I was a big fan of "Nickel and Dimed", so I was looking forward to reading this book as well. I love Ehrenreich's writing style and found the story fascinating. However, I felt unfulfilled by the conclusion. I felt that she did not budget a reasonable amount of time for the project, and, thus, gave up too quickly. I was hoping that she would either find a job in the end, or, alternatively, take the "job" she was offered and continue her search to give a more typical account of a job search. The book wasn't bad by any means, but I don't have a desire to read it again, as I did for "Nickel and Dimed."
K. K. reviewed Bait and Switch : The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream (Audio CD) (Unabridged) on + 68 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I thought this was exceptionally well written and a good approach at what exists in the job market today. Yes, there were issues with the experiment regarding the level of background the author could reveal but this was covered in the beginning and a plausible background was created given her talents with references (the few people in on her undercover work). As a person who worked in the Human Resources field, who also had a work gap which had to be explained. I felt her experiences were accurate.
I love Barbara Ehrenreich. This time she gets to the bottom of how the middle-class and "jobs for life" are a thing of the past. And, if you do have a job, it doesn't matter. Age discrimination firing can get you! And unions? They're not much help either. They take your money but they're not much support except to suggest you proceed with a lawsuit! It's scary out here in the world!
Ehrenreich explores the trials, tribulations, and lack of success of a middle class white collar woman during a search for a job. To write this book, Ehrenreich went "undercover" as a middle-aged woman returning to the full-time workforce, in an attempt to experience some of the elements that face down-sized or underemployed workers today. Though this book was written in 2005/06 it still seems relevant to today's economy and workforce. If that's true, then this book paints a bleak picture of the trials and outcomes facing today's educated job-seeker. I'm not sure how universal Ehrenreich's experience is, but the book is damned depressing. Ultimately though, as reading matter, its not as engaging as "Nickeled and Dimed", Ehrenreich's exploration of woman's entry level blue collar work. I guess its hard to make time spent at a computer and in various networking and support group meetings as interesting as being abused by one's boss at Walmart. Still, the picture it paints of America's corporate job market is scary.
Ehrenreich writes much of this seeminly tongue-in-cheek. You can easily read between the lines. Some of this is laugh-out-loud funny, until you consider this is nonfiction! Then, it might give you shivers.
Even more important than when it was first published, this should comfort anyone who works for any company anywhere. It will also be tempting to leave copies on the desks of management.
Barbara Ehrenreich is for sure a flaming liberal and that powers certain comments she makes in the book I'm sure (white collar corporate workers have no dignity?). Putting aside those kinds of comments, if you want to know what job searching is like for white collar workers this book describes it perfectly. Written in 2005 it is just as applicable now as it was then. I just spent 11 months looking for a job - trust me on this one. From useless career coaches to the futility of networking with other unemployed people she strikes the perfect tone of irony and compassion. Sure she starts from the point of view of an anti-corporate socialist, but her description of trying to find a job in today's America is dead on. I liked this one so much I listened to it twice back to back. I'm And if you're currently unemployed, this book serves to remind you of that one very important thing: it's really not you personally that is being rejected despite the fact that is how it feels.
Interesting first hand report by a well-known, experienced writer who goes undercover to find a job in the professional world. Though she attends workshops and networking groups and hires personal coaches to reform her resume and her wardrobe, it is months before she has even a glimpse of a job offer and even then it's a commission-only offer without benefits or an office.
I'm a freelancer and found this scenario brutally honest...gave me a new perspective on those in mid-life who are suddenly unemployed and must find a way to support their families.
"The book is written exceptionally well, is quite funny, and ...it is well worth reading. In fact I think every corporate executive who has a role in determining the fate of middle managers should read this book if for no other reason than getting a first hand glimpse at the impact of their decisions." amazon