But it struck me, starting in about 2002, that many such tales of hardship were coming from people who were once members in good standing of the middle class—college graduates and former occupants of midlevel white-collar positions. My review took Ehrenreich to task. Downward mobility Social sciences —United States. All products are presented without warranty. What various personality traits are you called upon to exhibit every day as a worker, parent, or spouse? In 1983, she married Gary Stevenson, a organizer for the.
Professionals who earned college degrees and worked hard to secure a rung on the corporate ladder find themselves out of work. I was a quiet observer through much of this. I had no hobbies, no outside interests. While most of her criticism is aimed at the companies that suck the life from their employees before firing them, she also issues a call for action to the unemployed to rise up and organize. ³ Previous downturns had disproportionately hit blue-collar people; this time it was the relative elite of professional, technical, and managerial employees who were being singled out for media sympathy. Coaches and such can help, but they only help in that they help mold a bit of what is already there.
I was based in Charlottesville, Virginia, throughout this project, but I was prepared to travel anywhere in the United States to get a job and then live there for several months if I found one. But distressed white-collar people cannot be accused of fecklessness of any kind; they are the ones who did everything right. I thought there would be some kind of sympathy for that. You know, like you would be given a case study where you are sort of a Wal-Mart-type store facing community opposition; how are you going to deal with that? That would bring us up to 1. In 1972, Ehrenreich began co-teaching a course on women and health with feminist journalist and academic. We noticed you have an ad blocker on. She is a Virginia-based law professor, national security and foreign policy expert and writer.
In February 2008, Ehrenreich expressed support for Senator in the. She lectured at the , was a writer-in-residence at the , chair at the , and a teaching fellow at the graduate school of journalism at the. At what price does the American dream come? So what if I have the personality of an embalmer? She went undercover so she went into these jobs without showing her level of skills, college degrees, or writing skills she has. You lose health insurance because we have this absurd system in America where health insurance is usually tied to employment. Archived from on 23 June 2011. Praise for Bait and Switch by Barbara Ehrenreich Ehrenreich is a keen observer of American culture. Ehrenreich describes most of her fellow job seekers as passive and seemingly beaten down —even more so than the blue collar workers she met while researching her earlier book Nickel and Dimed.
Mostly, it seems that these people mix together a brew of personality testing think Meyers-Briggs tests with some cheerleading and a bit of job searching that anyone with a personal computer could do. What were your thoughts as you finished reading Bait and Switch? Throughout her career, Ehrenreich has worked as a freelance writer, and she is arguably best known for her non-fiction reportage, book reviews and social commentary. The internet was supposed to make this whole business of job searching rational and simple. Like the now classic Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch is alternately hilarious and tragic, a searing exposé of economic cruelty where we least expect it. What were they, and how much did you make or how much did you have to pay to get these jobs? If you expect others to hand success to you on a silver platter, then, indeed, the American dream is a futile pursuit. During this period she began speaking frequently at conferences staged by women's health centers and women's groups, by universities, and by the United States government. In 2003, almost 20%, or 1.
In Bait and Switch, Barbara Ehrenreich goes back undercover to explore another hidden realm of the economy: the shadowy world of the white-collar unemployed. Self is another dodgy concept, since I am, when I subject this 'I' to careful inspection, not much more than a flickering of affinities, habits, memories, and predilections that could go either way- towards neediness or independence for example courage or cowardice. How have corporations changed in the way they treat their employees over the last generation? The first step was to acquire a new identity and personal history to go with it, meaning, in this case, a résumé. What does it take to get a white collar job? First, starting with the economic downturn of 2001, there has been a rise in unemployment among highly credentialed and experienced people. In the end, she was offered two commission-based positions, one selling car insurance, the other selling cosmetics, and neither offering benefits or a high enough salary to land her in the middle class.
She goes undercover again, this time as a middle-aged professional trying to get a white-collar job in corporate America and finds that the people who are playing by the rules —going to college, being loyal to the to their employer— are too often ending up in financial ruin. So I decided to pay for a face-to-face encounter. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands. Can you pitch in a few bucks to help fund Mother Jones' investigative journalism? 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. That five-year gap could be fatal. She hired two career coaches to guide her and underwent personality counseling.
What do you hope to achieve with Bait and Switch? Unfortunately, this prolonged search, conducted partly in a snappy new beige Ann Taylor pantsuit, also makes for a less dramatic narrative than that of a renowned essayist scrubbing toilets. I, however, took the legal route, because I wanted my documents to be entirely in order when the job offers started coming in. The exceptions, in the majority of cases, are public speakers who were introduced by name and people I interviewed who agreed to have their full names used. A number of people that I talked to seemed to have been doing very well when they were laid off. Phase 2 involves dreadful meet-and-greet networking rituals, many of them gateways to fundamentalist Christianity, another species of false hope to fuel the unemployed and underemployed.