Leaving office to ‘spend time with my family’

Washington is a town of euphemisms. When I read that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar had announced that he is leaving his cabinet post in March to “spend time with his family”, my first reaction was that he had been asked to leave for some reason or other, essentially fired from his post, and that he was being allowed to do so gracefully.

I then realized that the only reason for my thinking this was because “spending more time with the family” has become the preferred euphemism for being forced out under a cloud. But the news report says that my suspicions were unfounded and that according to all indications, he has done a good job and in fact the administration would have liked him to continue.

But those who stop reading after hearing that he wants to spend more time with his family may, like me, jump to the conclusion that he was fired. This seems unfair to those people who really are leaving because they want to spend more time with their families. Apparently Salazar has specific family responsibilities that are truly demanding.

Perhaps they need to come up with a different reason that does not have all the negative connotations that this innocuous phrase has acquired over time. Perhaps “I need to catch up on my reading” or “I want to spend some time traveling or “I am bored with this job and need a change of pace and scene” or “It is time to let someone else take over.”


  1. kevinalexander says

    Or how about ‘The interior secretary’s job is about dealing with all the right wing nuts who insist that god gave the interior to them to use up. I’ve done a good job but I’m burned out, I’m outta here’

  2. Acolyte of Sagan says

    ‘Taking some much needed gardening leave” is a common one over here in the UK, but I don’t suppose it would work so well in the States, where so many live in apartments. How much attention do window boxes need?

  3. DLC says

    Outside of government circles being fired is “has decided to leave the firm to pursue other opportunities.”
    or “has come to a mutually agreed-upon departure from the company”

  4. jamessweet says

    “I’ve decided to follow my dream of competitive crocheting.” That would be a good one…

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