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Hired

Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain
Narrated by: Alister Austin
Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Summary

From the Orwellian reach of an Amazon warehouse to the time trials of a council care worker and the grim reality behind the glossy Uber app, Hired is a clear-eyed analysis of a divided nation and a riveting dispatch from the very front line of low-wage Britain. 

We all define ourselves by our profession. But what if our job was demeaning, poorly paid, and tedious? Cracking open Britain's divisions, journalist James Bloodworth spends six months living and working across Britain, taking on the country's most gruelling jobs. 

He lives on the meagre proceeds and discovers the anxieties and hopes of those he encounters, including working-class British, young students striving to make ends meet and Eastern European immigrants. 

From the Staffordshire Amazon warehouse to the taxicabs of Uber, Bloodworth narrates how traditional working-class communities have been decimated by the move to soulless service jobs with no security, advancement or satisfaction. This is a gripping examination of Brexit Britain, a divided nation which needs to understand the true reality of how other people live and work before it can heal.

©2019 James Bloodworth (P)2019 W. F. Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"A very discomforting book, no matter what your politics might be...very good." (Sunday Times)

"Potent, disturbing and revelatory." (Evening Standard)

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A Wigan Pier for the 21st Century

On the whole I found this an engaging and interesting book. As with Orwell, the author sets out on a quest to find out more about the people who take these sorts of jobs on and also the lives they lead, places they live and conditions they live under. Subject wise I found it interesting and in some cases eye opening, but I really did feel it was let down by the narration. The reader just sounded totally uninterested and put little feeling or passion into relaying the story. When narrating quotes, it was so monotone it became hard to listen to as he tried to recite the quotes of an South Wales miners sounding more like an ersatz William Hague! Done with a new voice over, I would recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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A disturbing and engrossing must-read

An eye opening and thought provoking piece by James Bloodworth. An important topic tackled with a fantastic voice. I disagree strongly with the other review about the narrator. I thought they did an excellent job. It's a carefully, thoughtfully balanced read. Personally, I don't want this type of non-fiction layered in emotion, accents and affectations. I want it prejudice-free so that the authors words speak for themselves. If you want your words covered in secondary bias then read the daily mail...

1 person found this helpful

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low wages Britain

Author made me really think about the UK I live in now. I live in London, I had no idea things were this bad outside of London. in London we have our problems. I enjoyed listen to other parts of UK like Blackpool, Rugley, and South Wales. Author mentions big companies like Amazon and Uber which brought here innovations and employment but to what cost? Great book to listen too.

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Penetrating and insightful

We are all familiar with new features of the economic landscape such as Zero Hours Contracts and the Gig Economy, but few people fully appreciate the reality of low wage Britain. As the subtitle explains, Bloodworth goes undercover roughing it at low wage jobs in Britain, including an Amazon warehouse, a call center, care homes in Blackpool and Uber Drivers in London. As someone who has experienced the application of Frederick Taylor's Scientific management, the atomisation of Labour and the nature of agency work, it does not surprise this reader to learn that working class life in Britain has become worse. As inequality has worsened and the sharp edges of capitalism have become that much sharper, Hired joins a growing body of literature that calls for a re-evaluation of the nature of class in Britain today, or rather, a call for class to no longer be ignored. Among this body of literature, Hired is perhaps the most penetrating in its insight into working life. While it may be heavy in details, it never at any point becomes dull, maintaining a lively pace and evoking emotions until the end. Bloodworth is modest and doesn't prescribe any policies, but does end with a call to action for a collective consciousness to try to find solutions to the dire realities contained within this book.

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Destruction of the civil state

A revealing and depressing journey through the world of the low paid. The never ending search for a 'bargain' and the drive by corporations to maximise profits, aided by a complicit government, is stripping away hard fought for workers rights. Shall certainly limit what I buy from Amazon. Does not give you much hope for the future.

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fascinating, but narration not great

this is a fascinating look into the working practices of some of the biggest employers in the country. I have to say though, the narrator is very flat, and it listens like a very long news item. He also cannot read out dialogue and sounds a bit like when you text a landline.

1 person found this helpful