On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane

On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane Review

The bitingly funny, eye-opening story of a college-educated young professional who finds work in the automated and time-starved world of hourly labor



After the local newspaper where she worked as a reporter closed, Emily Guendelsberger took a pre-Christmas job at an Amazon fulfillment center outside Louisville, Kentucky. There, the vending machines were stocked with painkillers, and the staff turnover was dizzying. In the new year, she travelled to North Carolina to work at a call center, a place where even bathroom breaks were timed to the second. And finally, Guendelsberger was hired at a San Francisco McDonald's, narrowly escaping revenge-seeking customers who pelted her with condiments.

Across three jobs, and in three different parts of the country, Guendelsberger directly took part in the revolution changing the U.S. workplace. ON THE CLOCK takes us behind the scenes of the fastest-growing segment of the American workforce to understand the future of work in America - and its present. Until robots pack boxes, resolve billing issues, and make fast food, human beings supervised by AI will continue to get the job done. Guendelsberger shows us how workers went from being the most expensive element of production to the cheapest - and how low wage jobs have been remade to serve the ideals of efficiency, at the cost of humanity.

ON THE CLOCK explores the lengths that half of Americans will go to in order to make a living, offering not only a better understanding of the modern workplace, but also surprising solutions to make work more humane for millions of Americans.

Title:On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane

    On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane Reviews

  • Donna Hines

    As a former factory worker; salaried $7.25 min wage; 10 cent raises; as top producer in two departments as a merchandise processor with a $25 one time bonus for associate of the month I know all too w...

  • Kate ?? Olson

    (free review copy) You'll want to sit down for this. No really. Go get a cup of coffee and settle in, because I have a LOT of thoughts. To start with, here's my rating math for this one:Subject matter...

  • Samantha Melamed

    An essential update to Nickel and Dimed, On The Clock turns the drudgery of work in 21st century America into a compelling and elucidating narrative that should be required reading for policy makers, ...

  • Suzanne

    This is a very good book. (Look at me being a professional reviewer, lol) My actual review goes up on Shelf Awareness right around pub date, but here are my informal thoughts:On the Clock both infuria...

  • Robin

    Listen up. Next time you need to talk to a customer rep to dispute a billing charge, inquire about a change in service, or just complain about a lack of good service, chances are you are chatting with...

  • Molly Seavy-Nesper

    I devoured this book. Guendelsberger takes you inside an Amazon warehouse, a call center, and a San Fransisco McDonald's and exposes the ways in which technology is making workers' lives miserable. Th...

  • Cheryl

    A sobering look at three industries that use low skill workers - Amazon warehouses, McDonalds, and a call center for several national accounts. All of these companies use contractors so that they don...

  • Kali

    This review is going to be long as I organize my thoughts. Feel free to not read it— but I think you should read this book 👍❤This book tackles the invisible. The working poor in this country th...

  • Hannah G

    On the Clock is both devastating and funny. While the book is well grounded in historical context and relevant data - setting out a thorough case for how, and why, the service industry in this country...

  • Michelle

    On the Clock is a compelling, eye-opening, and necessary read for all Americans. Emily Guendelsberger gives us an up-close look at what it means to work the daily grind of low-wage work. Businesses bo...