America is examined through best selling novel Nickel and Dimed, which dives into the question of how unskilled workers survive under the insufficient incomes of America. Barbara Ehrenreich expresses the idea that there is no social class in the country of America. Ehrenreich claims the minimum wage working class in the county are being “nickel and dimed” by the higher power. Thus, preventing the minimum class from living a basic life of comfort. With this in mind, she begins her experiment and applies to multiple low wage jobs. Eventually she is hired for a waitress position and begins surveying the employees to further her research. Ehrenreich uncovers that barely any of the employees financially are able to survive on their incomes and will not be able to last very long. The amount of income she and others make drives her to the realization after calculating her finances that she will have to get a second job. Through this second job we discover that numerous problems can occur between employees and their workplace.
We get a sense of a low wage employees predicaments by examining Ehrenreich dilemma when she comes in contact with unfriendly and demanding customers. Moreover, she doesn’t receive any in between breaks and becomes almost sleep deprived. Henceforth, we observe quite a contrast between the beginning of where she explains her success as writer to dramatically change from that lifestyle and fail at menial labor. Moreover, through chapter two we learn that switching jobs isn’t always easy in the low wage community. Ehrenreich discovers that even though there is a profusion amount of jobs, the pay is still the same across the whole area she is in. Not to mention she unfolds how the work is exhausting and strenuous. Any assistance to the poor in America is controlled by organizations that assume the low wage community do not work, but also how poorly they’re looked upon. Even though as can be seen in the book that man employers work long hard shifts just to barely make it by in their lives.
Furthermore, she decides to move to Minnesota where she learns that their economic situation is more favorable towards low wage workers. Different parts of America the economic stability can vary for low wage employees depending on the labor market. Due to this many employees will result to sharing a living space rather than owning their own apartment, because they can’t afford it. Barbara experiences this when she lives short term with other co workers in Minnesota. We discover that minor problems can occur when you become flexible with your living arrangements, which can be observed when she is asked to take care of one of her roomates birds.
Additionally we begin to understand their is an unfair playing field in america for low wage workers. Finding a job, having enough qualifications, language barrier, and the small pay they recieve hour to hour makes life not as comfortable. These employers are literally living by every nickel and dime they receive from these organizations whom do not realize the amount of effort these people put in every day on their jobs. Henceforth, the low wage lifestyle is just unjust and impractical. For this reason low wage workers will soon not put up with these conditions no more. Workers do not stand up for themselves and are just letting these agencies take advantage of their incomes and lifestyles. The laws and economic conditions for low wage workers as observed must be changed in America to accommodate every social class.
America must be more decent towards the needs of all forms of labor, so we have less people struggling and more thriving.
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