Bait and Switch

  • by Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Narrated by Anne Twomey
  • 6 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of Nickel and Dimed goes back undercover to do for America's ailing middle class what she did for the working poor.Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed explored the lives of low-wage workers. Now, in Bait and Switch, she enters another hidden realm of the economy: the world of the white-collar unemployed. Armed with a plausible resume of a professional "in transition", Ehrenreich attempts to land a middle class job undergoing career coaching and personality testing, then begins trawling a series of EST-like boot camps, job fairs, networking events, and evangelical job-search "ministries". She gets an image makeover to prepare her for the corporate world and works hard to project the winning attitude recommended for a successful job search. She is proselytized, scammed, lectured, and, again and again, rejected.
Bait and Switch highlights the people who've done everything right: gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive resumes, yet have become repeatedly vulnerable to financial disaster and not simply due to the vagaries of the business cycle. Today's ultra-lean corporations take pride in shedding their "surplus" employees, plunging them, for months or years at a stretch, into the twilight zone of white-collar unemployment, where job-searching becomes a full-time job in itself. As Ehrenreich discovers, there are few social supports for the new disposable workers, and little security even for those who have jobs.

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What the Critics Say

"Jarring, full of riveting grit....This book is already unforgettable." (Newsweek)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A terrible book - princess Barbara goes undercover

A terrible read. This book might as well have been written by someone who had lived in a cave for the last 30 years and decided to go seek an executive job and complained about how hard it was. The book does a terrible disservice to the white collar unemployed, since many of these folks do face extreme hardships, often through no fault of their own (whereas the book definitely makes it obvious to me that I would never hire the author in a million years, so she should stop whining). The author's prior book, Nickeled and Dimed, was at least a more enjoyable read, but now I'm beginning to wonder if that too wasn't completely overdramatized by this princess of an author. A few highlights of the book:

1) The author decides to seek an executive job, but has absolutely no prior relevant experience. When seeking a sales job for example, she says she wants to be the sales manager, though she has no sales experience. Is it no surprise she doesn't get a job?
2) The author seeks out a strange group of coaches (which I have to wonder if she has misrepresented these poor folks as well, given the rest of the book). The coaches ask her to take several personality tests. She fabricates random answers to these tests. The tests, given the random answers, point her in many different directions. Author's conclusion: the tests are worthless (they may be, but making up random answers wouldn't be my way of proving it)

3) The author obtains further advice. She is 'surprised' that corporate hiring managers would like to hire people that are likable and that can dress appropriately for an interview. Granted, this may be strange and foreign to those that have never held a job before, but for a mid-age worker seeking an executive position, you would think that this wouldn't be a surprise.

4) The author find some independent rep sales positons. She is 'surprised' that she is not given an office'

5) The author calls for the unemployed white collar to unite.
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- Peter

Do not buy this book! Very Depressing

I bought ?Bait and Switch? thinking that I was going to get some insight and possibly an idea that I might offer a couple of friends that are out of work. After listening to this, I was more depressed than they are. This book offers nothing to the listener. It is an over detailed account depressively narrated by Anne Twomey of what ?Jane Alexander? experienced going undercover to ?experience the trail and tribulations of middle class unemployment;? something she would never be able experience to as a millionaire writer, in a pretend mood because she?ll never truly ?feel? what the middle class emotional feel. It?s like Martha Stewart going to prison, both ladies knew it is short term and when their term / experience is up they are back enjoying the best the world has to offer. Barbara Ehrenreich I?m sure is back enjoying the rewards of her book sales, maybe she refund my money If she really wanted to help the middle aged, white-collar, unemployed, she should donate some of her proceeds from this book to professional help organizations. Move and buy Keith Harrell?s Attitude is Everything and get inspired.
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- David

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-19-2005
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio