Barbara Ehrenreich

Historians differ on when the consumer culture came to dominate American culture. Some say it was in the twenties, when advertising became a major industry and the middle class bought radios to hear the ads and cars to get to the stores. … But there is no question that the consumer culture had begun to crowd out all other cultural possibilities by the years following World War II.

The less sophisticated of my forbears avoided foreigners at all costs, for the very good reason that, in their circles, speaking in tongues was commonly a prelude to snake handling. The more tolerant among us regarded foreign languages as a kind of speech impediment that could be overcome by willpower.

I don’t know when the cult of conspicuous busyness began, but it has swept up almost all the upwardly mobile, professional women I know. Already, it is getting hard to recall the days when, for example, ‘Let’s have lunch’ meant something other than ‘I’ve got more important things to do than talk to you right now.

The internet was supposed to make this whole business of job searching rational and simple. You could post your resume and companies would search them and they’d find you. It doesn’t seem to work that way. There aren’t enough jobs for experienced, college educated managers and professionals.