“Survival jobs”: Tales of the downwardly mobile

What’s it like to go from being a manager to being a janitor?

Michael Luo has a fine story in Saturday’s New York Times about downward mobility in the recession: people who have gone from being well-paid managers to being janitors or data-entry clerks or call-center workers.

Saddest line in the story: “Even though she has parted ways with some friends because she is no longer in their social stratum … ” I’ll have to get a new dictionary. The one I have seems to have an obsolete definition of the word “friend.”

One question I would have liked to ask, had I been reporting the story: “If you had your old job back, or a job like it, is there anything you’ve learned from this experience that would change the way you manage the people working for you?”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com