"Forced To Resign"

I was reading a NY Times article today concerning the difficulties Harvard’s President is having with his Faculty. Sounds like they are having fun up in Cambridge.

However, that’s not the point of today’s random rambling. Inside the article was this phrase.

“Some faculty members also say they would like the university’s governing board, the Harvard Corporation, to force Mr. Summers to resign.

It gotten me to thinkin’. What is the difference between being “forced to resign” and being “fired like the scum you are?”

Well, actually, even I think that comment a bit flippant. I realize the difference in the above example is usually a matter of politics (“You are not toeing my line!”) rather than ability (“You said that this bridge would only need one beam, and now five people are road pizza!”), but the phrase itself is one of those passive phrases such as “mistakes were made” that gets bandied around so much, all of its meaning is buried in the subtext.

A google search for the phrase “Forced to Resign” returns about 1.15 million hits as of today (2/14/06). That’s a lot of hits, and I obviously did not read each one, but a quick perusal of the first few pages shows that the top-counted hits are all related to corporate and/or political infighting. No one is “forced to resign” from McDonalds. They just fire you.

In the example that started this blog, of the Harvard University President, does it really make any difference whether or not the board “forces him to resign” or sends him a Donald-gram (“You’re fired!”)? The outcome is the same; everyone knows what happened; obviously news organs will cover it and no one will seriously believe he stepped down of his own accord (if this takes place of course. All strictly hypothetical).

So let’s not bandy around the bullshit. If your boss asks you to resign, you’ve been fired, end of story.

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