Trivia

Hard

If Someone Is Promoted Within A Company In Order To Minimize The Harm They Can Cause, They’ve Been?

Peter Promoted
Laterally Integrated
Rubber Roomed
Kicked Upstairs
The Prime Tower skyscraper in Zurich, Switzerland.
Ank Kumar/Wikimedia

Answer: Kicked Upstairs

There’s a phenomenon in organizations wherein someone working for them cannot be easily eliminated for some reason, but the organization no longer wants the person in their particular role. The person in question is promoted and/or given a new title within the organization that distances them from their previous position so that it may be filled by someone else (or, in many cases, simply to prevent the person from causing any more harm in their prior position).

The term comes from British politics where “upstairs” is the House of Lords. The House of Lords sits in contrast to the House of Commons (a place where many would argue the real political work is done) and anyone with a position in the House of Lords (which comes with a title) is disqualified to sit in the House of Commons. To be kicked upstairs, in this context, is to be pushed “up” into the House of Lords where you will, presumably, be out of the way.

Lest you think this phenomenon is a curious artifact of British political life, however, know that phrases for the exact same thing exist around the world. While the British might say “kicked upstairs”, the Russians refer to it as “otfutbolit na cherdak” (“kicked up to the attic”), and in Japan they even have a specific name for it and call them “madogiwazoku” (“by the window tribe”), referring to people who have been promoted to nice offices with windows to get them out of the way.

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