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A Working Stiff's Manifesto: Confessions of a Wage Slave Hardcover – July 1, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Levison is a "modern-day Tom Joad" who, over the last decade, has worked 42 jobs in six different states, including mover, fish cutter, cook, caterer and cable TV thief. He recalls those jobs in this entertaining, unusual mix of autobiography and social commentary reminiscent of Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. Levison imagines himself a new breed of itinerant laborer a college graduate with a $40,000 English degree. His America is a desperate and brutal country, a place where you're hired with a promise of insurance after 90 days, then fired on the 89th; where criminals beat each other to a pulp in Alaska fisheries, and truckers make fraudulent entries in their logbooks in order to keep up with impossible schedules. But Levison's droll sense of humor eases him (and his readers) through the tough times; he recalls catering a party and bleeding into the guests' Merlot, expounds on the definition of "r sum " ("the French term for 'page full of bullshit' ") and proposes a new motto for Dutch Harbor, Alaska ("What fatal flaw in your character made you wind up here?"). As both a writer and an employee, Levison can come off as a trifle obnoxious some of his workplace misfortune he definitely brings on himself and he's mercilessly scornful of the corporate yes-men and unscrupulous characters he works with. Yet his moral vision more than makes up for it; he's a sharp-eyed, impassioned critic of the American workplace. (Apr.) Forecast: Although any book that targets itself toward people without a steady paycheck would seem to be doomed, Levison's just might do well, given today's high unemployment rates and the book's undeniable originality.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
A college graduate with a degree in English, Levison has held 42 jobs in the past ten years. He quit 30 of those jobs, was fired from nine, and can't remember the other three. He is currently unemployed. This 164-page screed details his employment history, but it is obvious that Levison's problem is as much his attitude as the poor market for college graduates. He declares an English degree is only good for secretarial work (ignoring such jobs as public relations and journalism), and he applies for jobs for which he clearly is not qualified and seems surprised when they don't work out. Most of the positions he has held are low-wage, dead-end jobs (e.g., Alaskan fish cutter, furniture mover, heating oil deliveryman, etc.), but he makes little effort to improve his lot. Moving up, Levison observes, is "asking for trouble." His employment history is an entertaining read, but there is no reflection or analysis that would be useful to others. Not recommended. Christopher Brennan, SUNY Coll. at Brockport
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
There were parts that had me laughing out loud ( the head of a sculpture suddenly exploding due to a mistake on Levison's part) and other sections that had me feeling sympathy for the guy. Vividly written, conjuring up the day to day struggles of trying to stay afloat, Levison had me totally riveted from page one. I wish the author would come up with even more works of nonfiction...and I wonder what has happened to him since this book was written.
But there is truth within his observations, and he writes it like it is. He offers a perspective on what is the working reality for many decent, hard-working people. Work at this level has become a game (on both sides). I think it helps to consciously be aware of that. He presents these sad realities with great humor and irony! An easy, quick, entertaining and informative little book.