New Play to Expose Truths of Layoffs

The beautiful Act II Playhouse in Ambler will open its doors to Leslie Mayer and Howard Rice’s world-premiere, poignant stage creation, JOBBED, with a private performance on June 25 and a free matinee, open to the public, on June 26.

Audiences will experience the raw emotion of a man, his family, and his friends as they find not only their jobs but their very identities at risk. A transition counselor, whose job is to assist recently laid- off individuals, helps management understand that, while common feelings arise when people lose their jobs, each one has a personal story.   She is deeply moved by the honesty, profound courage and resiliency of those directly and indirectly affected.

“This production is based on the real stories of hundreds of people who have lost their jobs,” said Leslie Mayer, President of Mayer Leadership Group and songwriter/ lyricist/producer of JOBBED. “My hope is that audiences will see themselves in these characters and become more aware of the psychological and human toll that is exacted when individuals find their very identities at risk.”

JOBBED is under the direction of Ben Smallen, who holds a Masters in Theatre from Villanova University.  Melissa Zimmerman, General Manager of Act II Playhouse, is acting as co-producer with Mayer.

With a cast of eight local performers and a score directed by Barrymore-winning musical director Eric Ebbenga, JOBBED not only produces an uncommon emotional reaction from audiences, but presents an original, rare musical experience written by Mayer, Philadelphia’s own talent.  .

“We are thrilled to have found such a gifted cast and crew from the Philadelphia region,” said Howard Rice, Temple University professor, former partner of Kalish & Rice Advertising and scriptwriter of JOBBED. “Having hometown talent makes this experience all the more extraordinary.”

Mayer and Rice also “hope to stimulate interest in this wonderful community theatre residing in the heart of Ambler.”

JOBBED premieres to a private audience at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 25. The final performance will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 26 and is open to the public, free of charge. Seating is limited and by reservation only.  For more information, please visit


Mom Knows Best – Son Knows More? Who is a Better Hire?

The status of our economy has certainly had its hits, both big and small. Even the tiniest hit hurts – it tightens wallets, wreaks havoc on budgets, but more often than not, obliterates pride. Accountants with 15 years of experience are taking ad spaces out in the classifieds – women with a bachelor or master are babysitting for spoiled brats whose parents have yet to feel the economic blow. The economic condition is affecting spending habits, but more importantly, is responsible for a waning sense of worth.

Professionals with 10 years of experience are competing with entry-levelers for positions – this should not be happening.  It is not fair to either party. Recent grads are bringing to the ring vast knowledge of emerging media, new tactics and fresh lessons; seasoned pros are representing traditional knowledge and present impressive track records. Both are capable, in their own sense, of completing the job adequately.

So what ends up happening? The seasoned pro gets the job over the fresh-faced graduate, but will quickly grow unhappy with the reduced pay and revoked responsibility.  For a person who has spent the past 10 years closing deals and launching campaigns, the thought of merely monitoring placements and analyzing coverage may induce a slight gag reflex.  A position like this could provide key training to an up-and-coming young professional; instead, it is being given to an overqualified individual who will undoubtedly leave the position after a whirlwind tenure.

I am not criticizing organizations for choosing the candidate with several more years of experience, but perhaps quizzing candidates on innovative trends may produce surprising results. In this new economy with fewer positions, I firmly believe that the hiring process should undergo a makeover.

Who Is Best?