(Not) Getting by in America

I have read the entire book published by the author of this chapter. I found it very interesting. While reading this chapter I was not surprised with what I read. The author not having enough financially with only one minimum wage job.  The very last comment she made was the observation of camaraderie and support between the people who work these types of jobs. This made me think of the two social classes that Karl Marx described – the owners and the laborers. The laborers, in this case the minimum-wage workers, gravitate towards each other in communities.

2. The only time I’ve held a job like the ones described this chapter, is during the summers during my college career. During this time I worked full-time in the fast-food industry. The only way I could mentally keep sane, was knowing I was returning to school in the fall. I felt like I could never hold down this kind of job without having a goal of a bachelor’s degree. Getting up day in and day out to work at a job for a wage that would barely support just myself, I could never do long term. I admire the author for being able to commit to what she did for the time she did, for going through the struggles she did and learning what she did. Working for a low wage was definitely motivation for me to finish my degree!

3. A livable minimum-wage would definitely depend on where a person lives. Different parts of the country cost different amounts on a monthly basis. So determining a minimum wage would be difficult. I do think, though, that society should be encouraged more to live in a more cooperatively way. Meaning, family generations should live together if possible, sharing in the upbringing of children, sharing the costs of living, food and other expenses. I think that’s the answer to our troubled economy. Generations (in families) working together more.

Not Getting By

  1. In the first paragraph i was surprised to find that someone would give up their comfortable lifestyle to try and see what t like being a poor working class person. I was also surprised to find out that 50,000 mothers entire welfare a day. I was surprised at how dedicated she was to the task she had ahead of her but at the same time someone in her shoes really couldn’t eliminate jobs just because they didn’t wanna stand still all day. What really surprised me was the true stories of the people who she worked with. All of them unhappy with their lives and all of them not making enough money to be satisfied. But yet t the same time none of this surprised me because i know that this is the situation for almost everyday in America right now.
  2. I’ve had about 4 jobs since i was 14. I worked at a supermarket for almost a year when i was 14. Which i had to deal with pleasing rude customers. I briefly had a summer job at the Itam lodge working events to please customers. For 2 years when i was 15-17 i worked at Bennigans Grill an Tavern and my job was exactly  like the one described in the book. I wasn’t a waitress i was a hostess but we still took orders or drink orders and had to keep the customers happy in hopes of making enough tips to pay all my bills i have. Even as a hostess i didn’t make minimum wage.
  3. Minimum wage in the U.S. right now is $8.00 an hour. But that is defiantly not enough to get by. To live comfortably in this country to need to make upwards of $50,000 a year. And i would say the average American is either unemployed to not even making anywhere close to that. They’re making something close to $25,000 which is not enough to survive having a place to live and having food especially if you have a family too.

By: Shauna

DISCUSSION: Not Getting by in America

This blog discussion is based on chapter 31 of the book Seeing Ourselves, the article   “Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting By in America” by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Answer and discuss the following questions:
Based on Ehrenreich’s experience, discuss how difficult it would be for you to live on your own making the federal minimum wage? How can a family with two children survive in America earning the federal minimum wage? Do you think that the federal minimum wage should be raised? Please explain.

The students who are assigned to answer these questions are asked to do an original posts and comment on the posts of another student. Other students may comment on these posts. The instructions for these discussions are found on the class Moodle site.