Customer Reviews for

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

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Reality, and those who are motivated to deny it.

I am a Computer Programmer who could find a job in a month back in the early nineties. Recently it took twenty two months. Yet we are told that there is a shortage. The book is right on the mark.

posted by Anonymous on October 27, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

She barely looked for a job!

Halfway through the book, a career coach tells Barbara 'Alexander' that she seems . . 'angry.' She takes umbrage at the comment. In reality, the career coach's accusation may be the understatement of the century for readers of this lethargic study of a journalist hopi...
Halfway through the book, a career coach tells Barbara 'Alexander' that she seems . . 'angry.' She takes umbrage at the comment. In reality, the career coach's accusation may be the understatement of the century for readers of this lethargic study of a journalist hoping to land an executive-level job. She never does take a job--though she was offered two--but instead spends most of the book meeting with career coaches and slithering in and out of job fairs and support groups for fellow job seekers. Is she angry? I would say so, but it's hard to tell who is angrier--Barbara 'Alexander' the fictional job seeker, or Barbara Ehrenreich, the author. She doesn't find an 'acceptable' job for a long list of reasons. First of all, she is much, much older than the average job seeker. Enhrenreich doesn't reveal her exact age, but do the math: this is a woman who got her doctoral degree in the late 1960s. That makes her 60+ at the time she was researching and writing this book. [n.b. the woman on the cover of this book, a pretty, young blonde woman in her 20s, is definitely not Barbara Ehrenreich. the woman is a model]Second, she has very little experience to offer by way of her fabricated resume. She was looking for an 'executive-level' job despite presenting a career that consisted mostly of consulting. Third, she is so contemptuous of the corporate workplace, career coaches, and many of the people she encounters throughout her journey. I think a lot of the people she met thought she was angry, old, unmotivated, poorly dressed, officious, unqualified, or all of the above. On a final note, I don't think she tried very hard to look for a job. She seemed all too eager to post her 'resume' on job boards, and all too resistent to applying for 'real' jobs or networking with actual employers.

posted by Anonymous on August 27, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2007

    A compelling critique of capitalism, in layman┬┐s terms.

    I am somewhat surprised at the contempt expressed by some of the other reviewers toward this author and the book, especially as it appears that their reading was ether incomplete or superficial. A common complaint seems to be that her experiences do not actually represent the condition within the corporate world. It is important to remember that it was never her intention to do a comprehensive study of corporate working conditions and its culture, as an entire body of sociological and economic scholarship is already devoted to that. She merely brings the same kind of firsthand investigation and direct interaction to depict the stories of ¿real people¿ as she did in Nickel and Dimmed. In this sense her contribution to the study of the corporation might not be original, but it is based on sound academic research 'look at the citations before you question the soundness of her claims' and is indeed factual. For those interested in a very accessible critique and social commentary directed toward the capitalist economic structure and its founding element the corporation, than this is indeed the book for you. In Barbara¿s book the working conditions and ideology of the corporation are depicted as a paradigm for the socio-economic arrangement of America, and thus the corporation is studied as a micro-chasm of a capitalistically oriented society. By illustrating the emerging and escalating crisis, exemplified by the formation of a new unemployment or ¿transition¿ market, Barbara critiques not only the corporation, but also the entire economic system that is founded upon them. As a side note, despite the previous reviewers remarks, none of her analysis is devoted to discrimination against ¿fat¿ people or Christians¿which leads me to believe that certain individuals who have reviewed this book how not read it at all.

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