Last night, I saw "The Company of Men" at the AFI Fest at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. I was especially excited to see this movie because it's the story of three men who were laid off and the aftermath.
I was hoping for an inspirational story that showed how life doesn't have to end after layoff. I was hoping to shore up my funemployed philosophy and gain some much needed inspiration. Instead, I got the exact opposite and am still reeling from it today.
The movie begins with a happy go lucky Ben Affleck getting blindsided by his company and laid off. It was uncomfortable for me to watch since it brought back all of the feelings and anger from the day that I was laid off. Even though I knew it was coming (my bank client was seized by the FDIC resulting on our LA office closure) anxiety and rage are the only appropriate responses.
What followed upset me even more. To see the desperation, the lack of confidence, the worthlessness and the devastation of the three men who were let go ripped my heart out. None of them found any inspiration in their time off, or any positivity. I could completely identify with what they were feeling. I just choose to approach it differently and I fight these feelings every day. Granted I don't have a family to support or a mortgage to pay but I have bills and financial stress. Thank God that my family is able to help me. So maybe I'm luckier than the characters are, but maybe I've also made some of my good luck with my positive attitude.
My message has always been the same: life doesn't end for you at your layoff. This is time that you've never had before. So, what would you do with it? Yes, look for work. But spend more time with your family. Learn to cook. Get in shape. Take up photography. Develop or nurture your personality outside of your job. When you return to work, you'll be a better employee because you're a better person.
Or, you can follow the movie's story and drink excessively, have an affair with the HR whore who fired you, commit suicide or learn to hang drywall badly with Kevin Costner. Ok, so the last one isn't too bad. But you get the point.
I feel like this movie is a corporate shill--made to show the employed how lucky they are. For them to forget about how they're doing 2-3 jobs for the same or less pay than 2 years ago. Maybe to generate pity for the unemployed? We don't need pity, we need jobs. We don't need to relive the pain, misery and lack of inspiration.
EPIC FAIL. So, 2 thumbs down.