Seminar Paper Sociology

Submitted By sarahsoccer29
Words: 3409
Pages: 14

Sarah Tuemmler
Living Life Poor “So this is not a story of some death-defying undercover adventure. Almost anyone could do what I did-look for jobs, work those jobs, try to make ends meet. In fact, millions of Americans do it everyday, and with a lot less fanfare and dilthering.”(Ehrenreich 6) This is a quote from one of New York Times best selling book called Nickel and Dimed.This book is a detailed account about a women named Barbara Ehnrenreich who decided to dive into the low wage work force in America and try to live off of working these jobs. She wanted to see if she could survive working these low paying, gruesome jobs that many Americans are working today just to make enough money to put some food on the table. Going from state to state and working any job that you can find is something some Americans will never be familiar with. Barbara has a Ph. D. and certainly can get a high paying job for herself. She wants to know what it is really like in the low-wage work force and so she is going in herself to experience exactly what someone’s life is like working these jobs in today’s economy. Taking a look at her journey throughout this book gives us a glimpse of what life would really be like if you had to live paycheck by paycheck, work long hours, and not know where your next meal was going to come from. The first chapter of the book details her first set of low wage jobs in the state of Florida. “During my moth of poverty and toil, no one recognizes my face or my name, which goes unnoticed and for the most part unuttered. In this parallel universe where my father never got out of the mines, and I never got through college, I am “baby,” “honey., “blondie,” and, most commonly, “girl.”(Ehrenreich 12) She is ready to dive into the low wage work force in hope of being able to see what its really like to be one of these workers. Her first job she obtains is waitressing. She is working long hard days at a restaurant for low wages. She then obtains another job at another restaurant. She soon realizes that she cannot handle working both of these jobs so remains at one. She scarcely receives a break at this job working eight hours non stop. She realizes how management doesn’t really care how you feel as long as you put a smile on your face for the customers. You can be having the worst day of your life not knowing when you are going to be able to sit down and put your feet up, and your manager could care less. The only people who might know are your fellow coworkers who are going through the same stress and exhaustion you are. Even if she doesn’t have a chance to go to the bathroom, so what. If she wants to keep the job she is expected to be on her feet all day running back and forth from the kitchen to the customers with barely a second to breathe. Everything is about work, work, work and no time for rest. About a month as a waitress, it was time to find another job. Waitressing wasn’t making the cut and she just couldn’t handle it anymore. It was time for housekeeping. Housekeeping comes with whole knew exhausting tasks which include cleaning up everything and anything the customer leaves behind. Your there day in and day out to just clean everything and make sure everything is how its supposed to look. That job sure doesn’t last long as she leaves after just the first day as the manager is yelling at everyone and the conditions of the job are somewhat unbearable. She doesn’t even need to tell the owner of the hotel that she is leaving she just walks out. The feeling of failure starts to ring in heavy as she dwells on the fact that she has just walked out on this job. But the long shifts and the relentless concentration were too much for her to bare and it was her first test of herself in this workplace and she has failed. Many of her fellow coworkers were living out of their cars and didn’t have a real roof over their heads. She is currently living in a trailer park and is now on to her next stop in her journey and