The Long Term Unemployed Meets The Company Men

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
The Long Term Unemployed Meets The Company Men

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unemployedLast week I read about the woes of the 99 week unemployed, referred to by some as the 99-ers.  For many in this group, savings accounts have run dry, benefits have run out, and, by the looks of things, social services such as food assistance and low cost medical care are being cut to the bone if not eliminated by our State and Federal governments.  (And no, this is not a political statement about one political party or another.  As far as I am concerned, most political types are egotistical do-nothings that serve their own interests and not those of the rank and file populace.)

Having long term unemployed workers is bad for everyone.  With no money coming in, these folks have no money going out.  And you wonder why consumer spending is at an all time low?  Even an economics knucklehead such as myself can figure this one out.  In addition, many of these people have lost their homes and have moved in with friends or relatives. Their dignity has suffered as has the privacy most of us expect within the domain of the four walls we call home.

And sadly, many of these unemployed are middle aged or older and are facing the last half of their life with nothing to look forward to than the handouts of others and more of the same, day in, day out.  Yes, this is very sad.

It would be easy to say that these folks were overpaid workers in an industry that was top heavy with management and executive types.  But the truth is that many were hard working people who did their jobs diligently, were loyal to their employers, and were simply at the wrong place and the wrong time in our world economy.

Meantime, back in the executive suite, the bosses are still having $50 lunches, driving around in limos, and golfing at the county club.  They are doing so with bonus money provided by government bailouts and other sneaky sources of funds that only the alphabet soup of government agencies can identify.

Something is wrong with this picture and we all know it.

Reality meets The Company Men

Last week I also watched the movie “The Company Men”.  With an  all all star cast including Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and others, this movie tells a tale of the sudden downsizing of some corporate types who have lived by the treacherous adage “you are what you do.”  Yes, many of the ousted are supposedly company executives.  But many are also what we would call young, middle management types that are on the brink of their careers, working hard to support their families in the best way they can.

The company they work for is depicted as a shark tank in which the only thing that matters is the bottom line. The old days of corporate beneficence and loyalty to longtime employees are long gone.

So what happens?  I don’t want to be too much of a spoiler but the downsized employees learn to face the truth about corporate America and learn that there may not be much glory on donning a shirt and tie and downing a daily power lunch.  Sure, they have lived at the edge of their means if not beyond their means.  But now they must move in with family, find pleasure from simple recreational activities, and most of all learn the hard lesson that bigger and more expensive does not mean better.

Oh, I forgot to mention:  they learn that self-worth comes from within and from the way you live your life and not from your job, your career or your bank account.

The tale of the Company Men aligns with the long term unemployed and the 99-ers in so many ways.

The unemployed come from many walks of life – from the factory floors to the management suite.  They are also all ages, from the young just starting their careers to older folks, close to retirement age and beyond.

In the movie, as in real life, homes have been lost and paying for food has becomes a challenge.

Many of the unemployed have had to deal with the psychological trauma of dealing with the “you are what you do mentality”.  Since they are now doing “nothing” by society’s standards, they are nothing.  Or so they believe.

Once unemployed, it no longer matters what someone did when they were gainfully employed.  It does not matter at all and a feeling of despondency and uselessness prevails.

Regardless of how they became unemployed, most people need and want to work and do not want to be dependent upon a government benefit system to subsist.

The longer someone is unemployed, the less likely they are to find another position utilizing their experience and skill set.

So for today, I would like to pause and remember that the unemployed are not simply a bunch of lazy bums that are taking advantage of an overly generous benefit system.  The vast majority are not at all lazy and most certainly, our benefit system is skimpy when attending to the needs of our long term unemployed.  Like the displaced workers in the dog-eat-dog world of The Company Men, today’s unemployed need something to do – not only for the money but also for a sense of accomplishment and self-fulfillment.

At the risk of being overly simplistic, I say forget budget talks, debt ceilings, and political posturing.  Create jobs and the money will come.  It is time to bail our own people.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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And finally, don’t forget to check out Emergency Essentials for your long term storage food items.  Check out the July specials, including 20% off on prepackaged meals.  They also have select Mountain House Cans back in stock.

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9 Responses to “The Long Term Unemployed Meets The Company Men”

  1. Very good Gaye…I went through this back in 1991. It was the best thing that ever happen to me. Being in middle managment. From that time til now I worked for a few other corps, but mainly I have been independent/self employed. As you gather I don’t trust corporations-gov…and yes your article is super and it is about time all hardworking people(not just the unemployed) take action. It reminds me of the slogan from the VVA has just recently adopted “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another”. We all need to change our thinking and start demanding heads to roll in the corp-gov fiasco.

    • For most of my life, I too have been self employed. The sloppiness, the waste and the corruption in the corporate world (and I include government) is disgusting. The so-called leadership sets the tone in bureaucratic organizations and over and over I have seen the wasteful and dishonest culture of the so-called senior managers be trickled down to the rank and file. That is why we see employees spending 3 or 4 hours a day on Facebook, shopping or celebrity sites. Don’t get me going on that . . . to me it is white collar crime to steal time from an employer.

  2. I certainly agree with the premise of your post. What we have now doesn’t work. People are cast adrift and as long as it doesn’t happen to a family member the vast majority don’t seem to care much about it. The system is broken beyond repair. I wonder what will replace it, and how soon.

  3. Not only do we need to remove the majority of the politicians serving, we need to remove the Supreme Court Justices and make lobbying an illegal act. I might also suggest culling the lower, presidential appointed positions. If we do this at the Federal level then this action will filter down to the state and local level. The question for Americans remain – are we truly peaceful, or are the actions we see on the news in other countries coming to our own cities. How angry are we?

    • It is my belief that most people, while agreeing with you, will not do anything out of frustration or a feeling that nothing will help. You ideas are valid but alas, Americans are impatient and they need to recognize that this may be a 50 or 60 year process. Baby steps now will pay dividends later IMO.

  4. And let us not forget – how many millions of taxpayer dollars are spent every day on the various wars throughout the world to supposedly make us more safe – wars that our own people do not want us to be engaged in but our politicans do. And how many millions of dollars are spent to help other foreign countries? These same billions of taxpayer dollars SHOULD be used to help our own people in our OWN country. But the politicans don’t give a moneky’s behind about the ‘people’- the only thing they care about is getting reelected so they can reap all the wonderful benefits that they get (and will receive when they leave office) – benefits that the average citizen will never have in their lifetime. It doesn’t matter what party affiliation they are or what they promise – once they get to DC, they have to play by the ‘rules’ – rules that have everything to do with politics and all the ugliness associated with it and nothing to do for the good of the people they are suppose to represent.

  5. Enjoy your new pressure canner!
    May I suggest taking lessons from a friend, or from your local extension office?
    This will give you confidence and reassurance that you are doing things right, as well
    as give you some good canning tips!

  6. I mostly agree, and strongly agree that few of the unemployed are so at their own fault or by choice.

    USA tax rates, OSHA rules, EPA rules, workers comp and healthcare costs all provide strong incentives for corporations to offshore USA jobs. The additional cost above salary to retain an American fulltime worker with benefits runs from 80-150% of wages. USA government, instead of defending its manufacturing base and domestic workforce (as in Germany, with higher wage and benefit costs) has instead provided further incentives to offshore these positions. Once these jobs are gone it is very difficult to get them back. Meanwhile these same large corporations have captured the government through political contributions, and are unlikely to allow these policies to change; especially since this very offshoring increases the profits that set their executive bonuses.

    One $800 billion TARP bailout would pay US unemployment benefits for about 100 years. The politicians and bankers have spent several trillion (billed to the taxpayer) bailing out their favored (mostly financial)corporations, but we are told there is no money to extend unemployment insurance further.

    Recently Obama spoke about the need to create US jobs. His actions speak otherwise. (No, i don’t think Bush was much better). In December he visited India with an entourage of around 500 to promote the increased business opportunity for “American” multinationals. This spring several corporations (including Cisco) announced increased hiring in India. Just recently Cisco announced 10,000 US layoffs. I suspect there will be more similiar moves by other corporations soon.

  7. You say, “At the risk of being overly simplistic, I say forget budget talks, debt ceilings, and political posturing.”
    It seems that no matter how much our overpaid politicians steal from the people . . . and no matter how many election cycles the people are decieved by the same hollow promises . . . the people will not take the ONLY action that could possibly fix the real problem: Remove ALL politicians that represent the corporate-owned 2-party system duped as – “Democrats” AND “Republicans”!
    Removal should by be vote, but if that is not possible – then by “serving papers” to them in a massive march at the place where they do their criminal activity. It is absolutely time for the PEOPLE to fix the problem. What better thing could the millions of unemployed possibly do?

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