Lance Corona

September 7, 2011

Poor Larry

Before Larry Crowne was fired from U-Mart, he was voted as the employee of the month six times in a row. The reason for him getting fired – he didn’t go to college. It seems sensible to get rid of the least educated employee first when a company downsizes. Management and human resource theories would tell you the same. But this attention to the hard facts – grading employees with a simple and ruthless mathematical scores according to their education level, ignores the human connection – one’s devoted services to customers, loyalty to the company and the inevitable bonds between colleagues that is built over the years. Certainty talent acquisition specialists (who came up with this fancy job title anyway?) would argue that these factors could well be rated with a 10-pt scale to give a more accurate reflection of an employee’s value to the company. But I believe that the hunger for endless quantifiable facts for decision-making is taking its toll on our common sense and slowly driving us away from humanity.

Ryan Bingham - What

Downsizing a company is a complicated matter that an average person like me could never wrap my mind around it. Yet I could still take total control in downsizing my life. After getting the pink slip, Larry decided to downsize his life to help repay his loan. The logic behind is – you own less, you use less (not useless). It reminds me of Ryan Bingham (Clooney) in Up in the Air. Bingham travels around the country to give “what’s in your backpack?” seminars and reminds people of their ever-increasing possession are dragging their feet. He doesn’t like the idea of owning something, not even a house, a wife or a family. It seems that everything he owns could be fit in the handy, standard-sized luggage box that he carries with him as he speeds through the security checks. Larry Crowne lives Bingham’s philosophy, though out of very practical reasons – he switched from a SUV to a scooter to save gas and moved to a smaller house to save money. It is ironic that we always think about ways to save money using coupons and discounts, while in fact the most effective way is not to use those coupons and spend at all – you own less and you will spend less. I must take control and start downsizing my life today! Thanks, Hanks and Clooney! (Smart people are handsome! Or is it actually the other way round?)

Care

Other than downsizing life, Larry took other measures to cope with unemployment. He went to college and attended Miss Tainot’s Speech 217: The Art of Informal Remarks. Tainot’s motto – do it only if you care. It seems simple enough, but on second thought, it’s more easily said than done. Think about the last time you slept in a class, skip a class, miss an appointment, went to a party you don’t really want to be in, submitted some substandard work. Think about them again and Miss Tainot will tell you: if you care, work harder; if you don’t, then why bother? Some may consider this idea cruel and mean, but this all-or-nothing perspective to life could actually save you a lot of time and make way for the things you really care about. Miss Tainot’s not only tells us to care, but to care for the little things in life – the informal remarks. Larry started the semester with his bold and dull description of how to make the perfect french toast, but he moved the class with heartwarming yet concise tale of his life at the end of the semester. By mastering the ability to appreciate the tiny bits in life, generate a sense of admiration and fun out of those bits, one would be able to find happiness – no matter how much you own, downsized or upsized.

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