Having been fascinated by Nickel and Dimed, I looked forward to Bait and Switch very much. I came away disappointed. This book isn't nearly as good as Nickel and Dimed. Had I known what the book was about I wouldn't have read it.
Here's the premise: Ms. Ehrenreich assumed a nom de guerre backed up with fake references for non-existent jobs and began looking for white collar work as this fictitious person. She didn't succeed. Along the way, she met a lot of people who weren't succeeding either . . . and a lot of people selling her services that didn't help very much.
The last time I checked, over 90% of white collar jobs are found through a mutual acquaintance. Since Ms. Ehrenreich could not use any of her acquaintances, that makes the book an exercise in futility in pursuing the paths that hardly ever work . . . despite how much effort you put into them.
The major rule of finding a white collar job is: Find the new one while you still have a white collar job. In that way, you are more appealing to potential employers, suffer less angst as you go through the search and don't squander your savings. Naturally, it doesn't always work out that way . . . so you should always have something going on the side (with the approval of your employer) that can be quickly expanded should you need to do so. That side activity is best if it allows you to find out about new jobs.
In 1969, I was asked to go undercover an article for Boston Magazine. My experience then was much like Ms. Ehrenreich's. People wanted my money to do things that wouldn't help me very much. I wasn't surprised to see that things haven't changed that much since my investigative reporter days. What's new is that there are more types of services available that you don't need.
An out-of-work person won't find much help from this book either. It doesn't attempt to define best practices for those who are the unexpected road kill from corporate streamlining.
Why did I rate the book then as high as three stars?
I thought that her comments were hilarious about the silliness of the favorite psychological tests that HR departments like to use. Most people don't realize that these tests are little more than mumbo-jumbo. If you are an HR person, you will probably rate this book as a one. If you are a career counselor, you will want to burn the book. It's sure to hurt your business.
A word to the wise: Downsizing, rightsizing and outsourcing aren't over yet. If you don't have a professional skill that's in short supply, you had better develop one.