Tuesday, August 15, 2006
The Lure Of Not Working For Downsized Men
The New York Times published an article two weeks ago by Louis Uchitelle about men between the ages of 30 and 55 - what are (or used to be) the prime working years - who have chosen not to work. It featured, among others, a downsized steelworker who has taught math at a community college and is a skilled writer - and a former electrical engineer who was laid off from Xerox at the age of 50, and survives by taking occasional web design gigs and borrowing against the value of his Southern California home. Both men sacrificed decades of their lives working for the same company to little avail and see no point in making similar sacrifices again. The ex-steelworker reads extensively and sleeps late, while the ex-engineer was interviewed on the patio of a trendy restaurant. Money is running out for both, but neither feels a compelling desire to return to work. Their opportunities, in terms of income, benefits and prestige, have shrunken dramatically. The rewards of seniority that they expected to reap from decades of service have been denied them, and they are bitter to the point of apathy. Read the article and decide for yourself whether you would like to offer them sympathy or the bum's rush. Then decide whether or not this is the future you would like to see for the working men of America - or even for yourself.
"Men Not Working, and Not Wanting Just Any Job" from TruthOut.org (copied from the NYT)