- Barbara Ehrenreich
- Bait and Switch
- Metropolitan Books
Barbara Ehrenreich set out to write a book about working in corporate
America. This would have been a logical progression from her
previous Nickel and Dimed, which was about the horrible conditions of
America's working poor and the exploitation of them by business. Barbara
expected to report on the difficulties of white collar workers; the
over demanding bosses, the long hours of unpaid work and so on. Instead
she found herself unable to get a job at all, so the book is actually
about the numb horror of the white collar unemployed.
She's going to get a lot of criticism on this because it's easy
to explain her failure to find employment in terms of her own
shortcomings and mistakes. It doesn't help that she had
to fake her resume to avoid detection as the reporter/writer that
she actually is. She had to avoid certain industries where she might be
known and (because of her fake resume) any government employment. Finally, her job searching was hampered by being
limited to generic, "any old degree will do" positions where there is
tremendous competition for the few available jobs. That's
all true, and it's going to be all too easy for people to smugly
dismiss this book because of that.
But you shouldn't. The grim picture she paints of desperate and
helpless people sinking into poverty or underemployment (often both)
is all too real. Corporate employees are disposable - it's not
just the lowly secretaries, this goes right into the $100,000 a year
people and up. Greed has consumed any sense of morality or responsibility;
if you are not needed, you get thrown out with the trash. Crawling
out of the trash can be very difficult and if you get stuck too long,
it just gets harder. Sometimes it becomes impossible.
I recommend reading this. I also recommend that you find a way
not to be part of this dehumanizing corporate culture. Of course
I mean by working for yourself. I know: it's not easy. There's
a lot of fear about self employment, a lot of stomach churning questions.
But ending up on the waste heap of corporate America is far worse.
See my "Employment" links in the sidebar for more articles
on self employment. But do read this book - it might open your eyes.
Tony Lawrence 2008-12-29 Rating: