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

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

by DW Gibson


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143122555
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/03/2012
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 1,217,182
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

DW Gibson is the author of The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification in the Twenty-First Century. He has written for The New York Times, The New York Observer, The Daily Beast, BOMB, and Tin House, and worked on documentaries for MSNBC and A&E®. The executive director of the international writers residency Writers Omi at Ledig House, he lives in New York City with his wife and their daughter.

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


Randy Badman 123


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


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


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


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


Jenny Elig & Judy Wolf 403

Doug Messenger 418

Liz Laud 428


Bob Bendig 435


Bridgette Lacy 445

Paul Humphreys 453

Nancy Lee 459

Acknowledgments 469

What People are Saying About This

Ken Buns

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

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

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