Fit in or fuck off

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"Fit in or fuck off" ("FIFO")[1] is an informal reference to a controversial[2][3] human resources philosophy whereby the employee is expected to conform to the prevailing organizational norms or get fired.[4][5] It is also used to impose conformity to perceived racial, national, gender or societal norms.


The principle can directly affect hiring and retention decisions. In the world of television news, there is a bias to hire those who have shared values and biases with the organization.[6][7] Likewise, executive producers of news shows tend to hire staff that share their ideology and viewpoint, to the extent that FIFO is ruthlessly applied.[6]

Writer Kevin Duncan, in his book titled The Business Bullshit Book: The world's most comprehensive dictionary, suggests it is a "no-holds barred", "frank" and open assessment by a supervisor, who maps the employee's chances and alternate career paths boldly, forthrightly and unhesitatingly. This is said to be "not necessarily" to the employee's advantage.[8]

Fitting in is not "a one way ticket." The Guardian newspaper quoted an anonymous source, who was employed by a United Kingdom housing association, said that FIFO is a rule of organizational life. It is an organizational paradigm whereby the members of the team adopt 'protective coloration' and undergo a change in their behavior and beliefs. It is a strong deterrent to whistle blowing, for example.[9]

Corporate implementation of a FIFO policy was said to be coincidental, if not causally-related, to a toxic tit-for-tat relationship with a union.[3] As The Tyee opines:

"One of the few things that the union and management agree on is that there is a new culture at Telus. Management describes it as the culture of a competitive meritocracy. Some people in the union at Telus call it the 'FIFO war.'

"The term comes from Telus CEO Darren Entwistle, the Montreal-born executive who came to Telus five years ago from a telecommunications company in the U.K. In a profile of Entwistle that ran in B.C. Business magazine in May, Lori Bamber wrote this about FIFO:

"'In accounting it stands for 'first in, first out'; at Telus, after Entwistle's arrival, it stood for 'fit in or fuck off.' It wasn't something that endeared him to people who heard about it. 'You could get away with more in Europe,' he says when asked about this controversial human resources philosophy. 'People expect you to tell it like it is there.'"[3][B]

In the United Kingdom there were government proposals to statutorily extend Employment-at-will and permit employers to have immunity for "Fit in or fuck off" (not in those words) discussions with employees. Such proposals have met with vocal opposition by organized labor, specifically Unite the Union.[11]


The acronym "FIFO", the neologism, the phrase and meme "fit in or fuck off", and the concept have been expanded and exported to other contexts. For example it is used as a justification for racism, nationalism (e.g., jingoism), ethnic, nativist, immigrant restriction and xenophobic reaction, regulation and action.[2][12][13][14] It is a direction in the United States to assimilate and be productive.[15]

Sexist reactions and stereotypes are also justified under the rubric.[16] Thus, female guests on podcasts of This American Life have been often criticized for 'non-Alpha' speech patterns, even though prominent males (e.g., Noam Chomsky) have exhibited similar traits.[16] Some have advised these women to "FIFO".[16]

It has become a contentious anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant slogan in Canada.[C]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ This is common in large mining regions in Australia[10] and Canada.
  2. ^ It is related to the "last hired, first fired" concept. FIFO more commonly stands for first in first out or fly-in fly-out. It should not be conflated with another human resources concept that uses the same "FIFO" acronym – Fly-in fly-out is a method of employing people in remote areas by flying them temporarily to the work site instead of relocating employees and their families permanently.[A] So the casual observer may confuse it with that meaning.[3]
  3. ^ "'Fit in or fuck off' is a miss-led and uneducated slogan ordering anyone not subscribing to the white man's world to find the nearest exit. It is also a fear-induced reaction from a small number of Canadians resulting from the shootings in Ottawa, Ontario this past week. .... If you're really a Canadian, then you know that 'fit in or fuck off' does not follow the national mandate."[17][18]


  1. ^ Dalzell 2015, p. 297.
  2. ^ a b Sarra 2013, p. 279.
  3. ^ a b c d Barrett, Tom (August 8, 2005). The Video that Outrages Telus Employees. The Tyee. Retrieved October 14, 2017. Lewd 'team building' party, caught on tape, further soured relations inside phone firm.
  4. ^ Bamber L (2 May 2005) On the Line with Darren Entwistle BC Business
  5. ^ Saunders, Skye; Easteal, Patricia Lynn (2012). "'Fit in or F#$@ Off!': The (Non) Reporting of Sexual Harassment in Rural Workplaces'". International Journal of Rural Law and Policy. 2: 1–17. doi:10.5130/ijrlp.i2.2012.3127. ISSN 1839-745X.(subscription required)
  6. ^ a b Bivens 2014, p. 143.
  7. ^ Buerk 2005, p. 96.
  8. ^ Duncan 2017, p. 10.
  9. ^ The Guardian (2015) quoted in Ash, Angie. Whistleblowing and Ethics in Health and Social Care. City: Jessica Kingsley. pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-1-78450-108-2.
  10. ^ "Rio Tinto flies former Gunns workers to its Pilbara mine sites". International Business Times. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  11. ^ Burke, Tony (November 25, 2011). "Vince Cable's employment rights changes – "fit in or f**k off"". Tony Burke. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  12. ^ Ward, Trevor (March 26, 2013). "An Englishman in Scotland The English and the Scots have always had a bit of a turbulent relationship but Sabotage Times discovers that what was once refered [sic] to as "friendly banter" has now boiled over into full blown racism". Sabotage Times. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  13. ^ Giggs 2015, p. 112.
  14. ^ Wells, Theresa E. (July 28, 2016). "Why People Who Don't Fit in Should Never Fuck Off". Retrieved October 12, 2017.[unreliable source?]
  15. ^ "Immigrants – Fit in or Fuck Off". Small American Business. January 15, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  16. ^ a b c Holman 2017, pp. 123-124.
  17. ^ Pavel, James (October 24, 2014). "'Fit in or F**k off' is a slogan for the weak and frightened". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  18. ^ "Fit in of fuck off". Friendly Humanist. Retrieved November 29, 2017.