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Writer-Director John Wells on “The Company Men”

We talk to writer-director John Wells about his film “The Company Men,” and life without jobs.

New unemployment claims are down this week. But Fed chair Ben Bernanke is warning it will take years for unemployment to really come down. For many, many Americans it’s already been years.

A new film from writer-director John Wells – “The Company Men” – gives a powerful treatment to the psychic punishment of a jobless economy. Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper and more play white collar go-getters whose lives are – in an instant – blown up by layoffs. Then comes the struggle.

We have a conversation with John Wells about “The Company Men.”

-Tom Ashbrook

Guest:

John Wells, writer and director of “The Company Men.” He’s a longtime television producer and show runner, and he served as executive producer of all 15 seasons of “ER,” and as show runner for the final three seasons of “The West Wing.” He’s currently the executive producer of the TNT crime drama “Southland,” and the Showtime series, “Shameless.” Shows produced by Wells have won 55 Emmy Awards and five Peabody Awards. He also serves as president of the Writers Guild of America, West.

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  • Al Dorman

    I look forward to seeing “The Company Men” because there’s some real dark humor potential in the decline of middle-class America which we’re currently living through. I have my doubts, however, that this film will live up to the high-water marks set by Clooney’s films, “Michael Clayton” and “Up in the Air.”

  • Richard

    This looks great and the cast is spectacular.

    Hey Al, I don’t know how it will compare but Michael Clayton one of my favorite films and Up in the Air is great too. You might enjoy State of Play if you haven’t seen it. Not up to Michael Clayton but quite good.

  • Nick from Northampton

    There should be a movie about all of us that have not one job to survive but two or three now because we can not find work that adequately supports us even in our modest means.

    The joke during the Clinton years was that when he claimed to have created millions of jobs, “my wife and I had four of them.” Now, we are scrambling for work on top of work to make ends meet.

  • Sam E.

    Could you ask Mr. Wells if he agrees with Roger Ebert’s comment that the most happy people are those doing ‘something’ as opposed to workers in corporations who are slaves to the bottom line?

    • Fnord23

      I’d like to know what Mr Wells would have to say to a spectator at one of Teddy Kennedy’s earliest speeches: someone in the crowd, quite possibly a plant, shouted, ‘You haven’t worked a day in your life!’, at which point someone else in the class, even more likely a plant, shouted back, ‘…and you haven’t missed a _damn_ thing!’

      Repetitive and non-creative work is for machines; it is my sincere hope that we will be pitied by future generations for our hierarchical and needless labour as much as we now pity all the hundreds of generations of serfs who were chained to back-breaking, brow-sweating, toil and the oppression needed to keep that system it in place.

    • Fnord23

      I’d like to know what Mr Wells would have to say to a spectator at one of Teddy Kennedy’s earliest speeches: someone in the crowd, quite possibly a plant, shouted, ‘You haven’t worked a day in your life!’, at which point someone else in the class, even more likely a plant, shouted back, ‘…and you haven’t missed a _damn_ thing!’

      Repetitive and non-creative work is for machines; it is my sincere hope that we will be pitied by future generations for our hierarchical and needless labour as much as we now pity all the hundreds of generations of serfs who were chained to back-breaking, brow-sweating, toil and the oppression needed to keep that system it in place.

  • Matt

    Hi Tom, Great topic for your show this morning! I work on as a career counselor and I have seen the devastation and toll it takes on individuals, as well as, have a personal connection to this topic. My father who is in his early 60s, dedicated his life to his job (traveled Monday through Friday – only home on weekends) and has been unemployed for about 3 years and it has really impacted him. Looks like a great movie and look forward to listening to your show.

  • Kathvro

    typo alert: “last three SEASONS”….

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Kathvro!

  • Luddite or Realist?

    We need a more organic economy. More sustatinable and relevant to our simple existence. Food, Shelter, basic enjoyment with friends and family.

    Our complex economy, that serves only to enrich the financial elite via all the pyramid schemes, does not serve us any more, obviously we serve and are beholden to it.

    At some point we will have dump the globalization pyramid scheme, and actually work and organize ourselves around our fundamental economic needs.

    Quit McDonalds and Lockheed, and start growing food again.

  • Earl Shepherd

    Interesting topic for many white Americans. As an older African American, I have witnessed, as well as researched these stories for generations as I explored the lives of older African Americans. America could have learned a great lesson if they had earnestly cared about what was happening to their darker brother.

    • jmp

      You’re right, of course. Just know that a lot of us surely did care…

    • Tina, RI

      Earl, I wrote quite a bit (my pieces are often WAY too long) about the historic background to what you said, “if they had earnestly cared about what was happening to their darker brother”, on Feb. 8, the show about the “Changing Economy”. I’ve written in before with some of the same info, & I don’t think I did my best job on the 8th, but, nevertheless, I wrote several pieces that day on this topic (find them thru edit/find “Barrington” and/or “Ann” — some might be under “Ann” only), tho under a different name. I share info about some really good books. When you say that you’ve “researched these stories,” is any of your work available to the public?

  • Tim_V

    What is missing so far from this particular discussion is the role of the corporations. Callers blame politicians and illegal aliens, but what about the greed that leads to firings?? No loyalty from them, so why from workers? The lust for profit leading to and ides that they have to always make more. Why not keep people on and make just a bit less? And people think unions are the problem, sheesh.

  • Tina, RI

    Newt Gingrich (from earlier hour) KNOWS why there are no jobs, but he participates in the Lie, the Obfuscation! There are no jobs because of Capitalism! As a regular poster to this webpage said earlier this week (I APOLOGIZE for forgetting whom!), corporations are bound by law to protect the shareholders, NOT the workers. The shareholders get more for their “investment” (which is more & more just the gambling of funds, including by corporations being bought out by others, etc.) when the cheapest labor is used … hello to jobs in China, not here.

    As long as we have Republicans speaking with forked tongue; pulling out processions of Trojan Horses; and Faux News enticing regular people to believe in what is NOT in their own best self interest, this will c o n t i n u e !!!!

    We MUST adapt laws that will modify Capitalism — I certainly don’t know how — I don’t have the skills to do so — but I have a vision that it can be done. The problem is, Republicans & Democrats, People working with a Pension plan in place, Retirees, even Union workers, have investments for their retirement, so they all have a pull TOWARDS the way things are. The people who have absolutely NO vested interest in “investments” ARE many in number, but do they even know that THAT is what ties them together? Thanks to SCOTUS decisions, HOW would this group EVER compete to get elected?!! EVER??!!

    As I see it, THIS is the TRUE landscape upon which the issues of Joblessness & Inequities play out. Can we put our heads together & come up with ideas for some modifications to Capitalism that we could propose to W h o m e v e r might listen who has enough power? It IS supposed to be We, The People, who have the power. And I KNOW that various post-ers to this site HAVE had GREAT ideas. If we strung those ideas together, we would have a powerful package to discuss! Otherwise, we try to find a way to live in a Capitalist Oligarchy, with our Democracy set off to the side!

  • Tina, RI

    Newt Gingrich (from earlier hour) KNOWS why there are no jobs, but he participates in the Lie, the Obfuscation! There are no jobs because of Capitalism! As a regular poster to this webpage said earlier this week (I APOLOGIZE for forgetting whom!), corporations are bound by law to protect the shareholders, NOT the workers. The shareholders get more for their “investment” (which is more & more just the gambling of funds, including by corporations being bought out by others, etc.) when the cheapest labor is used … hello to jobs in China, not here.

    As long as we have Republicans speaking with forked tongue; pulling out processions of Trojan Horses; and Faux News enticing regular people to believe in what is NOT in their own best self interest, this will c o n t i n u e !!!!

    We MUST adapt laws that will modify Capitalism — I certainly don’t know how — I don’t have the skills to do so — but I have a vision that it can be done. The problem is, Republicans & Democrats, People working with a Pension plan in place, Retirees, even Union workers, have investments for their retirement, so they all have a pull TOWARDS the way things are. The people who have absolutely NO vested interest in “investments” ARE many in number, but do they even know that THAT is what ties them together? Thanks to SCOTUS decisions, HOW would this group EVER compete to get elected?!! EVER??!!

    As I see it, THIS is the TRUE landscape upon which the issues of Joblessness & Inequities play out. Can we put our heads together & come up with ideas for some modifications to Capitalism that we could propose to W h o m e v e r might listen who has enough power? It IS supposed to be We, The People, who have the power. And I KNOW that various post-ers to this site HAVE had GREAT ideas. If we strung those ideas together, we would have a powerful package to discuss! Otherwise, we try to find a way to live in a Capitalist Oligarchy, with our Democracy set off to the side!

    • Karl-Ayn Stirner

      I think that we have not adjusted to the effect of not needing as many people to provide for our needs as we used to do, and this will only get better as nanotech comes on-line. If we had done this via automation instead of by off-shoring to nations where workers are treated worse than machines (companies -care_ about damage to their machines), we could at least then own those machines in common as a birth-right. I think we have no choice but to improve life abroad to the point where _they_ have to automate…the Bolsheviks and their descendants, in love with State Capitalism as they’ve always were, have no trouble transferring their affections to big companies—whilst retaining their hatred for free and self-organised unions of actual workers.

      Maybe we won’t be able to completely eliminate involuntary labour (coerced by hunger and other sorts of want) any time soon, but we’d all be better off if we did (say) one-quarter so much as we do now. In any event, I think secular techno-anarcho-immortalist communism—Down with Death, Taxes, God, Property, and the State—is a great if asymptotic ideal (if not a possible goals, a good star by which to steer).

      • Tina, RI

        Kari-Ayn, Thanks for the reply. A couple of questions: You say, “The Bolsheviks…in love with State Capitalism” — I always thought that the people SUFFERED under that system & that it was an Oligarchy that kept it in place. I also thought that THAT Oligarchy was the direct opposite to OUR Capitalist Oligarchy. To me, both seem Extreme; I prefer the mixed economies like the Social Democratic economies of Scandinavia. Tho I am sure that even THEY are affected by robots & other technologies, as you point out. WHY do you speak of automation as a PURELY good thing? When I asked, earlier this week, whether corporations were taxed on robots (like we are taxed for OUR employment), another poster pointed out that corps. will NOT pay for using robots; they will be able to DEDUCT for using robots! HOW will that help employment except for the very FEW people brilliant & educated enough to design robots (until THAT profession is ALSO outsourced!)? In other words, I’m not quite sure that I understand your POV. Thanks!

    • Charles A. Bowsher in KY

      Go to the library and borrow a copy of Robert A. Heinlein’s “For us the Living” . It was written in 1939. Midway in the volume there is a very interesting treatise on an alternative economy that to me appears that it would really work. I am no economist, but I am college educated and I have to say that it appears feasible.

      I think our mantra for the future needs to be-

      “They may have all the money, but we have all the votes.”
      I said that.

      • Tina, RI

        Charles, Thanks VERY much for the book reference! I WILL look for it! I like your mantra, too! You said something else earlier this week that was really insightful; I meant to reply, but it got SO late, that I didn’t get around to it.

  • E. Newman Phillips

    Citizens of the United States should be in the streets like the Egyptians. Our plight is the same! I see students who work 40 hours to pay for their education and they worry if their parents will be able to pay their mortgages. But we send billions to Egypt for a despot. Why don’t we see our situations as universal?

  • Bernadette Callister

    Congratulations on finally airing a life experience view of the employment status. It’s so frustrating to hear program after program focus exclusively on the talking heads about abstract principles and NOT enough time talking to and about real people living the reality. If not NPR who. This only scratches the surface and we need more.

  • 2laarmond

    Everyone needs a community to help them up and not judge them. That can never happen in Norfolk, Virginia. The military try to take care of their own, but if they are reserves, they go home and everybody is in the muck and its PTSD city. The haves will hang on to their friends. The rest of us, well, we just have to carry on with ourselves, slip thru your neighborhood on the way to the hospital, or be in your neighborhood if we have to transfer on the bus. Keep on being yourselves, look away, we all wish we could get to the heartland, but are stuck in the muck, and no one is doing a movie about us, in the city of MacArthur at Anacostia. Norfolk, it is what it is. Bring it on, you tube, and independent movie, many, many, would help the remnant left behind here.

    • Tina, RI

      I didn’t hear this whole program today (fundraising interruptions), so I don’t know what you mean by Anacostia. Looking it up thru Google, possibly it’s in Washington, D.C.? If so, try to take heart by remembering this: the GREAT freedom fighter for the human rights, Frederick Douglass, lived in Anacostia. Use his Spirit as your guiding light, even if you are referring to a different Anacostia.

  • Margopittman

    Wow- timely topic- I work in a Real Estate law firm in Virginia Beach VA. The housing market in the Hampton Roads area has devastated homeowners .We created a “Dept. of Distress Relief” in 2008 to help these homeowners and realtors deal with this economy- with Short sales and loan resolutions. WE have on file hundreds of hardship letters.. the stories are absolutely heart-wrenching. Last week 2 of our clients attempted suicide. one actually did kill himself. I have often said, “this economy is killing people” but didn’t know that would actually happen. I have often thought these letters should be compiled in a book, or made into a movie. Just so we never forget the devastation this current economy has had on hard-working, responsible homeowners.

  • Sally

    Although Wells’ film was powerful, please don’t forget that as many women have lost their jobs and the reason is often very personal: the employee’s age. In a tight economy, the appeal of the lower salaries and benefit costs younger employees have motivated employers to clean house at the top. At age 58 I lost my position as an executive at a consulting firm at the very beginning of the recission, spent four years and thousands of dollars trying to find another position, and finally retired to live frugally on my 401(k) and without insurance since pre-existing conditions have made it impossible for me to be insured. This is personal and the effects are many: financial, emotional, physical, social. It destroys dignity and self-esteme.

    • Larry3261

      That is not true. During the recession, 2/3 of all jobs lost were lost by men. That means for every woman who lost a job, two men lost theirs.

    • Tina, RI

      Sally, Your bravery in telling your story is recognized! Actually, you tell MULTIPLE stories, as the “pre-existing conditions” issue is different, tho related, to the age discrimination issue. Thank you!

    • Tina, RI

      Sally, Your bravery in telling your story is recognized! Actually, you tell MULTIPLE stories, as the “pre-existing conditions” issue is different, tho related, to the age discrimination issue. Thank you!

    • Tina, RI

      Sally, Your bravery in telling your story is recognized! Actually, you tell MULTIPLE stories, as the “pre-existing conditions” issue is different, tho related, to the age discrimination issue. Thank you!

    • Robert Hennecke

      6 out 8 million unemployed were men.

  • jp/MA

    Obviously these companies are dumping everyone they can over 40.

    That’s when a worker, rightly so, expects respect, HEALTH CARE and higher pay for a job well done. Well, this country has never been really good about respecting its elders. So if you’ve grown up laughing at older people, viewing them as merely inconvenient, now you see how it is to be older. Not too funny, eh?

    I feel so sorry for folks with children. I know many people affected by these filthy companies.

    Advice to college students: Find your passion, study hard, and stay independent. Working for the man will get you nowhere.

    • Tina, RI

      I just picked up a free brochure about living with chemotherapy at my cancer hospital. There is some helpful info in it. People of all ages get cancer, including, so sadly, children. This brochure, tho, does not show ANYONE much over 38 years old! Talk about humiliating! To have the disease, but be ineligible for inclusion in the brochure, because your age might just “look” too old!

      The ageism in this society is DEEP! Notice how many expensive ads on TV have CHILDREN dictating to their parents which automobiles they should be buying?!!

  • John

    Considering Waterworld, I’m surprised Kevin Costner found employment.

    • Robert Hennecke

      He made lots of decent films like goodfellas, dances with wolves and JFK.

  • James

    When someone gets down-sized for ecomonic reasons and no one is to blame is misleading. We are all to blame. On a goverment level we don’t have foresight. There is no national reinvestment in our infrastucture that will keep business thriving here. Personally we want the cheappest goods imaginable. We’d rather buy something three times at $5 (made cheaply/inexpensively in another country) instead of buying a quality product once at $15 made domestically. Politically there is a favoritism toward big business and no political accountabilty for bad policy. There is blame to go around but it’s more subtle.

    • Dave in CT

      “On a goverment level we don’t have foresight.”

      “Politically there is a favoritism toward big business and no political accountabilty for bad policy.”

      IMHO, Our faith in the promise of the first statement, brings us the State Capitalism tyranny of the second.

      IMO, Democrats keep plugging the promise of the State for Utopian solutions, and both Democrats and Republicans use it for the favoritism to business, toward those ends at best, and toward cronyism at worst. Either way a failed paradigm that supposes that the End justifies the Means. Unfortunately such means will always be corrupted, and keep us from reaching our ends.

      Liberty seems the best chance.

      “Diversity, Ends, and Rules”
      http://www.thefreemanonline.org/headline/diversity-ends-rules/

  • Cheryl

    I loved the film and thought it portrayed how financially “close to the bone” most of the characters lived even though they were upper incomes earners. No matter how much you earn most people spend to the edge which has been a problem in our society.

  • Steve

    I am soooo tired of hearing people suggest that “older white men” deserve the recent job losses. This suggests that every white man has any more control over “the system” when, in fact “the system” takes advantage of everybody.

    These kinds of feelings are not racist or sexist, they are vindictive and, perhaps, violent. The vast majority of white males who have lost their jobs were NOT highly paid or in high positions.

    The real problem is that as men loose jobs, the salaries of women, african-americans, and others will NOT increase as a result.

    I am NOT suggesting that past evils were not such; I am suggesting that replacing one “evil” with another is not an improvement.

    We must not blame each other but address the issues of corporate greed and the outrageous practice of running companies based on the latest stock price and return to the practice of running companies based on long term stability (that is 10 or 20 years, not 2 or 3 quarters).

    Steve in Nashville

  • Charles A. Bowsher in KY

    That’s why we need Health Care for All. The future requires it! We are wasting 4-7% of our GDP on bonuses, dividends and marketing for the health insurance industry and still leaving 40,000,000+ uninusred! In the words of Leonard or Earl Pitts “Wake Up America!”

  • Pica_20

    I am looking forward to th emovie, although, I find it difficult to feel much empathy for the characters. There are so many of us with advanced degrees working for less than the jobs these characters turn down, while trying to help people rejected and ignored by such folks.
    Trade down to a Hundyi (yes, I know it is spelled worng, I apologize) or many of people like me, we would have to trade up.

    Nothing worng with a little lesson in humility.

  • Frank

    This discussion is supporting unproductive myths and emotions. I’ve lost my job 5 times in last 20 years, and have some experience. We should spend less effort on what do we do and feel AFTER the ax falls and more effort on what we do BEFORE to avoid it. Did we think all the great jobs tht grew in USA in 1940-60′s due to WW2 were going to stay unchallenged once the rest of the world recovered?Are we going to keep high paying jobs in auto and clothes making when we BUY less expensive goods from Japan and China. I left the Mid-West and a job at US Steel when I saw the writing on the wall and moved to Conn and financial services, and got two Masster degrees in the process. We have to build our skills and get into businesses that can compete globally. If we do not, the axe is more likely to fall. If you have a good paying job is ship building, you better be looking over your shoulder.

    • Tina, RI

      Frank, A good, solid argument could be made AGAINST the “financialization” of the U.S. economy (credit default swaps instead of manufacturing, etc., etc.). In fact, the Economic Chaos we just went thru, with The People bailing out the various Finance corporations — in a Corporate Socialism that the corporations do NOT even admit IS such, and that then BANKRUPTED the Regular Folks — is a good argument in & of itself. Our campaign finance system allows the The Big Guys to have more political clout; it allows them to get Even Bigger. We, The People (& I say that NOT as a Tea Party member) deserve a say in our Democracy; we should NOT have to be out in the Left Field of Capitalism with NO ACCESS to our Democracy except for voting amongst Choices that All Come To The Same because of HOW their campaigns are financed! This High End of Capitalism, the Finance End, only supports a system that leads to Deep Inequities!

    • TSD

      I agree to a point, Frank. But, if you are in a low paying job or profession (as I am–librarian–highest salary I ever made was $30,000 and that was only briefly), you don’t have the extra money to be able to afford building your skills. I was out of work for 6+ months, and seriously considered returning to school for a different profession. But, guess what? I’m in my mid-50′s, two kids in college and a husband in church work (low salary), have been frugal enough over the years to disqualify me for most financial aid, can’t relocate, so would re-tooling my skills pay off? Probably not. I worked with an intelligent, competant woman at a temp job who had gone back to school, had educational loans in the thousands, and could not find a job in the profession she had just studied for. So, she was even worse off than when she started.

  • David Baynham

    Haven’t seen the movie but a topic that is related to job loss is the health of those who lose a job. Studies definitively demonstrate that one out of five persons who suffers a job loss has health problems, many heart related in a serious manner. My wife was laid off at the University of Kentuckty, suffered heart problems and died six months later. This university also has a president who just received a million dollar bonus for steering the university through a difficult time. That means he’s “eliminated” hundreds of positions in a university where staff and faculty have not gotten a raise in over three years – but there is a million dollars for a bonus. Most of those laid off are employees who have worked at the university for over 25 years and are in the late 50s. There are no jobs for people of that age in today’s economy. Health-related risks of those laid off and the moral of those still employed should be discussed as a part of job loss.

    • TSD

      Amen to that David. I know so many 50+ workers who are unemployed or underemployed, including me. All the while I hear employers complain about the work ethic of the younger set. So, why not hire us “worker bees”? I don’t get it! My college age kids, though, see what has happened and have told me they will never put in that much effort for their employer because they have seen that, in the end, you get nothing for your troubles but a pink slip when you reach middle age. And I can’t argue with them on that.

  • Martin August Thiel MD

    The big question to be asked of all of these genuinely suffering Americans is: “Who did you vote for? Why were you deceived?” Did resentment of high salaries have much to do with it? How do you think jobs are created? Would you like to have that evil war mongering border closing public abortion funding Bush back? How do you like this “Hope and change?

    • Charles A. Bowsher in KY

      Voted for Obama, I was not deceived. I never voted for any of the bush’s. The most recent so robbed the future that two years is not near enough time to clean up the mess left by unpaid for tax cuts, unpaid for prescription drug benefits, unpaid for war in Afghanistan, unpaid for personal vendetta war on Iraq. bush dug us into such a deep hole that it will take decades to get out, not two years. High Salaries, especially on Wall Street do not create jobs. I think jobs are created by innovation and invention. What public funded abortions? I still have hope for change.

      • Tina, RI

        Charles, Thank you for SUCH a CLEAR piece! I agree!

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  • Bleedair

    At the conclusion of the “On Point” show Tom made a comment about the irony of the brother (Ben Affleck) finally being offered a job which paid only $80,000 but wanting to stay on with Kelvin Costner’s carpentry business.
    I think the real irony would be to learn what these actors are paid to make this movie in which they play at being out of work while real people who are of work are doomed to live off unemployment compensation. Quite likely amounts which aren’t enough to pay for one month of Costner’s car insurance bill.

    • Tina, RI

      Bleedair, You ARE onto something that relates to a previous posting, too. That is, we operate so often beyond our locale. We buy what is attached to the “famous”. Even in music; what would happen if we supported our LOCAL musicians, instead of buying music or concert tickets from the FAMOUS ones? What if we bought gifts, at least, from local arts festivals & open artists studios days, etc., etc. What if our houses were designed & built by local architects & builders who knew their own locale, instead of houses in RI looking like they belong in California or Texas, built by those huge, national building/development companies? Sure, we couldn’t buy a lot of Big Ticket items from local manufacturers, but I DO buy my home appliances from my local Appliance Store, where they match the prices of the Big Box Stores. Just an idea for WHEN it IS possible.

  • E.Crocco

    The very first caller into the program on the movie “The Company Men” said that one of the main issues is illegal aliens taking away jobs from American citizens and legal immigrates. Tom told the caller they would get back to discuss the issue but blew it off.
    If that is a major cause of unemployment in this country, don’t you think it should have been be discussed?

    • TSD

      I would like to hear some discussion on that, but find it humorous that common thought is that illegal aliens do jobs that no one else wants to do, but I know plenty of good, red-blooded Americans who can’t find a job of any kind. Businesses hire illegals because they can hire them so cheap and thus, fill up their coffers more. We workers (and I am a professional, college educated) are simply human capital for far too many businesses; capital that can easily be thrown to the wolves when there is a buck to be made.

    • Anonymous

      I’m with you on this one. The elephant in the room. But of course this movie and the discussion was about college educated professionals not the regular joes, young blacks, legal immigrants, teenagers where unemployment is more in the 20-50% range as opposed to 6% for the former. Political elitism at its double standard best.

  • Tina, RI

    TOM & THE ON POINT STAFF:

    About your new Comments Format. It IS nice to have the Reply Box show up right underneath what you want to reply to!

    A problem that I discovered by accident is this: IF you close out the webpage and then return to it later, the places, where you clicked on “LIKE” so that that designation changed to “LIKED”, disappears. In other words, if you forget WHICH items you already “LIKED”, you will be able to click “LIKE” again, and it will look like MORE people liked the posting than really do.

    Also, it would be great if we could get the exact date & time of each posting back. Sometimes we might want to tie together several previous postings, and the best way to do this is to quote the date, time, and name of the poster.

    Thanks! And, again, thanks ALWAYS for your GREAT SHOWS and a TERRIFIC WEBSITE!

    • Tina, RI

      Ahh, we DID get the date & time of postings back! Thank you!

  • Rachel

    This is hard for me to swallow – Ben Affleck’s character is interviewing for a job that pays $65,000 and that’s not good enough!?!!?!? What the hell????? I live in Chicago, have a college education, am single and would feel rich if I made anything remotely close to that amount of money. In the movie it looks like his wife works so they would have a dual income.

    Give me a break!!!! Try living on my salary and then come crying to me. I don’t feel sorry for any of these people. These MBAs are so spoiled it makes my stomach turn.

  • TSD

    I hope the economy turns around but I don’t think the recession has made people more compassionate. Look at the CEO’s of investment banks that continue to make billions of dollars in salary. It’s a “I’ve got mine; sucks to be you” mentality. I was out of work for 6 months, and I know people thought I wasn’t looking hard enough. The place I had worked closed completely, so it wasn’t a matter of me not being a good employee. And if employers ever get a clue about the ridiculous mess online applicatoins are making of things, I’ll be hugely surprised.

  • Jim

    I have not seen the movie but thoroughly enjoyed the interview and call-ins. I have now read all the comments and gotten a different flavor of the situation. I see all the blame; each side pointing at another. I have another side to blame: our business and engineering education system. Many of the problems as described are caused by applying rules that were invented to manage businesses (manufacturing and services) and government in the early 1900′s. Cost and managerial accounting for example focus on providing products for the lowest unit cost so we produce excessive amounts driving the labor cost per part as low as possible (a prime measure of businesses) then throw away as obsolete 30% of what was made. Why do you think so many businesses are going off-shore, why use illegal aliens here?
    How is it we accept new knowledge in medicine and science but in business and engineering we still apply decision-making rules, policies, and procedures suitable for the early 1900′s. Read “The Goal” and other publications by Eli Goldratt to see that a business is in business to make money now and in the future and you cannot make money in the future if you do not respect your employees (workers and management) by providing a secure and challenging work environment AND by satisfying your customers by providing a quality products at a reasonable value. Many foreign companies (in India and in China) are starting to apply theory of constraints to their businesses; they challenge the old rules of business of keeping everyone as busy as possible to make the lowest cost product.
    Some hospitals in England apply these concepts and increase throughput 50% at little to no increase in cost. Think of the potential in our heath care system if we learned to use these common sense concepts to improve the capabilites of our heathcare system 50% with little to no increase in cost.

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  • katherine

    It was really hard for me working entry-level at a newspaper in the Carolinas to see the entire copy desk get cut, seasoned staff laid off, talented reporters lose their 20+ year jobs, and production staff dwindle from an entire 1/3 of the floor to 4 people. These talented people had their jobs for (as said) more than 20 years, and here I was, often-times younger than their span of employment at the paper, hanging on because I was hardly getting paid anything. Makes you want to duck your head.

  • Stef

    “I am a 37 years old looser”
    “I am sorry I let you down”

    How about the system !!! It ruins you and you YOU feel guilty !
    Your lords brainwashed you allright.
    Perhaps it’s time to examine what this “individualism” story is
    all about. You’ll be unpleasantly surprised.

    I wish somebody with guts make a film about that.

    (Don’t eat the carrots they are offering ! ).

    Stef

  • Millan

    A comment from a slightly different perspective…… as a LEGAL immigrant having being asked to relocate to the USA by my former US-based company in the ‘good times’, I am about to lose my job. I have no life to go back to at home any more but the INS deports many such people almost immediately when they lose their job since many visas are tied to one particular employer. I will have to sell my house/car and contents almost immediately in a fire-sale. At times like this being an ILLEGAL immigrant is by far the more financially sensible option (illegal immigrants even get deported on the US dime if they are caught !!!) — not to mention all the taxes paid in the past by doing the right thing (though that was also “taxation without representation” as I recall :-). I am not complaining per se because I will work it through, get another job and then pay more US taxes ……. it’s just an observation of the consequences of being a LEGAL immigrant at times of financial down-turn based on current INS rules. I predict the response about ‘taking Amercian’ jobs but Amercia didn’t pay for my education & training and couldn’t find anyone with my skills — yet it does take all of my taxes. My point: we might wish to reflect on whether or not we focus just a little too much on the plight of the ILLEGAL immigrants over those that pay Uncle Sam taxes each and every month ; whether they get much back for that contribution or not. Just a thought for discussion. ~~~~ Regards.

    • E. Crocco

      Millan,

      To you it may seem unfair to be offered a job and now it is taken away, but how is that different from any other employee? You appear to be educated, unlike most of the illegal aliens, so you knew the possible consequences of your actions when you decided to came to the United States.
      Do you have any idea what illegal aliens are costing this country? The taxes you and illegal aliens pay are a mere pittance compared to the services they receive at the expense of the legal owners of this country. Many illegals work “under the table” and pay no local, state or federal income taxes, workmens comp, etc.
      I could go on and on about this issue. The fact remains that the Constitution on the United States requires the government to protect the states and nation from invasion and it is failing miserably.

  • TSD

    Excellent Jim. I think your points are right on. Businesses are in business to make money, but you are correct, they also have to respect their employees, not think solely about the bottom line.

  • Jim

    My thought during the program was that I never trusted the system. I was and continue to be a skeptic. I was lucky and am grateful to have succeded with and retired from a job 18 years ago.

    My second thought is why is anyone who has lost a job surprised? That is the nature of the system. It is ruthlessly competative, follows the law of supply and demand, and not kind. Losing a job is not uncommon and should be expected. Wall Street Bankers should have failed. Holding a job is like crossing a stream and the possibility of falling and being washed away is real. Anyone who expects otherwise is out of touch with reality.

    Jim in Troy, Idaho

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EKE5VF4AYVMUHOQP6BYOZQHIOA Patricia

    My heart was warmed by the unemployed people who phoned into the show and the courage that possessed to tell their personal stories. For some of us, unemployment and poverty have been an on-going experience and were worsened by this economy. I’ve heard stories and encountered people who took this time to follow their dreams. I’m doing the same in a way, though I only earned around $1,000 last year, that’s right, $1,000 and relatives supported me.

    I started pursuing a career as novelist in 2005, but I didn’t get far with it. By end of 2006 I was in such bad financial shape that I enrolled in a worker retraining program through a community college. While I acquired new skills and confidence, when I started the interview rounds I was passed up for college students (I’m in my 40s). I needed to find a new apartment and couldn’t find anything affordable, so I relocated to a smaller community where I landed a freelance gig covering the arts for a local newspaper. That gig ended in April 2009 and I’ve been unemployed ever since. Not many jobs in my field (communications/writing) that pay. Too many people have asked for my professional services for free meanwhile I go hungry and can’t pay my bills.

    So in 2009 I started pursuing publication for my novels, and I’m still seeking an agent. I freelance writing magazine articles and ask for donations on my music research blog. I also spent the past few months revising novels and short fiction and sending those off, 3 submissions a week including magazine article pitches. I teach an occasional music appreciation class, but I’m hurting.

    If there are any agents out there who will take a chance with me and my work, you would literally be saving a life. I repeat I only earned $1,000 last year and the only reason I’m not on the street is because relatives help me out. The community hasn’t been all that supportive with the exception of a handful of kind people. You lose your job around here and you’re invisible. Not many people care.

    Patricia

  • Joan

    The caller is was right in his estimation that the rage seen in Egyptian
    streets for the last two weeks could happen here…Only I believe it will be much worse with the fat cats on Wall St still dodging government regulations to amass their wealth and not responding to the needs of
    many Americans….

    It is becoming immoral to stand by and watch other Americans suffer-
    ing this current economic loss and pain at their hands. And especially, to see their tax payers dollars go to a bloated defese budget…

    Which is reaching almost 1 trillion dollar. With over 700 billion going to the Penetagon , 150 Billion going to homeland security and another 100 or so going the corrupt CIA and FBI engaged in violating other peoples’ rights overseas and our own rights at home…

  • Robert Hennecke

    I have and am living this whole thing on various levels as I have had to do renovation of a rural house with <> money due to long term unemployment and came up witht he idea of using pallet wood to cover walls. I’m struggling to get my business plan going which is based on the same idea, make things from plastic I find for free. The kinds of jobs I did were related to ship building so the whole story cuts FAR TOO CLOSE TO THE BONE, in other words it comes across as very real just from that short video. I’ve been forced back upon myself big time and human nature really showed itself when personnel agencies got to get picky, suddently questions such as ‘just out of curiosity, what is your ethnic background ?’ That’s when I realized it would be a long way back, that was in 2006. I evolved a strategy of survival based on my girlfriends’ steady job and using my last 1400 $ to play the market betting on Uranium. This is how I’ve survived. I have received zero assistance from the gov’t. meanwhile corporations don’t hesitate to grab everything they can and then lash out at those practically homeless, it’s disgusting.

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