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Forced Out: Older Workers Confront Job Loss

Kenneth A. Root and Rosemarie J. Park
Forced Out: Older Workers Confront Job Loss
ISBN: 978-1-935049-03-6
ISBN: 978-1-935049-73-9
2008/267 pages/LC: 2008033610
A FirstForumPress Book
"Offering new insights, this book does a good job of using workers’ personal stories to extract the meaning of events related to a mass layoff."—David W. Wright, Wichita State University


What happens to long-term employees when their jobs are unexpectedly eliminated? In this richly detailed study of a major layoff and its aftermath, Kenneth Root and Rosemarie Park address head-on the ramifications of job loss for older workers.

The authors follow the experiences of 173 factory workers—from first thoughts on being forced out of work to reflections several years later. Retraining, age discrimination, and the occasional, if unanticipated, benefits of job loss are among the many issues considered. The result is a wide-ranging and thoughtful look at both the universal issues facing downsized employees and the unique challenges of being an older worker involuntarily out of work.


Kenneth A. Root is professor emeritus of sociology at Luther College and adjunct faculty at the University of St. Thomas School of Social Work. He also serves as a research consultant focusing on the issues of dislocated workers. Rosemarie J. Park is associate professor of education at the University of Minnesota.


  • What It Means to Lose a Job.
  • Downsizing at United Defense.
  • Meet the Men from UD.
  • Forced Out: First Thoughts.
  • The Financial Costs of Termination.
  • Being Unemployed/Discouraged Workers.
  • Older Workers in the Job Hunt.
  • Is Self-Employment Viable?
  • Retiring from the Work World.
  • On the Positive Side of Job Loss.
  • Years Later: Reflections on Job Loss.
  • Manpower Policy: A Better Way to Ease Job Transitions.