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On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane by [Emily Guendelsberger]
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On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 88 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"Guendelsberger paints a down-to-earth, accessible primer on how dehumanizing and exploitative American wage labor can be-and what can be done to change it."
Vanity Fair

"Nickel and Dimed for the Amazon age."―Salon

"Emily Guendelsberger gives a sense of just how far we are from that dream in On the Clock, a jaunty but dispiriting memoir of her work at three low-rung jobs: at a call center, a McDonald's, and an Amazon warehouse."―Caleb Crain, The New Yorker

"Seen from Guendelsberger's point of view, America's working class is quivering in stress and fear, hurting from torn-up feet, and all covered in honey mustard. The economic miseries inflicted on working-class people are bad enough, but here Guendelsberger has identified something deeper and arguably worse...We've been brutalized, bullied, and baited into being trained work-animals and not even afforded a corresponding. No wonder our society fell apart."
The New Republic

"The understanding that Guendelsberger brings after struggling, even in her somewhat cosplaying way, makes On the Clock the sort of exposé Upton Sinclair would have been proud of."―The Houston Chronicle

"In a timely and important look at the harsh realities of the modern American workplace, journalist Emily Guendelsberger recounts her experiences doing hourly labor all over the country: at a Louisville-based Amazon warehouse, a North Carolina call center and a San Francisco McDonald's."
Laura Pearson, Chicago Tribune, 25 Hot Books of the Summer

"Emily Guendelsberger's On the Clock is among the best of these new accounts of multibillion dollar corporations maximizing profit at the expense of their workforce. In Guendlesberger's case, there are some familiar villains-Amazon and McDonald's-along with a call center job, but what really separates this diaristic account is that it's funny. Which I suppose you have to be when you're doubleshifting in an Amazon warehouse a month before Christmas and the vending machines are stocked with painkillers and you don't even know if you'll have a job in the New Year. Haha!"―Jonny Diamond, Lit Hub Editor-in-Chief

"ON THE CLOCK reads like a dystopian travelogue, the deckhand's journal from a flaming garbage barge on the shoals of late-stage capitalism. Guendelsberger's journey 'in the weeds' of low-wage America is mordantly funny, devastating and rigorous, a broadside against the exploitation of the many by the few and a warning of how easily our sociopathic economy could all come crashing down, leaving even C-suite executives to subsist on ketchup packets and worthless stock options."
Jessica Bruder, author of Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

"When former Onion editor Emily Guendelsberger explores how the non-college majority scrapes by, she uncovers a Darwinian hellscape where the richest man on earth munificently bestows painkillers upon his warehouse serfs, telemarketers pitch products to the newly bereaved, and the customer is always right-even when she's lobbing McNugget sauce at your head. Filled with compassion, fury, and an invigorating dose of hope, On The Clock is the laugh-till-you-cry exposé our laugh-till-you-cry nation deserves."―Daniel Brook, author of The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America, A History o

"ON THE CLOCK is a bracing, revealing tour through realms of the low-wage economy that remain invisible to too many Americans. Emily Guendelsberger is a compelling guide into this world, recounting her experiences in prose that is both barbed and appealing. ON THE CLOCK is the NICKEL AND DIMED for our even more harried and dehumanizing times."

Alec MacGillis, author of The Cynic: The Political Education of Mitch McConnell --This text refers to the paperback edition.

About the Author

Emily Guendelsberger has worked at Philadelphia City Paper, the Onion's A.V. Club, Philadelphia Weekly, and the Philadelphia Daily News, and has contributed to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Post, Politico magazine, and Vice.
--This text refers to the paperback edition.

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Reviewed in the United States on July 16, 2019
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