Nickel and Dimed Essay

In Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, Ehrenreich goes undercover as a low-wage worker, when she is really a reporter for New York Times. In Barbara’s journey, it explains all of the hardships workers have with low-wage jobs and makes your think: Does the accumulation of money and power inevitably lead to a loss of spirituality? Ehrenreich states that workers work long and stressful hours for almost no pay whatsoever but many people believe that these certain jobs are too easy and SHOULD receive the low wages that they’re currently receiving.

Do companies that give their workers low wages for the accumulation of money and power inevitably lead to a loss of their ethics and do it also lead to a loss of workers? I believe this is true as I completely agree with Ehrenreich that those certain workers’ wages should be raised and companies are able to do it. First off, employees that work these low-wage jobs donate all of their time, energy, and personal life to these jobs that consume all of their energy. “In every job, in every place I lived, the work absorbed all of my energy and much of my intellect. (Ehrenreich 9) This quote illustrates the how difficult low-wage work really is and that it shouldn’t be looked down upon. Secondly, the money that they do earn is barely enough to support one person, imagine trying to support a whole family on $7. 25 an hour… Not going to happen! Now a days, necessities in life cost entirely too much for these low-wage workers too afford, and everybody has to spend money on themselves some time or another but their extra money is either going to doctor appointments or anything else unexpected life throws at you. What about benefits? Oh yeah, these workers don’t get any benefits at all.

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Low-wage workers are by far the support system of our country, without them, our country would be nowhere. Not everyone agrees with this position, however. Some argue that these workers deserve the low wages they receive due to the fact that they’re “lazy” and didn’t take the time and effort to get a post high school education such as medical school or law school. Others also state that these jobs are not hard and can easily be done without getting drained of all your energy, without working hard, or even without breaking a sweat, and that all they do is sit around and flip burgers while taking people’s orders.

More importantly, however, being able to go to college and get a good degree in a descent field is very difficult if not impossible. The cost of living and studying at a typical private college can add up to close to $45,000, multiply that by four to get your Bachelor’s degree, and that’s a whopping $180,000, an incredible sum of money for the average American. So in the end, working low-wage job may be someone’s only option due to the cost of college and being able to get a better paying job. As for the argument where these jobs aren’t tiring, try cleaning for 8-10 hours a day, it wouldn’t be easy.

Most making the claim that these jobs are “easy”, are sitting down typing on the computer all day, not knowing what the low-wage workers do all day. Low-wage workers are working long and hard hours for almost no pay, which is absolutely ridiculous. These workers dedicate everything in their lives, for $7. 25 an hour. I believe their lives are worth more than that. By saying all of this, I hope you understand that these workers are getting ripped off and no one can or will do ANYTHING about it.