Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 2.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Right On

Reading from the experienced perspective of an unemployed white-collar worker (IBM got rid of me 5 months ago after 28 years of hard work and dedication), there is truth in this book, even if the undercover job was not acquired. Ehrenreich¿s insight into the resulti...
Reading from the experienced perspective of an unemployed white-collar worker (IBM got rid of me 5 months ago after 28 years of hard work and dedication), there is truth in this book, even if the undercover job was not acquired. Ehrenreich¿s insight into the resulting leeches selling transitional services is right on -- people marketing $200 to $7000 services and clueless activities for finding a comparable job. If you are one of the nervously employed, I recommend reading this book. You will see what is in store for you should you wake up to corporate downsizing tomorrow, after having done everything right. If you are reading the book to gain insight into the grave social and economic problem that is building in America, you will be left with only a glimmer of the true and urgent problem. Read the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. If you are trying to understand the techniques employed behind the true bait and switch, the age-biased employee-laundering and pension defaulting activities occurring in corporations today, you won¿t get the knowledge from this book. Hopefully someone will right the exposé soon, maybe Ehrenreich in her next book...

posted by Anonymous on December 28, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Read This, But With Caution

While my experiences in corporate America have been extremely dissimilar to what the author describes, the book was an easy read and somewhat interesting. Keep in mind that this is the 'experience' of one person spending only a matter of months in a job search, in her a...
While my experiences in corporate America have been extremely dissimilar to what the author describes, the book was an easy read and somewhat interesting. Keep in mind that this is the 'experience' of one person spending only a matter of months in a job search, in her admission seeking a higher level position, and not really truly even wanting the position as a job, but to provide writing material. Her experiences are interesting in that one can get a feel for what some (not all) people go through when searching for a new job in mid-life. But her efforts seemed to be simply a continuation of anecdotes, commiserating with other unemployed people. On a side-note, I strongly disagree with her feeling that the AFLAC duck is an annoying symbol. Personally, I like the duck and think it's a great way to remind people of AFLAC's business. I also didn't care for the way that the end of the book suddenly became a quasi-political platform, including her opinions on universal health-care and social security reform. Those things would seem to have nothing to do with finding a job. Read it, but read with a grain of salt.

posted by Anonymous on March 20, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2006

    Eldery Woman Journalist Pretends to Look For A Job

    This is a book about an elderly woman in her 60s who writes in journalistic fashion about what it is like to look for a job--despite not having held a 'real' job in several decades (her own admission). First of all, I want to point out that the young blond woman on the cover of the hard cover version of this book is definitely not Barbara Ehrenreich. The REAL Barbara Ehrenreich is--I'm guessing--30-40 years older. Is that why this book was titled Bait and Switch? This book is not about an attactive young woman. It is a book about a tired, hate-filled, elderly journalist who spends most of her job search posting her resume on job boards like Monster.com and seeking the good counsel of career coaches. In fact, she spends page after page describing these people--even though 99% of true job seekers do not look for a job this way. This was supposed to be a book about what is is like to work in corporate America. Oddly enough, even though the author was offered TWO jobs, she turned both down. She acted like they weren't good enough. Correction, not good enough for Barbara Ehrenreich. This book stinks.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2005

    More Negativity Masking as Compassion

    Were her agenda not already established, her bonafides not already cemented, the author's so called experiences, might yield some positive recommendations to help those who have found themselves outsized or downsized. But Barbara has an axe to grind. It is clear from the opening pages and from her interviews (I heard the one with Michael Medved) and her rather imperiously sarcastic attitude. She is a rank and file member of the 'it all sucks' club. What she and those of her ilk in politics on the left fail to realize, is that America is a country built on optimism, sometimes blind, but more often than not is equipped with a now-clichéd 'can do' attitude. The world and the country have changed mightily in the past 40 years. I grew up in an entirely different place than I find myself in now. I was interested in her book, because I was forced to change careers after 25 years in an industry that was consolidated and subsequently downsized.......I was a middle management, and indeed executive cog in the Supermarket wheel, and at 47, found myself unemployed and too old to rock and roll and too young to die. If I read Barbara's book before tackling the problem, I might have been encouraged to shoot myself. Except, her so called plight has little to do with how real Americans confront adversity. There are times when you need to go with the flow, and adapt and fit in, and like it or not, 'corporate' culture has and always will favor the institution over the individual....so it has always been and always will be. But America is an entrepeneurial wonderland, and there are times when you apply your attitude, energy and will, and you do not whisper the word Failure. Ever. You do not become a victim. Ever. You do what you have to do to take care of your family. But you don't waste precious time whining or languishing in the notion that government owes you something. 26 weeks unemployment was a humbling experience for me, it was not 60% of my income, as she incorrectly quotes, it was about 15% of mine. Enough to buy gas and essentials, but not designed for me to be comfortable... just a bit of help when I needed it most. Which I paid taxes on, by the way, when I started generating income again. Change is a scary thing. But it is also important for growth. I am stronger and more vital today having been 'removed' from the comfort of my corporate security blanket....less dependent and more interactive. Perhaps clinging to institutional dependence is more the problem. I would have welcomed a treatise on individual responsibility, rather than a blame game on 'who did this to me and why won't they fix it'.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2006

    Five-page article sold as a book

    If you are looking to pass time with an author who is gifted in communicating strong emotions, you found your book. If you are hoping to learn about corporate bait and switch or getting a job, this book is void of that. The book jacket and introduction tells readers the author sets out to get a job, work in corporate America and then write a book about her presumed struggles. Barbara Ehrenreich admits she lied (p.9) to employers about her job history and got friends, with similar values, to substantiate her lies. It didn't work. She never got a job and wrote a book about it anyway. The content basically is a five-page article that Barbara Ehrenreich sold as a 237 page book that is slow paced. Monotonous details are ubiquitous (e.g. itemizing the food in buffet lines and what strangers put on their lunch plates). If you are discouraged about your job search, don't get this book. It will not lift you up, it will not help you get a job and it has serious potential to put you in a depressing downward spiral. Barbara Ehrenreich is unbalanced against capitalism and corporate America. While it is well known they are not perfect, Barbara Ehrenreich never mentions the positive aspects of capitalism and corporate America. Nor does she give comparative statistics on the amount of people who live well in capitalist economies verses other economies. The book is a constant flow of vocational pessimism. Although the author uses the first half of the book to set herself up as a well-reasoned, balanced and unprejudiced person, one does sense there is some bias to her writing. Not until page 139 does Barbara Ehrenreich reveal she is an atheist. Thus, one would think she would avoid churches. Yet she unashamedly goes to churches hoping to secure a job while lying about her background. She then grumbles that she wasted her time there. She mercilessly mocks common church-going people and those who don't accept her anticapitalist views. It is hard to conclude Ehrenreich walked into the church meetings and wrote about them without prejudice. While it is true that bait and switch is going on in numerous HR departments, this book has nothing about that.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2006

    Poorly researched

    This is a book about an angry older woman who looks for a job (barely). She doesn't find one but in the process we learn of her contempt for fat people, Christian, and women who look like tranvestites.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2005

    Opinion Passed Off As Research

    Ehrenreich's book 'Bait and Switch' is a classic example of deciding what conclusions you want to draw and then going out and finding the right anecdotal stories to support your 'conclusions'. There's absolutely no statistical research to support her hypothesis -- after all, that would actually take some effort. She had decided (about three books ago) that free enterprise capitalism is really bad and that most executives are really evil people. This is just one more verbose diatribe in a whole series representing her opinion and what she wishes the world was like. She tried to be cute and show that recruiters, coaches and employment services constitute just another 'industry' trying to rip us off. The substance(?) of the book vividly displays Ehrenreich's lack of scholarship and proves once again that she's out of touch with the real world...not to mention an appalling ignorance of business and economics.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2005

    Writer exposes only a few

    Giving career counseling a bad rap with only a limited view of the profession is by itself an attempt to patronize the public and to discourage readers from seeking assistance. The author failed to speak of many of the independent counselors who work hard with their clients. What Color is Your Parachutte? has a list of good, honest, and decent practioners. Toby Chabon, M.ED

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2005

    'No One Will Hire Me!!!'

    That's the plaintive cry of Barbara Ehrenreich in this much overdone, pointless and impertinent memoir. In reality, the book is a two-hundred page expanded diabribe about the author's failed attempt (?) to find a well-paying job in corporate public relations. She walks around with an angry scowl etched on her face--a sulky and entitled matron grasping a dog-eared, fabricated resume. Her naivite about the job search process would astonish an 18 year old work study student. Get real Barbara. A true job search takes energy, courage, and persistence.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2005

    About as Thoughtful as Nickel and Dimed

    If you're uninformed enough to have enjoyed and believed the socialist tripe in Nickel and Dimed, you might enjoy this piece of work. It has about the same level of informed analysis.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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