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Nickel And Dimed Essay

1951 words - 8 pages

Barbara Ehrenreich's intent in the book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America exhibited how minimum wage isn't enough for Americans to get by on and that there's no hope for the lower class. Her main objective was achieved by living out the life of the "working poor". During the three cases studies she worked many jobs that are worked by many that are simply striving to live day to day. The jobs she had didn't generate sufficient income to avoid or help her rise out of poverty, in fact the six to seven dollar jobs made survival considerably difficult. Enitially, she believe the jobs didn't require any skill but while on her journey she started to realize they were stressful and drained a lot of energy. In addition to that she saw it was almost impossible to get out of the rut of low paying professions once you're in. Barbra Ehrenreich moved throughout three locations attempting to prove her argument. In those states she obtained a job as a waitress, hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. Not only did she learn about the low wages but also the treatment that was shown to the workers.
In Florida she almost develops a hate for managment, one being that managers can sit around hours on end and get away with it and secondly because the showed no passion for the job they had. One job wasnt good enough at that time for her, given that she couldn’t pay her rent. She tries working two jobs for one day but gives up because she felt it would be to much of a toll on her. With plentiful job opportunities, Maine was next on her list. Jobs there were no better than in the Key West because they payed the same. Barbra started out living in Motel 6 but it got to expensive so she accepted a cottage, which was sort of out of her budget. At this time she was working as a nursing home aide. Finally, she moved on to Minnesota where she worker in retail. She surprisingly turns down the higher paying job at Menard's and takes the job at Wal-Mart.
Often throughout the book she mentions that it is said that "you're paid what you're worth", saying that little pay results in you not being to good of a person. With that label they were looked down on and viewed kind of as untouchables. They had low pay, long hours, no overtime pay, and no benefits which leads to low socio-economic-status a job that no one wants to pursue. She stressed that poverty wasn’t a sustainable condition, it's a state of emergency. Citizens in the lower classes are left to fend for themselves and the ten, eight, or six dollar jobs are all that's there for them. What she would encourage them to do is to demand to be paid what they're worth because in the end they will be better off.
Nickel and Dimed relates to political science because it deals with public opinion, political economy, and exercise of power of both fear and authority in general. Not that the working class's opinion mattered to all, but it was expressed and many times...

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