Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job--any job--can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered.
What is it like to do the back-breaking work of immigrants? To find out, Gabriel Thompson spent a year working alongside Latino immigrants, who initially thought he was either crazy or an undercover immigration agent. Thompson shines a bright light on the underside of the American economy, exposing harsh working conditions, union busting, and lax government enforcement—while telling the stories of workers, undocumented immigrants, and desperate US citizens alike, forced to live with chronic pain in the pursuit of $8 an hour.
A veteran waitress dishes up a spicy and robust account of life as it really exists behind kitchen doors.
Part memoir, part social commentary, part guide to how to behave when dining out, Debra Ginsberg's book takes readers on her twenty year journey as a waitress at a soap operatic Italian restaurant, an exclusive five star dining club, the dingiest of diners, and more. While chronicling her evolution as a writer, Ginsberg takes a behind-the-scenes look at restaurant life-revealing that yes, when pushed, a server will spit in food, and, no, that is not really decaf you are getting-and how most people in this business are in a constant state of waiting to do something else.
After losing her job as a journalist and the security of a good salary, Caitlin Kelly took a part-time job at an upscale outdoor clothing company at her local mall. In this memoir, Kelly recounts her mid-career misadventures in the absurd world of American retail.
When Locke High School opened its doors in 1967, the residents of Watts celebrated it as a sign of the changes promised by Los Angeles. But four decades later, first-year Teach for America recruits Rachelle, Phillip, Hrag, and Taylor are greeted by a school that looks more like a prison, with bars, padlocks, and chains all over.
With little training and experience, these four will be asked to produce academic gains in students who are among the most disadvantaged in the country. Relentless Pursuit lays bare the experiences of these four teachers to evaluate the strengths and peculiarities of Teach for America and a social reality that has become inescapable.
In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a big house, a loving family, and a six-figure salary. By sixty, he had lost everything: downsized at work, divorced at home, and diagnosed with a slow-growing brain tumor, Gill had no money, no insurance, and no prospects. He took a job at Starbucks, and for the first time in his life, he was a minority--the only older white guy working with a team of young African-Americans.
What if you could not afford nine dollar tomatoes? That was the question award-winning journalist Tracie McMillan could not escape as she watched the debate about America's meals unfold, one that urges us to pay food's true cost - which is to say, pay more. So in 2009 McMillan embarked on a groundbreaking undercover journey to see what it takes to eat well in America. For nearly a year, she worked, ate, and lived alongside the working poor to examine how Americans eat when price matters.