Thursday, October 06, 2005

Ehrenreich: Bait and Switch

I just finished Barbara Ehrenriech's new book, Bait and Switch, The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, which is about being unemployed or underemployed in white-collar America.

It's not for the faint-of-heart. It's disturbing.

But, also, she's a really funny writer. If such a sore subject can be made into something fairly amusing and entertaining, she's the man for the job. And she pulls it off brilliantly as she poses as an unemployed PR professional and spends a year trying to find work.

Of course, it was fun for me as a writer and free-lancer (like her) to imagine such a charade, and as she comments at the end of the book, she could snap her fingers and like magic, escape this fantasy of being hopelessly unemployed, since it was simply researching a book for her. Her real-life counterparts, brave comrades in relentless job searching, who were seriously in need of work, were not so lucky.

Read it -- it will give you a whole new attitude -- or maybe not -- about the state of white-collar employment and the precarious nature of corporate America.