Up in the Air – Overview

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Date Submitted: 09/24/2012 11:05 AM

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Up in the Air – Overview

Produced in 2009, “Up in the Air” is an American drama centered on the life of Ryan Bingham- a downsizer at Career Transition Counselors (CTC). His job basically involves firing employees of other companies on behalf of their employers. Ryan’s favorite part if his job is travelling. He is called from one of his trips to meet a new recruit, Natalie Keener, who proposes to transform the company’s operations with an idea that allows staff to fire people via video calls. In an attempt to show how bad an idea this is, Ryan gets Natalie to escort him on a few trips so that she can realize what firing people actually entails.

Comments on the movie in relation to class content

I understand that human resource management is a multi-faceted field which involves several duties that cannot all be carried out by an organization’s HR manager: hence the need to outsource. However, the notion of hiring an outsider to fire one’s own employees did not sit too well with me. From our class discussion of the evolution of HR, I remember how organizational behaviour transformed from an inhumane era where employees were merely treated as tools, to an age where organizations are more ‘humanized’ and take into consideration factors like emotional needs of workers. My opinion is that the use of external agents to fire employees takes HR back to this dehumanizing era and is even made worse with the use of video chats to fire people. Losing a job is a devastating experience which brings up several emotional issues. Emotional intelligence is required to handle people in this state. I can imagine that a generic pep talk by someone you don’t even know would be the last thing a laid off employee would want. Getting other people to do the dirty job of firing your employees is a bad idea in itself even worse is getting these people to do it via remote video calls. I doubt this idea would be as effective in real life as depicted in the movie. Another interesting thing I...