Essay On Nickel And Dimed

932 Words4 Pages
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich is a captivating account of what life is like on the inside of lower class American living. Ehrenreich goes undercover as a previous stay at home mom with little work or schooling experience to discover for herself the toils of barely getting by. This project leads Ehrenreich to realize how hard people work for such low wages in order to keep a job in the struggling economy. Ehrenreich went from having a well off privileged life to starting life on the bottom of the corporate ladder for the sake of understanding the question “How does anyone live on the wages available to the unskilled?”(1) The realization of how terrifying it can be to compete with well experienced people who held connections amongst…show more content…
It is this middle class privilege that speeds up the process of climbing up the cooperate ladder an advantage someone of lower class does not have. Her family constantly reminded her: “I could do this project, after a fashion, without ever leaving my study. I could just pay myself a typical entry level wage for 8 hours a day, charge myself for room and board plus some plausible expenses like gas and total up the numbers after a month”(2), but Ehrenreich felt the need to do her project well and do her project right. Tallying up numbers would’ve been the easiest way to go about her project, but the easy road would’ve have given her a dry article it was the experience that gave her a book. The transition from a privileged life was not easy and extensive budgeting was needed in order to stay afloat, “I figure that if I can earn $7 an hour- which from the want ads, seems doable- I can afford to spend $500 on rent or,… maybe $600 and still have $400 or $500 left over for food and gas.”(12) The way she talks about her budgeting portrays the amount of thought needed just to ration money to cover expenses. Ehrenreich’s question of “how do people survive on low income wages” in my opinion can be answered by looking at the millions of people who can manage to stay
Open Document