Not Working: People Talk About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today's Changing Economy

Overview

Poignant true stories of resilience, determination, and the search for fulfillment

Inspired by Studs Terkel's Working and by James Agee and Walker Evans' Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, DW Gibson sets off on a journey across the United States to interview Americans who have lost their jobs. Here is the mortgage broker who arrived at work to find the door to his office building padlocked, the human resources executive who laid off a couple hundred people before being laid off ...

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Not Working: People Talk About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today's Changing Economy

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Overview

Poignant true stories of resilience, determination, and the search for fulfillment

Inspired by Studs Terkel's Working and by James Agee and Walker Evans' Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, DW Gibson sets off on a journey across the United States to interview Americans who have lost their jobs. Here is the mortgage broker who arrived at work to find the door to his office building padlocked, the human resources executive who laid off a couple hundred people before being laid off herself, the husband who was laid off two weeks after his wife learned she was pregnant, the wife who was forced to lay off her husband.

In telling the stories of people who could be our neighbors, our friends, our relatives, Not Working holds up a mirror to our times, showing us the individuals behind the unemployment statistics—their fears and hopes—and offering a map for navigating our changing economy. With an extraordinary mix of pathos, anger, solidarity, and humor, it brings clarity—and humanity—to the national conversation.

For information about the companion documentary film, Not Working: The Pulse of the Great Recession, please visit ffh.films.com/title/55494.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“A book with fascinating range [and] a fresh perspective [that shows] how powerful the genre of oral history can be.” San Francisco Chronicle

“Wrenching . . . Wide-ranging . . . This book is so important.” New York Daily News

“A touching and all-too-necessary text.” Interview

“Comparable in heft and style to Studs Terkel’s Working, Not Working is as timely as its predecessor. . . . [It] provides an in-depth look at a new type of American and reveals a new type of American story. . . . The storytellers in Not Working . . . show that, as a society, we’re more than where we work.” —City Arts (Seattle, WA)

“Add[s] faces, personalities and pathos to the unemployment figures thrown around every month. Just as [Studs] Terkel showed how so many of us define ourselves with our work, Gibson’s subjects demonstrate how, even beyond the financial havoc that ensues, losing a job unsettles a person’s sense of self.”The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)

“Not Working reveals something Americans only talk about in numbers.  Gibson gives . . . the big picture of America’s temperature.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
 

“An intense, moving, ground-level history of our difficult times.” —Teju Cole, author of Open City

“Powerful and heartrending.” —Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker

Ken Buns
Powerful and heartrending
—Ken Burns (documentary filmmaker)
Teju Cole
With grace and compassion, Not Working brings us the stories of America's disregarded. Through the book's many voices, we get a detailed and harrowing but utterly unsentimental sense of the lives of others. An intense, moving, ground-level history of our difficult times.
—Teju Cole author of Open City
From the Publisher
“A book with fascinating range [and] a fresh perspective [that shows] how powerful the genre of oral history can be.” San Francisco Chronicle
“Wrenching . . . Wide-ranging . . . This book is so important.” New York Daily News
“A touching and all-too-necessary text.” Interview
“Comparable in heft and style to Studs Terkel’s Working, Not Working is as timely as its predecessor. . . . [It] provides an in-depth look at a new type of American and reveals a new type of American story. . . . The storytellers in Not Working . . . show that, as a society, we’re more than where we work.” —City Arts (Seattle, WA)
“Add[s] faces, personalities and pathos to the unemployment figures thrown around every month. Just as [Studs] Terkel showed how so many of us define ourselves with our work, Gibson’s subjects demonstrate how, even beyond the financial havoc that ensues, losing a job unsettles a person’s sense of self.”The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)

“Not Working reveals something Americans only talk about in numbers.  Gibson gives . . . the big picture of America’s temperature.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
 
“An intense, moving, ground-level history of our difficult times.” —Teju Cole, author of Open City
“Powerful and heartrending.” —Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker

From the Publisher

“A book with fascinating range [and] a fresh perspective [that shows] how powerful the genre of oral history can be.” San Francisco Chronicle

“Wrenching . . . Wide-ranging . . . This book is so important.” New York Daily News

“A touching and all-too-necessary text.” Interview

“Comparable in heft and style to Studs Terkel’s Working, Not Working is as timely as its predecessor. . . . [It] provides an in-depth look at a new type of American and reveals a new type of American story. . . . The storytellers in Not Working . . . show that, as a society, we’re more than where we work.” —City Arts (Seattle, WA)

“Add[s] faces, personalities and pathos to the unemployment figures thrown around every month. Just as [Studs] Terkel showed how so many of us define ourselves with our work, Gibson’s subjects demonstrate how, even beyond the financial havoc that ensues, losing a job unsettles a person’s sense of self.”The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)

“Not Working reveals something Americans only talk about in numbers.  Gibson gives . . . the big picture of America’s temperature.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
 

“An intense, moving, ground-level history of our difficult times.” —Teju Cole, author of Open City

“Powerful and heartrending.” —Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143122555
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/3/2012
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 946,299
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

DW Gibson has written for The New York Times, The New York Observer, BOMB, and Tin House and worked on documentaries for MSNBC and A&E. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Vagabond Breakdown 1

The Precariat 3

Book 1 Youth

Wendy Hamilton 13

Justin Fiedler 24

Tina Hall 29

Jessica Smith 37

Tobias Elmore 45

Book 2 Education

Ryan 53

Kent Jackson 60

Barbara & Raul 64

Manuel Aguirre 74

Book 3 Housing

Prof. Elliot Parker 81

The Crew

Jim 88

John Jerome Welshans, Jr. 93

The Hustlers

Fresno James 98

Alex Benito 104

The Dreamer

Mike Nurmela 111

Book 4 Community

Dewitt

Randy Badman 123

Empire

Tammy Sparks (pt. 1) 135

Mr. Beaver 138

Ms. Munson 141

Dorris Tullar 143

Brian Key & Anthony Sherrell 146

Tammy Sparks (pt. 2) 155

Book 5 Corporate Citizens

George Ploghoft 159

Teresa Baseler 163

Riva Weinstein 170

Duncan Foster 175

Steven Hay 184

Human Resources

Dominick Brocato 188

Roni Chambers 200

'High-Touch'

Dawn Eilers-Dunn 209

Renee Zimmerman 215

John Bauman 215

Book 6 Public Domain

Parks & Recreation

Sue Whetten 227

City Hall

Christine Myrick & Granketha Major 233

Social Services

Kelly Graham-MacDonald 248

Emergency Services

Ciri Castro, Pete Peres & Damon Truitt 258

Book 7 Fringe

Kaitlin & May 273

Scott Cooksley 278

"Step-by-Step"

Tout Tou Bounthapanya 287

Luis Gonzales 292

"I Feel Like I'm Ready to Clean Up the World"

Dustin A. Nance 299

Brenda Jackson Scott 305

Vondretta Jameson 310

Book 8 Family

Dirk 325

Bride & Business Partner

Candice 330

Mama & Classmate

Sandra 337

Daughter & Caregiver

Amy De La Roza 343

Wife & Terminator

Deborah Troutman & Paul Murphey 354

Providers

Erik Hill 369

Heather Dupree 375

"How Many People Can Be Associated With One Person?"

Christine Zika 380

Dale Harris 389

Book 9 Evolution

Prof. Antonio Avalos 399

Shape-Shifting

Jenny Elig & Judy Wolf 403

Doug Messenger 418

Liz Laud 428

Self-Terminating

Bob Bendig 435

Seizing

Bridgette Lacy 445

Paul Humphreys 453

Nancy Lee 459

Acknowledgments 469

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