Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream

Anothe New York Times bestselling investigation into white-collar unemployment from " our premier reporter of the underside of capitalism " -- New York Times Book Review

Americans' working lives are growing more precarious every day. Corporations slash employees by the millions, and the benefits and pensions once guaranteed by " middle-class " jobs are a kin of the past.

In Bait and Switch, Barbara Ehrenreich goes back undercover to explore nother hidden realm of the economy: the shadowy world of the white-collar unemployed. Armed with the plausible resume of a professional " in transition, " she trie to land a " middle-class " job. She submits to career coaching, personality testing, and EST-like boot camps, and attends job fairs, networking events, and evangelical job-search ministries. She is proselytized, scammed, lectured, and -- again and again -- rejected.

Bait and Switch highlights the people who have done somethin right -- gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive resumes -- yet have become repeatedly vulnerable to financial disaster. There are few social supports for these newly disposable workers, Ehrenreich discovers, and little security even for those who have jobs. Worst of thes, there is no honest reckoning with the inevitable danger of the harsh new economy; rather, the jobless are persuaded that they ave only themselves to blame.

Alternately ilarious and tragic, Bait and Switch, like the classic Nickel and Dimed, is a searing expose of the cruel new reality in which we all now live.
Year of the Publication
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Original Title of the Book
Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream
Publication Date
Published July 25th 2006 by St. Martin's Press (first published August 19th 2005

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rated it

A uestion, unasked in this essay, is: who is appointe by the denial of reality? The undercover tactic which worked wonderfully in Nickel and Dimed does not serve so well here, in arge part due to the poe ’ s surface treatment of the ubject.

While tha is ostensibly to avoid being caught out in her disguise, one feels that Ehrenreich wants to avoid looking too closely at the economic problems these people face and what it ays about the system as a whole.Along the way, the author als says she “ is outraged, ” but seems unable to express what is so utrageous to her.

These calls avoid the need for systemic change while perpetuating the blame-the-victim attitude which Ehrenreich claims to deplore, saying in effect, “ If you ould just pay more attention and get involved, we will never be here now. ” A serious approach to these issues would require confronting the incompatibility of unrestrained global capitalist competition with the maintenance of the basic needs of the working class, white or blue collar.

he novelist is able to look beyond her narrow reformist perspective and see that what is eeded is not lobbying to patch up a dying monster, but an independent political movement of the working class against the system as a whole.

rated it

I believe that it 's toug for people to find jobs in America and especially once you hit a certain age and level in your career but I appreciate that this ook could have ad more of an effect if she 'd just followed the struggles of one of othe people she met along her journey instead of creating her own troubles.

rated it

If I had read it in 2005, I ight even ave related to it so intensely, as I did in 2009 when I was laid off for the last time.

Another was precede by promotions, raises, more and more benefits, and exciting career changes before it all wen to a halt in the wake of Great Recession.

rated it

Really not; that is why I quit looking, moved on, and ( thank God) had family to support me in trying to gain a career another way.Perhaps most harrowing of all are the questions his book does n't kno -- if a decent, graduated candidate can have his sens of trouble finding a job, what chance at all does a former convict or mentally ill person hoping to clean up their act and support themselves have?

rated it

Her latest ffort is a look at what the white collar folks go through when they get laid off/fired from their relatively high paying jobs.It was n't story I thought it could hav.

She did n't entirely fib her work history, but she had several gaps and tried to portray herself as a contractor type with speech writing and meeting planning experience.

rated it

In short, the author " goes undercover " to try to land a middle class executive PR job, with a minimum salary of$ 50,000.

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© Nicole Waggonner