Bait and Switch
The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
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 résumé 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 résumés—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 exposé of economic cruelty where we least expect it.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
Another Excellent Book By This Author
Like in her book, "Nickel and Dimed," this author poses as an unemployed worker trying to find a job and shows us how difficult it is to find one. We're shown how the unemployed have to maneuver through connections, employment agencies, online job sites, and support groups, and dubious job-seeker mentors (all of which seem to exist more to enrich them, rather than the unemployed) to find a job. She also exposes how workers who don't conform to certain age groups or societal, religious, or racial norms can be being frozen out of the job market. Anyone who has been -- or thinks they ever might be laid off or fired in the future -- should read this book.