Arthur Miller's classic 1949 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Death of a Salesman opens with musical direction: "A melody is heard, played upon a flute. It is small and fine, telling of grass and trees and the horizon. The curtain rises." The play follows Willy Loman, past 60, as his grasp on life crumbles amid job troubles. When, at the end of Act II, he reaches his beaten-down end, the melody soars again, this time a requiem. "Only the music of the flute," writes Miller, "is left on the darkening stage ." I heard this flute's dirge throughout last summer and fall, as I made the rounds talking with downsized journalists-men and women who had gotten hooked on the profession as young, ink-stained idealists, only to find themselves cast out in mid- or later life. These veterans spoke of forced buyouts and failed job searches-of lost purpose, lost confidence, even lost homes. I had known of the decimation of my profession: I'd read the statistics, seen the news articles, watched old friends pushed from jobs as bureau chiefs, editors, senior reporters, into the free fall of freelance. But the texture of their Lomanesque despair surprised me. There were some grim moments. Continue reading
Small startups can compete with better funded companies from Google to Uber by looking for talent that other companies alienate.
Years of experience, plenty of talent, completely obsolete