Nice white collar you have there
Barbara Ehrenreich is an author and journalist (wikipedia calls her a social critic and essayist, but we're all social critics here) who wrote a book about the effects of welfare reform and the experiences of the working poor called Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. I read it and thought it was worthwhile, but didn't find it particularly galvanizing or insightful. She went "undercover" and became a member of the working poor for a while, seeing what it was like to live on minimum wage (and busting out for the occasional latte and visit to see her husband.) Then she wrote a book about it. Sweet.
Well, she did it again, and now has a book called Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, this time about the crazy white-collar world, in which most of us here in the blogworld live and move and have our being. I have not yet read it, but will, soon. In the meantime, there's a strange mini-interview with her at the Amazon site for the book, which includes this preposterous statement:
"There's a lot of camaraderie in the blue-collar world I entered in Nickel and Dimed. People help each other and look out for each other; they laugh together--often at the managers. The white-collar world doesn't encourage camaraderie, far from it. There it's all about competition and fear--of losing one's job, for one thing. Other people are seen as sources of contacts or tips, at best; as competitors or rivals, at worst. And among the unemployed add shame and a sense of personal failure, the constant message that it's all your own fault. All this discourages any solidarity with others or real openness."
What do you all make of this? I think it's completely wrong and myopic. For her to say that in general, in the blue-collar world, coworkers laugh, help and look out for each other, and in the white-collar world they don't, is just ridiculous...and I don't think the blue-collar boys and girls at Chrysler or Ford are feeling the job security right now. This is a gross oversimplification up with which I will not put. I've had 9 blue collar jobs and 2 white collar in my 23 years, and the competition, fear, and camaraderie were about the same at each.