Nickle and diming your way to the top

While we’re on the subject of economic mobility, author Adam Shepard has written kind of a rebuttal to one of the most popular works on how hard it is to get by in a lower-income job, Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickle and Dimed. The book is Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream. Shepard, a recent graduate from Merrimack College, told the Christian Science Monitor last week that he moved to Charleston, South Carolina, with only $25, a few clothes, and a specific goal: "to have a furnished apartment, a car, and $2,500 in savings within a year."

After 10 months, he tells the Monitor‘s Peter Smith, had moved into an apartment, bought a truck, and saved almost $5,000 — thanks to a job with a moving company. (See another interview at the website Get Rich Slowly.)

"Millions of Americans are creating a life for themselves from nothing," Shepard tells the Monitor. "Just as millions of Americans are not getting by."

Of course, someone who’s already worn down from years of waitressing or cleaning hotel rooms (the type of person Ehrenreich wrote about) may not find it so easy to find a job moving furniture.

Ehrenreich talked about her experiences as both a minimum-wage earner and a white-collar job applicant with Robert Keough, then the editor of CommonWealth, in 2005. See the complete story here.