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

Interesting insights, though not as interesting as Nickel and Dimed

  • Jun 17, 2008
  • by
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 and no experience, it is no wonder that she had some difficulty finding a high paying job. PR, which is her desired field, is notoriously hard to get into, requiring people to start at the very bottom. However, Ehrenreich just assumed that she would be able to bypass the entry level phase.

Her discussion of networking and career coaching events did make me chuckle, as they are definitely applicable.

When all is said and done, its an alright book. However, I wouldn't run out to the bookstore to get it right away.

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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 . December 09, 2008
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 …
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Jaimie Ucuzoglu ()
Ranked #310
I am a recent USC grad. My degree is in business with an emphasis in management, however I have many interests beyond that. I especially love traveling (been to 20 countries so far and have a long list … more
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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 ...
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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
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