Shape Up or Ship Out!
Dec 19, 2013 | 1107 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WITH OUR economy being the poorest it has been for many years most folks are having to “pinch pennies” to make ends meet.  Even so, the price of the necessities of life is still going up.  Those retired living on a “fixed income” often are forced to make decisions of what they will have to do without.  It often comes to the point of settling for a cheaper brand of a particular product than the brand one is accustomed to buy.  There are some businesses which had given a ten per cent discount to the elderly are discontinuing doing so.

With these things in mind the elderly and the handicapped are forced to look unto the government for some kind of additional help.  Some of them seek some type of employment for a little additional income.  This often includes being greeters at a mercantile store, especially a major discount store.  Others in an effort to obtain a little bit more money walk along highways picking up aluminum cans in order to earn a few more dollars.

Even some breadwinners in younger families have to work at more than one job in order to provide for their family. 

WITH HIGH unemployment those who employ have greater opportunity to be more selective in who they hirie.  Those who are just looking for a paycheck may soon find no one will hire them.  After all, even employers want more productivity for the money they are dishing out to their employees.

“Shape up or ship out!” is blunt terminology of saying, “Either you better start being more productive or you’ll be fired!”  That expression is used in many other areas in addition to one’s employment.  It is a way of saying, “Your attitude is not right, you better do better or we are parting company.” 

How and when did that expression get started?  It was first used during World War II.  If a soldier was not performing his duties up to par then he might be told:  “Either shape up, or ship out!”  This meant if he did not change for the better in carrying out his duties he will be shipped out to a war zone.  After World War II it became commonly used about poor performance or a bad attitude will not be tolerated.  It has come to mean either get it right, or get out!

Dub Mowery is a Gospel preacher in the Church of Christ. A native of Southeast Oklahoma, he is the author of Colloquial Sayings & Expressions (Morris Publishing, 2008)
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