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Jack isn't necessarily *fired* from his job: he didn't commit some sort of offense like embezzlement or insubordination or anything else to get himself ejected outright from his job. Rather the company, facing hard economic times, felt that it couldn't pay the salaries of guys like Jack, Larry & Stan & decided to (perhaps temporarily) eliminate their positions to save funds. Companies laying off workers like Jack was a pretty common phenomenon in the early 1980s in America.The bigger problem that arises is that their supervisor, Jinx, plainly didn't do enough to defend keeping Jack & his coworkers to his own superiors. Jinx is a proven weasel, we see evidence later in the film when Jinx' supervisors have a meeting with Jack and Jinx himself & ask why production in Jack's area has dropped off so dramatically, possibly losing the company money. Jack has no answers because Jinx has likely been glossing over the loss of production in his area or outright lying to his superiors about the mess he's created in Jack, Larry & Stan's absence. Fortunately for Jack, he is vindicated later when Jinx begs him to take his old job back. Jack has a free hand when taking the job because he knows Jinx will agree to just about any terms Jack asks for.
Jack deliberately lost the race because his wife works for Richardson & Jack didn't want to see her get fired (or demoted or see her treated unfairly in some form) because Richardson's ego would have been bruised by losing. The race itself is childish and structured in such a way that Richardson wins every year and makes a big deal of out it -- note how Carol spots him gloating after he wins.As important as Caroline is to the company, Richardson is just the kind of egotistical and weaselly type of guy who would seek to punish Carol if her husband showed him up. So Jack decides he can put his own ego aside & take a dive for the greater good.
It's never mentioned specifically but Jack is likely a design engineer for the cars that the plant produces. Early in the film he talks to the assembly line workers & remarks about how he enjoys "seeing something go from the drawing board to the line". Jack might work behind the scenes coming up with new ideas for new cars or improvements for older models.Another job that might be Jack's is an engineering of the actual assembly line itself -- he might be part of a team that designed the line & seeks to improve it, hence his presence on the floor.
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