Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream » User review

Fun to read, but very depressing!

  • Dec 9, 2008
  • by
Barbara Ehrenreich's Bait and Switch provides insight into the struggles that many white-collar Americans face when laid off late in their careers. In this book, Ehrenreich pretends to be on the job hunt for a white-collar job and subjects herself to all the adventures that such a quest entails.

While the book does contain a lot of facts and reveals that white-collar jobs are becoming just as precious as blue-collar posts, I felt that the book had an incredibly negative tone and that Ehrenreich could have, at times, pursued different courses of actions that would have ultimately landed her a job a little more quickly. It seemed as though she intentionally sabotaged her prospects at finding new jobs in order to continue her drama, chapter after chapter, letdown after failure, and the like.

It's a good read because it makes you more sensitive to the issues that all working Americans face on a daily basis, especially as our economy shifts into a global setting. But I wish she would have had some discussion about alternative courses of action so that readers wouldn't put the book down and think that permanent unemployment is in their future.

Ultimately, I'd give this book a +2 rating from the perspective of a recent college grad who had trouble finding work for a long time and from the perspective of a social science major. It's a good book, fun a times, but just be ready to experience a lot of pessimism.

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
More Bait and Switch: The (Futile) ... reviews
Quick Tip by . July 08, 2010
This one will make you mad at times, shake your head in agreement, and want to fix the system somehow.
review by . November 26, 2008
Unemployment 1
Being an unabashed liberal Barbara Ehrenreich had little empathy for the plight of white collar workers in America.  Before embarking on the year long project that would result in her book "Bait and Switch:  The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream " Barbara mistakenly assumed that when these folks were laid off or "downsized" by corporate America that the disruption to their lives was minimal and that most would quickly land on their feet.  By putting herself …
review by . June 17, 2008
As someone who recently went through a job search, I could definitely relate to Barbara's book. Her discussions of less than ethical recruiters, strange unknown standards, and supposedly insightful "personality" tests definitely brought back memories. However, the book unfortunately takes on a very negative tone. While the issues and problems she discussed certainly exist in the corporate world, there are positives that she fails to mention. Also, given that she's coming in with fake credentials …
About the reviewer
Ali ()
Ranked #106
Member Since: Dec 8, 2008
Last Login: Jun 8, 2012 04:51 AM UTC
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this book


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

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. Armed with the plausible résumé of a professional "in transition," she attempts 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 everything right—gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive résumés—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 all, there is no honest reckoning with the inevitable consequences of the harsh new economy; rather, the jobless are persuaded that they have only themselves to blame.

Alternately hilarious and tragic, Bait and Switch, like the classic Nickel and Dimed, is a searing exposé of the cruel new reality in which we all now live.

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of thirteen books, including The New York Times bestseller Nickel and ...
view wiki


ISBN-10: 0739465538
ISBN-13: 978-0739465530
Author: Barbara Ehrenreich
Genre: Non-Fiction/Sociology, General, Science, Nature & How It Works, Politics, Social Science, Economic Conditions, Labor & Industrial Relations, Unemployment, Economics, Political Science, U.S., Blue Politics
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Date Published: January 1, 2005
ISBN: 0805076069
Format: Hardcover/Paperback
© 2015 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since