
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Nothing is going to get done until the housing market is fixed... and I don't mean ..."not reporting and not pursuing foreclosures" to inflate the #'s and pretend that things are getting better...

 

And I don't mean... fixing the #'s for unemployment by not reporting it and/or calling it "job-less rate"

 

Call a spade a spade... and stop pretending....! 

 

I supported the current administration for the 1st term; and I'm paying a hefty price... After 2 months into the 1st term... me and many others have had to eat those words, votes, ... and some... And I'm being nice about it! 

Apr 24, 2013 4:20PM
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If I had a child to give advice to, I would tell them as soon as they get their first job, even a summer job. to find a way, find something interesting you like to do, figure out by yourself or with others, on what you or all can make a living at, and avoid if at all possible, working for Corporate America. Finding your own way without having to kowtow for 30-40 years to corporate BIMs, Buffoons, Idiots, and Morons, will make you a happy and sane person. Let's face it. The worker today is just an inconvenient budget line item that they are happy and willing to delete in a seconds notice.
Apr 24, 2013 3:59PM
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"Demise" is not a verb, you cretins.
Apr 24, 2013 4:05PM
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Either way they are out of a job.  Don't sugar coat it, don't try to use fancy words.  SHow it for what it is.
Apr 24, 2013 4:15PM
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Whoever pitched that idea should be DEMISED!
Apr 24, 2013 3:19PM
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How many banks have union employees? I know of none.
Apr 24, 2013 3:51PM
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WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OLD TERMS--ATTRITION AND DOWNSIZING?  IN OTHER WORDS, WE CAN HIRE NEW EMPLOYEES AT A LESSER SALARY AND WE DON'T HAVE TO PAY THEM AS MUCH.................EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE IN ALL ENDEAVORS ARE SO PASSE NOW!  LET'S CONTINUE TO BRING IN LOW SALARIES AND INCOMPETENCIES IN THE WORKPLACE.  WE ARE ALWAYS TO HAPPY TO DEAL WITH SOMEONE THAT PUTS YOU ON HOLD TO GET A QUESTION ANSWERED OR TRANSFERS YOU TO THEIR SUPERVISORS.
Apr 24, 2013 3:48PM
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Not to even mention that "demise" is a noun, not a verb. You know, like "access" and "parent".
Apr 24, 2013 3:03PM
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Screw the freakin' unions.  I'm sorry for those that lost their jobs but this has been going on in the private sector for years and now it's time for the union workers to share the pain with the rest of us.


Apr 24, 2013 3:51PM
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The British refer to it is becoming redundant.
Apr 24, 2013 4:08PM
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Once heard it being described as "He's taking advantage of an early retirement opportunity" when they shoved a 62 year old coworker out the door. They actually threw a retirement lunch for him.
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