You’re Fired!


Jeff Genung

As much of a caricature as he is, I’ve still got to admire a man like Donald Trump. His bizarre feud with Rosie and Barbara notwithstanding, I’ve always respected Trump’s awareness of his own tremendous ego, and the unabashed honesty which it engenders.

I’ll confess here to being a longtime fan of Trump’s network TV job interview, “The Apprentice.” It’s high on kitsch of course, but I can’t help but marvel at his business savvy, and the way in which he dismisses his hopeful job candidates …

“You’re fired!”

It’s become a popular catchphrase, but it’s not one you’ll hear in Chenango County – at least not on the record. You see, in the land of political correctness that we’ve apparently acquiesced into, no one in Chenango County gets fired anymore. At least from a public position.

They’re “dismissed.” Sometimes “let go.” Often they leave “for personal reasons” or to “pursue other opportunities.” It’s almost always a “mutual decision.” Once in a while it’s even a “parting of the ways” or a “change in direction.” But no one is ever, ever “fired.”

The few times I’ve dared to use that nasty word in the paper regarding a public official, I’ve been chastised for it, usually by the person who did the ax-lowering, sometimes by the person who got the ax.

Years ago, I got into a spat with a P&G public relations hack who insisted that a score of employees weren’t “fired.” No, it seems the people who lost their jobs were “involuntarily separated.” Lord love a duck.

Just recently, when the Chamber’s CEO was “let go,” I erred on the side of caution and did not use the word “fired” in the newspaper. Instead, a subhead said “ousted.” I’ve since been informed that “ousted” is also a nasty word. I can’t win.

I don’t know when we became afraid to call a spade a spade. Or when we started calling inmates “consumers,” for that matter. All I know is, I’m all for Donald Trump and his refreshing bluntness. A couple years back, an employee of mine who saw the writing on the wall said during our final closed-door meeting, “You’re letting me go, aren’t you?” “No,” I said. “I’m firing you.”

And it felt good.