can\'t have you outside the tent pissing in

English translation: I need you onside

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:can\'t have you outside the tent pissing in
English translation:I need you onside

02:53 Oct 3, 2018
    The asker opted for community grading. The question was closed on 2018-10-06 16:54:08 based on peer agreement (or, if there were too few peer comments, asker preference.)


English to English translations [PRO]
General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters / can\'t have you outside the tent pissing in
English term or phrase: can\'t have you outside the tent pissing in
Boss: I need to know you'll be loyal. You'll have to respect my authority, I can't have you outside the tent pissing in.

Employee: I'll piss miles away from the tent. You won't even notice my piss.


The situation is that an employee get sacked begging his old boss to return him to the job. The boss has some conditions and he said this phrase. I know it is taken from old quote but I didn't figure out the meaning in this context.

Thanks in advance,
sjaatoul
Canada
Local time: 03:21
I need you onside
Explanation:
It means that the employee must support the manager and not undermine him or her. If you piss out of the tent, you don't harm anyone. If you piss into it, you do.
Selected response from:

philgoddard
United States
Grading comment
Thanks a lot.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +7I need you onside
philgoddard
4I can't afford the risk of you causing me troubles from the outside
Daryo
2 +1no quiero que seas/estés como la mosca detrás de mi oreja
Marina Menendez


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +1
no quiero que seas/estés como la mosca detrás de mi oreja


Explanation:
Con el sentido de evitar que sea una fuente constante de preocupaciones, que pueda hacer algo que lo perjudique.

La frase completa es "It is better to have the camels inside the tent
pissing out than outside the tent pissing in". Significa mantener a personas molestas/peligrosas/poderososas, etc. de nuestro lado para poder controlarlas o evitar que se conviertan en adversarios. Es una frase típica de la diplomacia.

La traducción literal no tendría sentido en español, por eso propongo un equivalente aproximado.

Marina Menendez
Argentina
Local time: 04:21
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  lorenab23: Hi Marina, this is an English<>English question
57 mins

agree  acetran
6 days
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +7
I need you onside


Explanation:
It means that the employee must support the manager and not undermine him or her. If you piss out of the tent, you don't harm anyone. If you piss into it, you do.


philgoddard
United States
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 36
Grading comment
Thanks a lot.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jack Doughty
35 mins

agree  Mark Nathan
1 hr

agree  Tony M
1 hr

agree  Sarah Bessioud
1 hr

agree  missdutch: It's what they said about Boris Johnson being appointed as Foreign Secretary by Theresa May, in 2016...;-) Ha ha, "camping" with the Tories is no mean feat.
1 hr
  -> And now he's pissing into the tent!

agree  Charles Davis: Credit where it's due: it was coined by Lyndon Johnson, who said it of J. Edgar Hoover (no earlier use attested).
2 hrs
  -> Thanks.

agree  Yvonne Gallagher
3 hrs

disagree  Daryo: you misinterpreted it a totally wrong direction. This employee was sacked [= he's "outside"] and FOI troublesome EX-employees (with or without good cause) are a not so rare fact of life; some CAN be a real pain in the neck/do very serious damage.
14 hrs
  -> You're misunderstanding the phrase. It doesn't mean outside the company, and he can't cause problems if he's been sacked.

agree  acetran
6 days
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

17 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
can't have you outside the tent pissing in
I can't afford the risk of you causing me troubles from the outside


Explanation:
better the lesser evil - you being admitted inside.

That definitely applied to the FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover; seems that this (ex becoming future / born again) employee is also more trouble when kicked out than when left in.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 20 hrs (2018-10-03 23:35:23 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

if you look at the full quote, the intended meaning is clear - it's about choosing the lesser evil:

It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.

Lyndon Johnson about J. Edgar Hoover

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/J._Edgar_Hoover


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 days 6 hrs (2018-10-06 09:46:25 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The situation is that an employee get sacked begging his old boss to return him to the job. The boss has some conditions [**for taking the employee back**] and he said this phrase.

"Boss: I need to know you'll be loyal. You'll have to respect my authority, I can't have you outside the tent pissing in.

Employee: I'll piss miles away from the tent. You won't even notice my piss."

IOW we have all the ingredients for this recipe:

"It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in."


begging his old boss to return him to the job => you can't "return to the job" in you are already "in the job", so this employee must be presently out - it's an ex-employee he's "out of the tent" pissing IN

The boss has some conditions **for taking the employee back**: "You'll have to respect my authority"

What comes next: "I can't have you outside the tent pissing in" is simply a comment on why the boss is willing to consider taking the employee back - the boss doesn't want this ex-employee causing troubles from outside to those inside.

What the boss is saying to the ex-employee he's willing to take back is:

It’s better for me to have you inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.

And as sign of goodwill the returning employee promises that once "inside the tent / back to his job" he will

"piss miles away from the tent. You won't even notice my piss." (IOW I won't be causing you any troubles).

A variation on "if you can't defeat them, then join them", or in this case "if you can't stop an ex-employee being a nuisance, better take him back"


Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:21
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in SerbianSerbian, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 4
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)



Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs (or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.

KudoZ™ translation help

The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.


See also:

Your current localization setting

English

Select a language

Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search