Ben's father-in-law is forever trying to convince him to start work at the General Motors plant, but Ben's none too thrilled at the prospect. His old man had always been determined that Ben wouldn't follow the family "feed line" into GM. As Ben tells us, men worked at the GM plant so that their kids wouldn't have to.
Since leaving school, Ben has moved from job to job without every really settling down to any one career. As a result, his marriage is collapsing under the strain of not being able to make a decent living.
And yet, Ben still insists that he won't follow in the family tradition and start work at the GM plant. He tries everything to postpone what to outsiders might seem like the inevitable. After working for a time at an apartment complex, he takes up freelance painting. But after eight or nine months of what he describes as "near starvation," he realizes this wasn't a very good idea. Eventually, he winds up doing late-night janitorial work at business colleges, drugstores, and attorneys' offices, but this line of work doesn't agree with him, either.
With his marriage now having broken down—Ben's wife kicks him out of the house—and with a recession starting to bite, Ben has no choice but to try and get a job at the General Motors plant, the very last place he'd ever wanted to work at.