a heads up: A warning: “I just wanted to give you a heads up that the meeting time has been changed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.”

to take in a nose dive: To fall sharply (almost straight down), as in a swimmer taking a high and head-first dive into a pool. “The markets took a nose dive today.”

the scuttlebutt1271176642-watercoolerGossip or rumor in an office situation. Like standing near the water cooler talking, a “scuttlebutt” was the cask around which sailors would gather to drink fresh water during the day and trade information.

a pink slip: The notice, traditionally pink, given to an employee and serving as notice that his or her job is in danger of being eliminated.

a positive spin: To see a story or fact in a good way. “The boss tried to put a positive spin on Mary’s leaving, but it is very disheartening.” This expression comes from spinning, the art of weaving threads together to create cloth.

to downsize: To shrink, become smaller. Individuals “downsize” or move to smaller homes, usually after children are grown. Companies downsize when they lay off employees and sell holdings, due to financial losses.

on the job market: To be looking for work. Job seekers are seen as a “market” from which employers choose, and an individual looking for a job becomes part of this market.

in the black: To be profitable, taking in more money than spent. From accounting, where traditionally positive income is shown in black ink.

in the red: To be losing money, spending more than taking in. Again from accounting, where expenditures are shown in red ink.