"Let's not mischaracterize what happened here, that it is just lazy, 'good for nothings' that are out of work," says Levin. They interview, they network, they dog the voice mails of potential employers, and many of them have been turned down for jobs for being "overqualified."
Hard Times also shows that the challenges the unemployed face are not just due to a cyclical downturn, but a perhaps permanent, structural change. Not only have middle aged professionals been displaced by an increasingly automated and globalized economy (Alan eventually finds a job—but as part of it, he will be training workers in India). Young college sweethearts—a teacher who has lost her job and a chiropractor who has seen his practice slump—struggle to hold their fledgeling family together as well.
Says Levin, "Something fundamental is different and if you thought you were immune you're living in a bubble."
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