Ayun Halliday lemonade stand circa 1970fringe benefits

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21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.Com by Mike Daisey

For those who wonder what the hell a frog in a chef’s hat has to do with the contents of Job Hopper, prepare to be equally perplexed as to why Mike Daisey was forced to pose with a bone clenched between his choppers doggy-style, when clearly the title refers to the years he racked up in servitude to the online bookseller whose customer review section is so important to us approval seeking author types (hint hint).

American Splendor: The Life & Times of Harvey Pekar by Harvey Pekar

Any day now the market is going to be flooded with copycats looking to make a quick buck with a quickie 35 Years as a V.A. Hospital File Clerk story but this is the original, folks. Accept no substitutes.

Best of Temp Slave! by Jeff Kelly

A legendary zine has been turned into a book on its way to, yes, a musical.


On Subbing: The First Four Years

It’s not brain surgery. It’s mining coal.


Rent Girl by Michelle Tea

This illustrated autobiography supplies plenty of dishy insider info to give those of us whose sex work has been on a strictly volunteer basis a taste of the for-hire life.

Blown Sideways Through Life by Claudia Shear
Now that I’ve finally finished writing my job book, I can read the job book that everyone asked me if I’d read when they heard I was writing a job book.

Working: People Talk about What They Do All Day and How They Feel about What They Do by Studs Terkel
I remember trolling this, the granddaddy of all warts and all job books when I was in high school, on the prowl for audition monologues that would launch my glorious acting career.

Gig: Americans Talk about Their Jobs by John Bowe

Like Working, but with a guy who cleans up grisly murder sites!

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich


Not everyone who has a crappy, low-end job is an overeducated, English-speaking, middle-class, white actor-type, you know. That check-out ‘girl’ at Walmart could be an award-winning author, researching her next book!

Paping by John Mejias

Not a book, but an ongoing, heart-stopping zine series by an art teacher in New York City’s public schools.

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Office Space


Not only is the viewer treated to the myriad indignities of cubicle-work, Jennifer Aniston is publicly humiliated for failing to sport the minimum acceptable amount of ‘flare,’ the wacky buttons T.G.I.Friday-type waitrons are forced to pin on their suspenders.

Fear and Trembling


A Belgian woman indulges her admiration of all things Japanese by accepting a terrible job in a male-dominated Tokyo office where things quickly go from bad to scrubbing toilets.

To Be and To Have


A documentary about a one-room French school house presided over by an educator who is the polar opposite of what I was during my one-day stint as a Chicago public school teacher.

School of Rock

But really, the kids and I both would have preferred for me to be less like the French maitre, more like Jack Black.

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Customers Suck

As a child, I was pathologically drawn to the “humorous” anecdotes in the “Life in These United States” feature in my grandmother’s Reader’s Digest . The reader-fuelled Customers Suck scratches that same itch.

Temping Escapades

The blow-by-blow field report of a New York City temp who’s punched the clock at The Big Apple Circus, an aerospace defense company and innumerable offices in landmark buildings.

Life In The ER a Nurse’s Perspective: ER Nurse Blog
Plan ahead. Learn how to avoid pissing off the staff when you accidentally slice the tip of your finger off in the deli’s meat slicer.

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Hop on over to Powells.com and Buy the book online!

Job Hopper © 2005 by Ayun Halliday