Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hardworking and Struggling

Nickel and Dimed written by Barbara Ehrenreich provides an insight to those who work in blue collared professions, but still seem to be struggling to make enough money to provide for their day to day lives. This article, which seems to be an autobiography of some sort, follows a newly hired housecleaner in a large corporation, and how she ensued extremely hard work conditions, like following strict rules and dealing with difficult clients. Her main purpose to get across was the fact that many people work hard at their jobs, but still seem to find themselves impoverished. With Ehrenreich’s opinion being stated, I seem to agree with her on the basis of poverty being seen so differently by every person. A lot of our viewpoints of poverty are of those sleeping on the street are there for their own wrongdoings, rather than just being dealt a deal of misfortunes. Not only does she explain her own misfortunes with acquiring enough money to buy some food to fulfill her throughout the day, but she gives an insight on how her co-workers also struggle with the ability to provide for their own needs as well for their families. Her main purpose for producing this reading was to give those who are not in a situation where they wondered if they were going to be able to scrape enough money up for food, while working a less than minimum waged job, an insight to this hard life. It is clear that Ehrenreich has a strong feeling about blue-collared jobs and the impoverished lifestyle that can still go along with it. From my point of view, this reading allows us to think of all the different types of poverty that goes around us. Poverty ranging from living in the streets to someone in a house but barely making ends meet

1 comment:

  1. I agree with what you've said, but for me personally, this piece was actually about a different dynamic revolving around our worldviews. In my mind, it's not so much that we think of poverty as living in the streets, but rather that we look down on poverty and see it as a product of laziness, lack of ambition, etc. But this is an account from a woman who, by all means, is in poverty, but shows herself doing grimy, difficult work for a meager living. Additionally, there is something of a culture developed in these low-wage working worlds—the carpooling, the lunch-sharing, the general grind of it all—which defines a bit of the mindset surrounding the experience. Living within your means is a pretty incredible thing for people in positions like the one portrayed in Nickel and Dimed to do. It is, though, a great insight to her life of blue-collar work, as you mentioned. Many people have never and will never get that sort of life experience, working for low wages, paycheck to paycheck at a job which is physically demanding and even belittling in some cases. It's not just about giving an insight to what it's like, in my opinion—it's also about showing that those in poverty have not automatically earned their place there, it can be a result of misfortunes (as you said) and tough circumstances. It's like a lottery of punishment, in a sense and it's something we should strive to have greater understanding about as a society. Many people still believe that working hard has an unbreakable direct correlation to success, but that's simply not the case. Of course they're related, but many people are simply dealt bad hands in life, sometimes with no way out.