Barbara Ehrenreich's tends to favor the portrayal of corporate business as a villain in low-paying jobs. Managerial positions are used to mentally wear down employees, telling them that things such as break rooms and the ability to sit are luxuries they don't truly deserve and which can be quickly taken away from them. Employees are made to feel constantly under suspicion for everything from drug usage to "gossip." It is noted that these low-paying jobs are typically filled in means that seem racially segregated:
Most...of the working housekeepers I see on my job searches are African Americans, Spanish-speaking, or refugees from the Central European post-Communist world, while servers are almost invariably white and monolingually English speaking.
Working conditions are dismal, with improper hand-washing supplies available in one job and the counters so sticky that servers risk having their hands forever stuck to them if they make contact at another. This is made even more unfortunate because those same hands are often used to scoop and place food on the patrons' plates.
The workers are not judged to be faultless. Some pay for rooms at hotels by the night, which isn't a smart economical move on limited incomes—but they make this choice because they can't come up with initial fees needed to secure an apartment for a month in advance. Another lady is swayed to have a higher opinion of her place of employment after being "allowed" to park her van (doubling as her home) in the hotel parking lot at night. Thus, Ehrenreich doesn't believe this worker will change her job path anytime soon.
These low-paying jobs are filled by desperate people whose situations are exploited by their managers. Whether that makes them villains or simply a cog in the greater machine of capitalistic profit is debatable.