Nickel and dimed notes

Essay by scion August 2006

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* The idea for this book was developed over an expensive lunch with the editor of Harper's

* Recruitment ads do not equal jobs. Want ads are not a reliable measure of the actual jobs available at any particular time. These are meant to build and maintain a supply of applicants to replace present workers who have resigned or are fired.

* Having a job doesn't guarantee a better life. It is impossible to survive on a minimum wage with one job and barely still with two waitressing jobs. Even so, with two highly stress-related jobs like housekeeping and serving. The author describes how low-wage earners work very hard, take on physically demanding jobs, willingly compromise their health in the process and yet they find themselves sinking deeper into poverty and debt despite a modest lifestyle.

* Despite their despondent state, many of America's low wage earners are not slackers.

They remain immensely committed to their work and take great pride and accountability for their jobs despite the absence of adequate living wages or recognition. In contrast, Dr. Ehrenreich shares eyewitness accounts of cold, calculating, often heartless management policies and practices that deprive workers of self-esteem and dignity that include the absence of break periods (except to pee), security and surveillance checks, managers perpetual harassment, unnecessary drug tests, etc.

* Team spirit and shared resources are what push the lower class to strive in the working class. Ironically, the underprivileged class possesses the resilience to rise above these diversities through a strong system of teamwork and cooperation that allow them to face crisis situations. It is not uncommon to cover work for others, share homes and appliances and services like babysitting and transportation.


* A report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in July...