Back in the days of travelling tradesmen, workers would carry their work tools in a sack. A new employer would hold their sack for them while they were at a job. If the boss was unhappy with an employee's work, he would give the work bag back –"sacking" them and they would move along… If they did something really bad, he would burn the tools and sack and they would be "fired", no longer able to work in a trade without their tools.
I found this information on pages 106 & 107 in the book Red Herrings & White Elephantsby Albert Jack. It has the origins of many of the phrases we use every day. There were quite a few that really made me laugh when I learned how they had come about.
It can be devastating to be let go. What To Do When You Are Fired or Laid Off by PK Fontana is a complete guide to the benefits and legal rights you need to know to get back on your feet.
I am a firm believer in "there is always a bright side" so, with that in mind, here are a few books to help you plot your course and use this opportunity to become self-employed, discover opportunities in growing fields or network for a similar position in another company: Thank-you for Firing Me! by Kitty Martini & Candice Reed, Eliminated! Now What? by Jean Baur and Getting Back to Work by Linda K. Rolie are a few good ones.
There are numerous books in our Career Center collection to help you when creating a resume, filling out an application, or preparing for a job interview. But first, take a look at Encore Career Handbook by Marci Alboher to help you pick a meaningful career.
Perhaps, after being fired, you would like a new career as a firefighter! For some local inspiration you should look at Fire boys : 100 years of Everett Firefighting History by Charles Z Henderson.
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