Monday, September 29, 2008

Work Related Sayings

Pink Slip – Dismissal notice
The dreaded Pink Slip - none of us want to receive one. I have been unable to find the origin although we can assume that termination notices were once printed on pink paper.

A Cushy Job - A great job with little effort
During World War II a cushy job was one that did not involve danger or too much hard work. An Anglo-Indian term, cushy is derived from the Hindi, Khush, meaning pleasant.

Boarding the Gravy Train – Where the money flows
It’s easy to see how gravy, a rich sauce used in the 14th century to accompany meat would later be used to described a pleasant trip or something extra. Later, it became an American expression used by railroad workers to describe a well-paid job requiring little effort. Today we use the term to describe financial rewards.

Fish or Cut Bait - Make yourself useful
There is no room in a cramped fishing boat for idle people – so, if you’re not going to fish, then get to work cutting bait, in other words – make yourself useful.

Get Sacked - To be fired
This expression originated in the Industrial Revolution in England around 1700. In those days, mechanics were expected to supply their own tools while working in the age-old factories of the period. When a worker was discharged, he was usually given a sack to carry his tools away.

Where There’s Muck There’s Brass - Money can be made from hard, dirty work
At the end of the 17th century in England, pennies, halfpennies and farthings were made in brass because it was less expensive than gold or silver. As a result, a farthing (one fourth of a penny) was worth nothing. This led to the saying; it’s not worth a brass farthing. Since that time, brass has become a slang word for money.

The Bosses in the Smoke Filled Room - Back stage maneuvering
First used by an Associated Press reporter, Kirke Simpson, who used it to describe back-stage maneuvering for Warren Harding’s nomination at the 1920 Republican convention.

Yellow Dog Contract - Signifying worthlessness
These contracts are illegal now but at one time they were a very good way for employers to stop the spread of unionism. The employers encouraged the employees to sign a contract stating they would not join a union. Yellow Dog was used as an epithet in the 1800’s to signify worthlessness at a time when the Knights of Labor and the A.F.L. were beginning to flex their muscles.