Bait and Switch (Paperback)
The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream
Holt Paperbacks, 9780805081244, 272pp.
Publication Date: July 25, 2006
The New York Times bestselling investigation into white-collar unemployment from "our premier reporter of the underside of capitalism"—The New York Times Book Review
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.
About the Author
Barbara Ehrenreich is the bestselling author of several books, including Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch, Bright-sided, This Land Is Their Land, Dancing In The Streets, and Blood Rites. A frequent contributor to Harper's and The Nation, she has also been a columnist at The New York Times and Time magazine.
“A simply brilliant, hilarious satirist.”—The Baltimore Sun
“It would be hard to find a wittier, more insightful guide to the last three decades than Ehrenreich. Arguing with her is part of the pleasure of reading her.”—Laura Shapiro, Newsweek
Praise For Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream…
“We have Barbara Ehrenreich to thank for bringing us the news of America's working poor so clearly and directly, and conveying with it a deep moral outrage . . . She is our premier reporter of the underside of capitalism.” —The New York Times Book Review on Nickel and Dimed
“Jarring, full of riveting grit . . . This book is already unforgettable.” —Newsweek on Nickel and Dimed
“Courageous . . . a superb and frightening look into the lives of hard-working Americans.” —San Francisco Chronicle on Nickel and Dimed