Bait and Switch

A bit of a tough and oddly humourous read is Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Bait and Switch

From the back cover:

Barbara Ehrenreich”™s Nickel and Dimed explored the lives of low-wage workers. Now, in Bait and Switch, she enters another hidden realm of the economy: the shadowy world of the white-collar unemployed. Armed with a plausible résumé of a professional “in transition,”? she attempts to land a middle-class job — undergoing career coaching and personality testing, then trawling a series of EST-like boot camps, job fairs, networking events, and evangelical job-search ministries. She gets an image makeover, works to project a winning attitude, yet is proselytized, scammed, lectured, and — again and again — rejected.

Bait and Switch highlights the people who”™ve done everything right — gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive résumés — yet have become repeatedly vulnerable to financial disaster, and not simply due to the vagaries of the business cycle. Today”™s ultra-lean corporations take pride in shedding their “surplus”? employees — plunging them, for months or years at a stretch, into the twilight zone of white-collar unemployment, where job searching becomes a full-time job in itself. As Ehrenreich discovers, there are few social supports for these newly disposable workers — and little security even for those who have jobs.

I have met with several people that have fallen into this category of being white collar and unemployed. Very high calibre individuals with great backgrounds. Sadly, they found themselves at the wrong company at the wrong time. And they are desperate for work.

The horror stories that I have heard about dead-end job chasing, coupled with the questionable tactics of headhunters and executive coaches, create a very negative view of what it means to be unemployed as a professional. Ehrenreich”™s book is very much aligned with the experiences of the individuals that I have met.

Bait and Switch

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