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Pink slips

In Zippy this morning someone was fired and given a pink slip. He asked "You couldn't have made it a blue or maybe a brown slip?"

rsc wondered if anyone ever gives pink slips to fire people these days. In my career I "officially fired" a very small number of people and there were no pink slips involved.

This reminds me the time that I had noticed we had some kind of disciplinary form in the supply room. I had a fish tank in my office and one day I got tired of the angel fish who kept eating other fish so I removed it from the tank and let it die. Then I filled out one of the discipline slips and pinned it with the dead fish to my bulletin board. Did everyone in the office behave better because of this example? No, it just confirmed their view that I was a bit weird.

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As far as I know, "pink slip" has always been metaphorical, never literal. According to the OED, the phrase was first used in a 1915 pulp novel about baseball.

Really? Some author just invented it out of thin air? This strikes me as improbable.

It does seem improbable, now that you mention it. But that was the best info I could get out of Ask.com.

I read a conjecture that it could have come from a multipart form where one of the copies was pink (they usually were different colors - the RedSox ticket form is white and the customer copy is yellow) and that was the one that was given to the employee.

I read that too, but hardly likely as the origin of the term if it was first used in 1915 - NCR paper with white/yellow/pink copies were way in the future then.

Well, you are... as are most of my friends.

A dead fish pinned to a bulletin board?

They crucified thousands of criminals in Ancient Rome, but that didn't deter wrong behavior, either! :)

Edited at 2010-08-10 06:13 pm (UTC)

Well, it worked; no more fish were eaten!

a friend of mine was one of several laid off from his Ontario Government position. On their last day of employment they went out for drinks together (nearly all of them male over 35), and all wearing pink slips from Goodwill or similar source.

(I did NOT get a pink slip when I had my hair this colour)

I never even thought of this! I've been fired, once and laid off twice - never any slips of any color.

We did used to have pink slip job hunting parties here in Seattle back when the dot coms were imploding hourly. I think they used pink cocktail napkins.

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I recall no smell.

I had another incident about non-smell. On day when cleaning up some of my office I found a brown paper bag which contained what I called petrified bananas. They were at least a year old, had no smell and where quite nice. I pinned them up to my bulletin board. Years later after we moved out of the office I brought them home but during the renovation in 2001 I lost them. (Yes I tend to keep things for a very long time).

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