"Up in the Air" - Stark Reality About the Employee - Employer Relationship?

Seeking a fun film over the holidays, I persuaded my husband to join me at a viewing of "Up In the Air" with George Clooney.This modern Cary Grant did not disappoint, doing a great job of conveying his own search for the meaning of life as he travels the United States, laying off workers at various companies. In an interesting twist, many of the actors are "real people" who had at one time apparently sat across the desk from a non-Hollywood version of a jobs terminator. 

I recommend the movie but don't expect a romantic comedy. In fact, don't expect to laugh more than once or twice. It is a serious montage of human angst at a time of when unemployment is high and only the adventurous are popping champagne corks to celebrate the end of the recession.

I would however like to offer a counter to this Tinseltown intimation that management is always bad and labor is nothing but pure at heart. In today's mobile, global and less than long-term workplace, it is imperative for everyone to continuously evaluate their skill set, make sure they are adding value and can quickly adapt to change. Be part of the solution, not the problem. This is not to say that layoffs of hard-working individuals, due to incompetent leadership, are less than tragic. It's only to suggest that there are countless opportunities to retool and taking responsibility for one's ability to earn a living is paramount.

A former manager urged me to think of myself as a box of cereal and periodically ask whether I'm "new and improved" enough to compete with the other brands. 

  • Are you doing enough to encourage your team to grow and learn?
  • Are you focused on being the best you can be in terms of wealth creation on behalf of shareholders and, by extension, yourself?
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