Bait and Switch

Bait and Switch

The (futile) Pursuit of the American Dream

Book - 2005 | 1st ed
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The bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed goes back undercover to do for America's ailing middle class what she did for the working poor
Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed explored the lives of low-wage workers. Now, in Bait and Switch, she enters another hidden realm of the economy: the shadowy world of the white-collar unemployed. Armed with a plausible resume of a professional "in transition," she attempts to land a middle-class job--undergoing career coaching and personality testing, then trawling a series of EST-like boot camps, job fairs, networking events, and evangelical job-search ministries. She gets an image makeover, works to project a winning attitude, yet is proselytized, scammed, lectured, and--again and again--rejected.
Bait and Switch highlights the people who've done everything right--gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive resumes--yet have become repeatedly vulnerable to financial disaster, and not simply due to the vagaries of the business cycle. Today's ultra-lean corporations take pride in shedding their "surplus" employees--plunging them, for months or years at a stretch, into the twilight zone of white-collar unemployment, where job searching becomes a full-time job in itself. As Ehrenreich discovers, there are few social supports for these newly disposable workers--and little security even for those who have jobs.
Like the now classic Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch is alternately hilarious and tragic, a searing expose of economic cruelty where we least expect it.

Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books, c2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780805076066
Branch Call Number: 650.14086 EHR 2005
Characteristics: 237 p. ; 22 cm


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NFreaderNWPL Mar 31, 2018

Barbara Ehrenreich's eye for the absurd and her essentially charitable outlook make for an insightful and funny treatment of what could have been fairly depressing material, even in 2018. Refreshingly, she has the courage to criticize "The American Dream" itself, rather than trying to win adversaries over by assuming a shared ideal behind the imperfect reality.

Jun 08, 2014

A much superior book than this, which probably conveys much more, is G.J. Meyers' Executive Blues. Ehrenreich's heart is in the right place, but she doesn't seem to quite get it - - that these are issues affecting everyone, from the working class to the middle class and the impoverished, both transient and long-term. Offshoring jobs [and with each job offshored so goes a piece of the GDP], importing foreign visa scab workers [part of the offshoring process], creating new jobs overseas, while doing everything possible to destroy the tax base [the country's tax base, that is, by banks and corporations] along with endless hedge fund speculation and private equity [private banks] leveraged buyouts have destroyed the consumer economy, turning it into a Ponzi/fantasy finance based economy.

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