Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, is an astounding expose? of the lives of minimum wage earners living in the United States. The author forfeited her good life and went undercover in various cities in the U.S.
to assume the role a minimum wage employee. As she describes in the book, Ehrenreich found it hard to make ends meet despite being forced to work on two jobs at the same time (Ehrenreich, 199). In the book, she points out the difficulties and sufferings of people, who, either through not having enough experience or other reasons, have to endure the difficult journey of having to start their careers at the bottom by being paid low-wages. Ehrenreich’s elaboration indicates that they find it hard to get by, and even more cumbersome to forge ways ahead.
Thus, the issues she raises are due to poor leadership and management styles demonstrated by most American companies towards their workforce. It is important to point out that the book is not simply about an explanation of the difficulties endured by minimum-wage workers, but it is timely literary work that attacks the improper leadership and management styles practiced by the corporations in America. Thus, as indicated in Nickel and Dimed, the inefficiencies in running corporations have made many employees to suffer from mistreatment by their employers and even coworkers. In describing her experiences, Ehrenreich says that her performance was excellent at every position; however, she expresses grief over the lack of any motivation or good remarks from either the administration or her coworkers on her performance despite the fact that the responsibilities she was given required a lot of concentration and skills to be performed properly.
For example, she opted out of her first job at Key West, Florida, because there was lack of motivation. Despite doing two jobs at ago, the payment she received from her employers was hardly enough to enough to sustain her and pay her rent. More so, her coworkers did nothing to prevent her exit despite telling them her reasons. The effective running of an organization requires one to be endowed with essential skills in leadership and management. Skills in constantly evaluating the performance of the employees, addressing the various changes and misfortunes that take place in corporations, and effective communication with employees are essential as they make sure that the corporation attains its goals. However, as detailed in the book, these effective management tools are absent in some corporations in America. For instance, while Ehrenreich was working as a maid in Portland, Maine, the management did not care for its employees even if one of them got injured. More so, communicating with the management on issues related to performance improvement at the work place attracted an immediate dismissal.
A notable experience that the author narrates regarding poor leadership and management style is when she worked in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at one of the Wal-Mart’s stores. She noticed that the company’s management used dirty tricks to keep their wages low and the employees are considered just like money making machines and not as assets to the company that should be treated fairly. In conclusion, the book, Nickel and Dimed, points out ineffective management and leadership styles that are being practiced by most corporations in America in order to maintain their wages at low levels. Thus, it is an eye opener for managers who want to maintain a motivated workforce.
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and dimed: on (not) getting by in America. New York: Henry Holt & Co, 2008. Print.