Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit Of The American Dream. A Novel To Open Your Eyes

This is a must read for the "the economy is fine" crowd. The author, Barbara Ehrenreich, a Freelance Journalist/Writer, undertook quite a task: to set out to join the white collar, corporate world. Her focus was on Public Relations for a time before resorting to any type of work inside of corporate america, including office clerk type employment. In short, after a year of networking, job fairs, job coaching, wardrobe, make-up and interview tips, and hundreds of e-mailed, faxed and mailed resumes, much to her surprise, she ended the year without a job. Her only offers came from AFLAC as an independent sales contractor and, get this, Mary Kay, towards the end of her search.

Also of interest was the fact that she kept in touch with several people with whom she met during her job search. And while some did find employment, NONE found employment in their chosen fields. Most were working in the low-end service jobs. There were stories of huge credit debt, stories where grown adults, once highly successful in the business world, were having to live with mom and dad, stories of people on food stamps, stories of stress-related health issues.

It was absolutely heartbreaking to read. And all too familiar.

I also learned that for those who opt to go into Real Estate (as many folks do after giving up on the traditional "white collar" job search), the vast majority never make more than around $24,000/year. It's one of those industries where a few are swimming at the top and the majority, at the bottom.

Sounds like a pretty typical scenario these days, doesn't it?

1 comment:

tkn said...

I read Nickel and Dimed a few years ago. I also saw Erhenrich when she spoke at LaSells. I'm a big fan.

I look forward to this new book. Thanks for the tip.