Home > Book Review, Social Commentary > Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

Book: Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

Rating: Good

Lesson Learned: reinforced my belief that working harder isn’t the answer for our nation’s poor

This is why my parents made me go get an hourly job flipping burgers when I was in high school. Most people say they make their kids work to teach them work ethic. I think the real value of working is it makes you understand what your own ‘middle class’ status means.

I still remember the first time I received a $500 check after working 40 hours over two weeks at Burger King during one summer. I remember thinking of all the junk I could buy with that money while I realized my forty year old coworker was going to have to use their check to pay rent, buy food, and pay for childcare, in addition to the million other things he had to pay for as an adult.

This bootstrap narrative we teach children is a myth and doesn’t account for the ‘place of birth’ lottery, and the million other factors we are all either blessed or cursed by.

(If I ever decide to go into politics and you attempt to use this against me you are being fanatical. The point I am clearly making in this context is that working hard isn’t the answer to systemic poverty issues. You can work 50 hours a week for $10 and you aren’t meeting expenses. Try to take me out of context now, Deputy Dufas!)

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