A Book Report On Nickel And Dimed By Barbara Ehrenreich

1067 words - 4 pages

Ever wonder what it would be like to work two jobs and still be poor? Ever wonder what it would be like to be unable to afford some of the simple luxuries that we all sometimes take for granted? In America, the great country we have come to know, millions of people are doing just that. Trying to work two jobs, yet, being unable to make ends meet. Barbara Ehrenreich has a Ph. D. and is an author of many other books. She decided to attempt to delve into a life of poverty. She was going to put aside her Ivy League education, and live like someone without an education. Ehrenreichan attempted to do this by getting jobs such a waitress, house cleaner, and even as an employee at Wal-Mart. The question now becomes can she do it? Can she live on minimum wage and keep a roof over her head? Will she be able to put food on the table like all of the others who live this life day in and day out? The answers to these questions may be alarming to some... all too true for many.The author set up some rules in order to try this experiment. The first rule was that she would not fall back on any skills derived from her educational or occupational background. This meant that she could not use her Ph.D. in biology in her search for a job. The second rule was she had to take the highest-paying job offered to her and do her best to maintain it. The third rule was that she had to take the cheapest accommodations that she could find which would offer an acceptable level of safety and privacy. Could someone with this level of education be able to do this realistically? Would Ehrenreich be able to follow these rules without breaking them or falling back on her inherent knowledge? It is rather challenging to be accustomed to a certain lifestyle and then change it, by lowering your personal standards. However, Ehrenreich was determined to try it non-the-less in the hopes of answering some of the questions apparent in the American culture.The book takes place in three locations, Florida, Maine, and Minnesota. At each location, the author takes a different type of job. In Florida, she was a waitress, in Maine, she was in the House cleaning profession, and in Minnesota, she worked in retail. At each location, she faced the initial challenge of finding affordable housing. This proves to be a daunting task, for most places require a one month or more deposit. If you do not have enough money to pay for the first or second months deposit required by most places, then you have to pay an astronomical amount for a weekly rate at a hotel. The next task involves searching through the Want Ads. She ruled out various occupations for one reason or another. For example, the option of a hotel desk clerk was eliminated because it involved standing in one spot for 8 hours a day and she did not want to do that. This act contradicts one rule that she had made, which involved taking the highest paying job available. Realistically, many in the same situation would take any job available in order to...

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