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Employment

Fiction

Bottom Feeders

I feel close to Dad on the drive home, our legs mud-dry and tired, the tackle box between us, the pillowcase full of fish and ice. She’ll never admit it, but Mom will be impressed, I’m sure. In a million years she’d never guess how we caught so many. I’ll never tell.

By Peter Short October 2022
The Dog-Eared Page

from Nickel And Dimed

What surprised and offended me most about the low-wage workplace (and yes, here all my middle-class privilege is on full display) was the extent to which one is required to surrender one’s basic civil rights and — what boils down to the same thing — self-respect.

By Barbara Ehrenreich October 2022
Readers Write

Learning The Hard Way

Hitching a ride, trusting a partner, marrying the same person three times

By Our Readers September 2022
Fiction

Blue Ladder

My uncle finally kicked me out, and I was living in the twenty-four-hour Kroger on Fairhaven Avenue in Tustin, California, pilfering food and sleeping at the coffee bar. One day Mr. Muniz pushed a cart through the frozen-foods section where I was fanning myself, and he stopped. I’d gotten ugly, my face wasn’t right, and I could tell he was thinking, What the hell?

By Bruce McKay August 2022
Poetry

Wingtips

On my way home from school / with a gang of friends / I would see him outside / one of the bars or diners / near the Journal Square station: / my uncle, rasping the price / of a shine to the passing crowd

By John Bargowski May 2022
The Dog-Eared Page

The Smell Of Fatigue

Life has always been as hard as the soles of my father’s feet. Like the callused hand my face melts into. He holds it like the cantaloupe before a fruit salad. Like life before America. Before it’s sliced, devoured, consumed.

By Melida Rodas May 2022
Quotations

Sunbeams

To earn one’s bread by the sweat of one’s brow has always been the lot of mankind. At least, ever since Eden’s slothful couple was served with an eviction notice. The scriptural precept was never doubted, not out loud. No matter how demeaning the task, no matter how it dulls the senses and breaks the spirit, one must work. Or else.

Studs Terkel

May 2022
Poetry

Last Day On The Factory Floor

We were warned not to complain — / plenty more temps they could call. / Warned, too, to avoid the break room / with its jailhouse camera / swiveling right outside the boss’s office, / his speakers playing only country.

By Michael Meyerhofer May 2022
The Sun Interview

Falling Behind

Ruth Milkman On The Growing Job Insecurity In America

In terms of security and a sense that you can count on a certain career path in life if you do your part — that’s over for most people. You’re on your own.

By Staci Kleinmaier May 2022
Fiction

Late Delivery

My mother didn’t raise a thief, but by the time you round forty, you’re pretty much raising yourself. I scooped the package from its hiding place, then waved my free hand at the doorbell camera.

By Daniel Davis-Williams May 2022