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"Diary of a Company Man," by James S. Kunen

Jeff Glor talks to James S. Kunen about "Diary of a Company Man."

Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?

James S. Kunen: As a director of corporate communications at Time Warner, I did my best to reassure employees that management valued and respected them as human beings - which turned out not to be the case. Along with thousands of my colleagues, I was laid off in the brutal fashion that has become the corporate norm: computer turned off, access to the building denied, treated like a criminal by the company we'd served faithfully for years.

I wrote the book to encourage the millions of people who have had this sort of soul-crushing experience. No one should be treated this way - but if you have been, lo and behold, you may now have the chance to get back in touch with yourself and lead a happy and useful life.

JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?

JK: In the course of writing the latter part of the book, I interviewed a number of new immigrants to the U.S. I learned that many people doing menial work here held advanced professional degrees in their home countries. I had no idea that was the case.

JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?

JK: I would be doing exactly what I am doing now: teaching English as a Second Language to immigrants. I am inspired by their courage, their work ethic, and their love for the United States. Sometimes I think immigrants are the only people who love the U.S. not as it used to be, not as it ought to be, but just as it is.

JG: What else are you reading right now?

JK: I've just finished "The Death of the Adversary," the brilliant novel written by Hans Keilson while in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. I'm in the middle of "An Accidental Sportswriter," by Robert Lipsyte, who has such great insights about sports in American culture. And I'm looking forward to "The Persistence of the Color Line: Facial Politics" and "The Obama Presidency" by Randall Kennedy.

JG: What's next for you?

JK: I'm looking forward to just living life instead of writing about it. It takes me a minimum of 10 years to get over the agony of writing a book before I can even consider writing another one.


James S. Kunen explains what a "company man" was and what became of this cultural archetype.
Jeff Glor talks to James S. Kunen about his unique career that spans 1960s campus radicalism to laid off corporate executive.
Jeff Glor talks to James S. Kunen about the plight of millions of out of work baby boomers.

For more on, "Diary of a Company Man" visit his website.

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