Streams

Losing a Job, Finding a Life

Monday, March 19, 2012

James Kunen chronicles his adventures on the road to finding meaning in work and life. His memoir Diary of a Company Man: Losing a Job, Finding a Life is the story of a 1960s radical turned corporate PR man who finds himself, along with his fellow baby boomers, in a place he calls “too young to retire and too old to hire.”

Guests:

James Kunen

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Comments [6]

Stephen from CT

Remembering James Kunen from his book The Strawberry Statement,
I looked forward to hearing his views from the perspective of
the ensuing years, only to find him excluded from the podcast
of your program of 19 March. What gives?

Mar. 20 2012 11:39 AM
Johnny from Ithaca New York

Its a wonderful book. Highly recommend it!

Mar. 19 2012 08:45 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

This has been occurring for decades or longer... American management (whoever THEY are!) has been dumping human capital (via layoffs, outsourcing, etc) to lower costs and increase profits -- which accrue to the higher-level executives.

And they do this many times when the higher level execs have made the big mistakes, that cost the company tons of money and/or marketshare, etc.

Who pays? The worker bees!

This trick takes no brains. The REAL work of figuring out how to make a go of a company or to make a company better by really digging in and doing the hard work of using their brains -- and by creating a culture that allows a certain amount of risk and failure (to learn from and improve) -- that seems beyond them.

They always have the same story: "I'm paid exorbitantly because I am indispensable to the company" but whenever something goes south, they say "I didn't know that was going on" or "I wasn't involved in that decision."

So, heads they win, tail we all lose.

And we wonder why there are all those "occupy" movements....

Mar. 19 2012 02:00 PM
John from Ridgefield Park

(they were) committing crimes in the streets because they didn't have anywhere better to commit them.

That's the best sadly-hilarious thing I think I've ever heard.

Mar. 19 2012 01:54 PM
RWriter from Manhattan

Hooray for us renegade adults!
Thanks for this- JK is inspiring.

I find that it is really hard to get any financial aid for self-reinvention via education in middle age.
And I can't saddle myself with loans.

we need more scholarships and grants for us middles.

Mar. 19 2012 01:53 PM
Karen from NYC

This is happening to me. I work for a highly-esteemed law firm that is reorganizing my department and is setting up me and at least one other older employee to be fired. By "set up," mean that developments in age discrmination law -- specifically, the "Gross" case, decided by the US Supreme Court in 2009 and reported on in February 2011 by NPR -- allow employers to fire older employees if the employer has any other motive in addition to age for such termination. In other words, unlike in gender and race discrimination, there is no "mixed motive" cause of action in age discrimination cases. This decision effectively guts ADEA, because there is always another reason -- e.g., an economic one -- for getting rid of the older employee.

It's nice to add meaning to your life, but meaning won't pay your mortgage. The federal age discrimination statutes need to be amended to overrule Gross. I intend to raise hell all the way out the door, and I think that all of us should do the same. Do not go quietly into that "life with meaning." Save our jobs.

Mar. 19 2012 01:51 PM

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