Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that you could pick and choose jobs when you're flat broke.

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"Never mind.  I'm off first thingin the morning to look for a job. No waitressing, nursing homes, or housecleaning this time; I'm psched for a change-retail, maybe, or factory work.  I drive to the two nearest Wal-Marts, fill out applications, then head for a third one a forty-five minute drive away on the opposite edge of the city (Ehrenreich 123)."

This part really frustrated me, and we actually talked a lot about this in my government class last semester.  I think that her book would have been a lot better if she would have stuck to one job.  It really angers me that she set out to see what it was like to be lower class, but never hung around long enough to actually FEEL what it was like.  I mean if you keep changing, you're not really learning anything because you're cheating yourself out of the experience.

How can she say that she knows what it's like to be a waitress, or a house clearner, if she only stuck around in the job for several months?  If she had emergency money set aside, she wasn't technically making a living off her earnings. She still enjoyed luxuries that she wouldn't have had if she was living the life of a lower class, single woman. 

What I really don't understand is how she randomly took days off to find a job.  I know from the experience of waitressing and working with others in that position, that a day or two off of work is almost class suicide.  That's 50 bucks that you're in the hole now.  That's food for the next couple days, or payment for the hotel your staying in.  It's unheard of for the working poor.

I agree with the message that the author was trying to send, but I don't think that she did it to the fullest of her abilities.

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4 Comments

Maddie Gillespie said:

Okay, I'l concede to the fact that I both agree and disagree with you. I agree with you on the message that the author was trying (and mostly succeeding) to send, but I disagree with you on how long she should have stayed in those positions. In the end, I think it comes down to the fact that she was writing this in order to attain information for a novel, not in order to actually get by in such a class. She was also not a young woman when she went on this adventure, nor did she ever desire to live in such manner. I personally think that if she stayed for much longer in her jobs, that she would have lost all frame of reference on the life she led before she'd started. One can't become so mired down in the lives of others that they forget to live themselves. You do make a could point, I simply choose not to agree with ya. For all who criticize her work, I'd like to see you march right out into the world and try to do what she did for a longer length of time without the much controversial "emergency fund" and car that she kept in place. Stand fully in the shoes of another, and you will see things from a very different light as from what you first perceived them to be.

Stephanie Wytovich said:

I understand that she was writing information for a novel, and that is why she went through several jobs to attain information. What I am merely getting at, is the fact that she could not have fully understood what intensity of the jobs and the lives people lead (who work them) by just staying there for a short period of time. I'm not saying that she should give up her life for a life of poverty and suffering, but I'm saying that she should have put the combined amount of all jobs, into one to get a more concise experience/experiment. You don't fully understand something unless you stick with it long enough to find out.

Katie Vann said:

I agree with most of what you said Steph and agree with some of what Maddie said. I agree that you can't get the real idea of what a job and lifestyle is like unless you stick with it for a longer amount of time than just a few short months. However, for the book, more than just one job experience was probably needed. But, I agreed completely about the comment you made Steph about how she took days off to go job searching. She should have had to conintue to work at one job while searching for another to get the real life experience. Those less fortunate rarely, if ever, get "days off". It would have been more stressful on her, but definately more realistic had she attempted to do both at the same time.

Katie Vann said:

I agree with most of what you said Steph and agree with some of what Maddie said. I agree that you can't get the real idea of what a job and lifestyle is like unless you stick with it for a longer amount of time than just a few short months. However, for the book, more than just one job experience was probably needed. But, I agreed completely about the comment you made Steph about how she took days off to go job searching. She should have had to conintue to work at one job while searching for another to get the real life experience. Those less fortunate rarely, if ever, get "days off". It would have been more stressful on her, but definately more realistic had she attempted to do both at the same time.

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