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On the Clock
On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane | Emily Guendelsberger
21 posts | 6 read | 38 to read
In the tradition of Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickle and Dimed, journalist Emily Guendelsberger describes her own experience working in the automated and time-starved world of hourly labor, showing what life is like for millions of other Americans today On the Clock is a bitingly funny firsthand account of what happens when a college educated young woman finds herself back at the bottom of the wage-earning ladder in a job which, like 40% of the jobs in America today, pays less than $15.50 an hour. After losing her job as a reporter, Emily Guendelsberger took a job in a call center. Living out of her car, she hoped to be able to get her financial footing before heading back into the reporting world. What she discovered in that first low-wage job, and at two others like it, is a world unto itself where hourly wage work is undergoing a critical transition that we haven't fully grappled with. Advances in monitoring and scheduling technology have sped up the pace of work for millions of workers, fundamentally altering their lives. Exposing the large scale stress of trying to meet robotic work standards, On the Clock shows how the way millions of Americans work today tells us something fundamental but little-understood about our country. To understand this world, Guendelsberger walks 15 miles a day in a vast Amazon warehouse with several conveniently located pain-medicine vending machines, is closely timed at each call center bathroom break, and gets pelted with mustard by a revenge-seeking customer at McDonald's. From her own often comic perspective Emily analyzes the physical and mental effects of chronic stress - from heart disease, obesity, and drug abuse to depression, belief in conspiracies, seeing immigrants as outsiders, and a preference for a strongman leader. On the Clock offers a better understanding of not just low-wage work and how we got to this moment in American history, but the surprising ways that things could get better.
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TheBookDream
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The scariest thing I l‘ve read in a while! #HappyHalloween

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TheBookDream
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Honestly, just reading this book is causing stress because low-wage jobs like this are my life. Not quite this stressful right now (so far) but yeah.

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TheBookDream
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My final time for #24B4Monday. This is pretty good for me!

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Carolyn11215
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Pickpick

An updated Nickel and Dimed. Author works at an Amazon warehouse, a call center and a McDonalds to explore and write about the ways that low wage work is destroying the physical and mental health of much of our labor force. Thought provoking and ultimately an effective call to action.

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booklover76
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The idea that fast food workers aren't real.
Yes we are real! We have feelings and deserved to be treated with respect and kindness. You have no idea why a person is working where they are. I guarantee the jerks wouldn't tolerate being demeaned, get stuff thrown at them, be yelled at, or get spit on at their job.

ravenlee I wish that there were mandatory conscription - like some countries have mandatory military service? - but everyone was required to work for at least one full year in food service or retail. It might make people a little more understanding. 2mo
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booklover76
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This!!! You can't be a caring person in fast food. What made me a good manager in that I cared for my employees, ate me up on the inside. I couldn't sleep thinking about what was going wrong at the store at that moment. I would get sick in the morning thinking about how short staffed I was for that day and how this would affect everyone. I couldn't read anything right before I quit because my brain wouldn't stop thinking about work.

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booklover76
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Emily just had food thrown at her. Reading this section on McDonald's has my heart pounding remembering the last 6 months at Wendy's. I was cussed at daily, had food thrown at me, and was spit at. God. I am so glad I walked away. That job was slowly turning me into an angry unrecognizable person.

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booklover76
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This book is already striking a chord with me and I am less than 10 pages in. I have worked service jobs pretty much my entire life and even though I am a manager I still see and have experienced what is going on. 8 years of working in fast food means I can handle almost anything

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Megabooks
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Woo hoo!!! Big congratulations to @GrilledCheeseSamurai !!! Much love to you for reaching 100k!! 🍾🥂😘🎉🎉

The tagged book has probably become my favorite nonfiction read of all time. Such an eye-opening important read!

I am tagging @bromeliad whom I have loved having on my #BFCr3 team and is an outstanding Litten! 💜

#SixDigitSamurai

Megabooks Without Litsy, I wouldn‘t have a love of audiobooks, and Littens have recommended so many awesome books I wouldn‘t have otherwise known about. There are also several Littens who have been here personally for me which I very much appreciate!! 💙💙💙 Thank you so much for this giveaway @GrilledCheeseSamurai !! (edited) 3mo
bromeliad Aww shucks, you're so sweet! ♥️♥️ 3mo
Megabooks @bromeliad 💜😘💜 3mo
GrilledCheeseSamurai Thanks for playing along. 😁 3mo
Megabooks @GrilledCheeseSamurai Thanks for doing this!! 👍🏻🎉 3mo
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britt_reads
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Pickpick

I always try to go above and beyond to be the most polite customer that I can be. I empathize with those working these stressful service jobs after my own experiences in food service for almost a decade. I have always said that I think everyone should have to work a customer service job at some point in order to better understand and respect one another. Either way, this should be required reading.

Megabooks For sure! 4mo
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Jilly6183
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Pickpick

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If everyone isn't required to work a shitty service job at some point, they should at least be required to read this book.

Megabooks 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 This is one of the best of the year for me! 4mo
Jilly6183 @Megabooks Absolutely! Thanks again for reminding me of it and getting it zoomed to the top of my TBR. I can't stop telling people to read it! 4mo
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Megabooks
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I read 25 books in July!! 🥳🥳📚🎉🎉 The best four are above. Y‘all know me, I read a lot of #nonfiction, and all of my top four were nonfiction.

On the Clock should be in everyone‘s August #botm if you at all like sociology or the book Nickel and Dimed. If you like memoirs, Maybe You Should TtS is still available, too, from BOTM.

The Buried has beautiful maps & storytelling, & The Collected Schizophrenias shines light on a rare mental illness.

erzascarletbookgasm Wow! 👏 4mo
JenReadsAlot The Buried was great! 4mo
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Megabooks @JenReadsAlot It was fantastic! I love Hessler‘s work. 4mo
tammysue 👏🏻🙌🏻 4mo
Megabooks @tammysue 😊😊😊 4mo
lele1432 I have all 3 of those BOTM nonfiction! I'm sad they're not going to be adding many new nonfiction add-ons anymore. No new choices this month. ☹️ I was always super interested in their nonfic picks! 4mo
Megabooks @lele1432 They‘re so on-and-off with nonfiction. They had a lot in 15 and 16. Then less last year. I picked up two of the older ones this month. 4mo
lele1432 Yeah, someone mentioned they did away with the beta nonfiction box so there won't be as many anymore. I hope it isn't true. They were on a roll for a few months this year! 4mo
Reviewsbylola I just added Clock to my box based on your rec and got Maybe You Should Talk from Audible last night! 4mo
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola Yay!! I also listened to MYSTtS, and the narration is great!! Enjoy both 😊😊 4mo
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Megabooks
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1. This is the best book I‘ve read all summer, and everyone should add it to their August #botm!!
2. I don‘t even know. It‘s been at least 3 years!
3. 🍒🍑
4. Officially 2, unofficially 4
5. Will do! 💜💜

#friyayintro @howjessreads

Susanita ❤️❤️ 4mo
Jess Do you have the August #botm titles? 4mo
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Megabooks @Susanita 😊😊 4mo
Jess Thanks! 4mo
Reviewsbylola I will def choose this in August! 4mo
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola it‘s an add-on. (I got it in July, which was the first add-on month.) I cant recommend it more highly. 4mo
lele1432 I'm so glad I got this one this month! I'll move it up on my TBR! 4mo
Megabooks @lele1432 For sure! It really is the best book I‘ve read all summer. 4mo
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catiewithac
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Pickpick

On The Clock turned into a more substantive look at the history and future of exploitive labor practices than I expected. The author embeds herself in 3 notoriously unforgiving work environments and shares her experiences. More than that, she castigates the systems that rewards profit before people. For a book on labor and capitalism, it‘s a fun read. If you think automation isn‘t coming for your job, think again. #botm

Nute Nice review and so on point! 5mo
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Megabooks
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Pickpick

Easily one of the best books of the year! Emily works at an Amazon warehouse, a Convergys (AT&T) call center, and a McDonalds to find out what life is like across the country in the age of poor pay, high turnover, & chronic, purposeful understaffing.

This should be required reading for every member of Congress and people who pass down the policies of timed bathroom breaks and unpaid leave points. A true must-read! Add it to your August #botm! 5⭐️

Carolyn11215 Did you read Nickel and Dimed? Another great book on similar topic. Stacking this one!! 5mo
Megabooks @Carolyn11215 I haven‘t read it yet. Part of her inspiration was to update Nickel and Dimed. I‘m definitely going through her suggested reading in the back and that is the first book! 5mo
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Megabooks @EchoLogical 👍🏻👍🏻 5mo
kspenmoll Nicked and Dimed was great reading, so my guess is this will be too! 5mo
Megabooks @kspenmoll I hope you enjoy it! 5mo
RachelO You are FLYING through the books this month! (Can you read some for me? 😉) Seriously, this sounds great, if a tad stressful! 5mo
Megabooks @RachelO Thanks!! 😊😊 it‘s a fantastic book! 👍🏻 5mo
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Megabooks
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I‘ve had an anxious day yesterday (by the clock), but I‘m going to read a few pages before bed. I saw this and had to share! FYI, white badges are temp employees.

And I just want to thank everyone for being so supportive yesterday. 💕🥰💕 It truly meant a lot!!! 😘😘

BookwormAHN 😺😺 5mo
Crazeedi Hope all is well with you today!😘 5mo
Megabooks @BookwormAHN 👍🏻👍🏻 5mo
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Megabooks @Crazeedi much better, thank you! 😊👍🏻😘 5mo
Scochrane26 One of my friends works for amazon. When they increased the wage to $15, they got great PR. What they didn‘t mention is they stopped giving everyone a stock in amazon every yr, which is worth more than $15/hr. 5mo
Megabooks @Scochrane26 oh yikes! Yeah, as long as amazon stays afloat, that‘s worth A LOT more. My dad worked at Lowe‘s in the 70s and he got 10 shares of stock. His boss was really crooked, so he sold back 9 when he quit, but kept 1. 🤷🏻‍♀️ He just let the Lowe‘s market do whatever with the stock (he just reinvested everything back in more Lowe‘s, let it split, double, etc.) it‘s worth 70k today!! 😱😱😱 5mo
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Megabooks
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Call center exhaustion! I haven‘t made it past training yet because I keep having to do other stuff.

I cannot wait for next weekend when I can fully devote myself to reading!! #24in48 There‘s still time to sign up even if you can‘t do the full 24!

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Megabooks
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Finished part one: Amazon fulfillment center. On to part two: call center.

I don‘t know how I‘m going fit a review of this in 451 characters!! It comes out Tuesday or add it to your August #botm box!

PS I love my new bookmarks from FunUsual Suspects!

sudi The book sounds interesting 👍. And that bookmark is too cute 😍 5mo
Amor4Libros I work in the CC world, getting this for sure! 5mo
Daisey This book does sound interesting, but I love the bookmark! 5mo
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Megabooks @sudi Thanks! 😊😊 And it is! I‘ve been working along on other projects this afternoon, too, but I‘m continuing to make progress! 5mo
Megabooks @Amor4Libros Oh, you will probably find it so relatable. I‘m really interested to see your thoughts on it!! 5mo
Megabooks @Daisey Thank you!! 😊👍🏻 5mo
crazyspine Such a cute bookmark 5mo
BiblioLitten Cutest bookmark!! 5mo
Megabooks Thank you @crazyspine and @BiblioLitten !! 😊😊 5mo
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Megabooks
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Sorry I‘m not catching up with everyone‘s check ins, but I can‘t put this book down. Seriously, what kind of sociopath makes it so people have to take 12+ Advil per shift!!

Lucy_Anywhere 😮 wow. 5mo
Megabooks @Lucy_Anywhere It‘s crazy. This book is fascinating! 5mo
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Megabooks
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Just started this, and I am loving it so far. I am on such a sociology kick!! It was a #BOTM add-on, but I haven‘t seen anyone else posting about it. Did anyone pick it up?

The author worked undercover at an Amazon fulfillment center, a call center, and a McDonald‘s in different parts of the country after the newspaper she was working at folded.

One of my favorite booksleeves, too! 🥰

SassyBookworm Sounds very interesting! I read Nickel and Dimed back in college and this is along those same lines! I definitely wanna check this out! 5mo
Megabooks @SassyBookworm She mentions reading Nickel and Dimed when she worked in service in college, and I think part of her inspiration is to update that book. Apparently, and I believe her so far, it‘s a very different ball game now. 5mo
SassyBookworm @Megabooks how awesome! I would imagine things have changed quite a bit! It‘s was our required read as incoming Freshmen (in 2003 😬). I can‘t wait to check this out! Reading Nickel and Dimed was eye opening then this sounds great! 5mo
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Megabooks
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It‘s rare that I start three new books at once, but I‘m excited to have decided on these three. Forward, I‘ll start on my walk tomorrow morning. On the Clock is a #BOTM July add on. Dapper Dan is a library ebook. #nonfictionjunkie #sendhelporfiction 🤣🤣

Freespirit Some good reading there😄 5mo
Megabooks @Freespirit Thanks!! 5mo
90 likes2 comments