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A Company of OneInsecurity, Independence, and the New World of White-Collar Unemployment$
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Carrie M. Lane

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449642

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449642.001.0001

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A Company of One

A Company of One

(p.32) 2 A Company of One
A Company of One

Carrie M. Lane

Cornell University Press

This chapter follows Dallas-area job seekers through their layoffs and into the early stages of their job search, examining what appeared to be a surprising lack of anger and anxiety about their new predicament. It outlines the ideology of career management, which represents a historic cultural shift in the mindset of white-collar U.S. workers toward employment, dependency, and security. Perhaps best described as neoliberalism for the organization man set, career management builds on a long history of management theory and American mythologies of meritocratic individualism and masculine agency. It naturalizes the absence of secure, long-term employment, casts the resulting insecurity as an empowering alternative to dependence on a single employer, and prescribes explicitly individualistic, apolitical, pro-market means by which one can best position oneself to succeed in an increasingly global and competitive world.

Keywords:   unemployed, jobseekers, unemployment, Dallas, white collar workers, career management, neoliberalism, job search, layoffs

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