Of the 3.5 million jobs that have been added since June 2009 — the official end of the Great Recession — only 2% were middle-class positions. By contrast, 70% of jobs added were in low-paying sectors and 28% were in high-level ones.
“The jobs that are going away,” MIT’s Andrew McAfee has said, “aren’t coming back.”
Into this tragic, intractable economy comes a new CBS reality show called “The Job.” Premiering Friday, it’s billed as a feel-good program, a show that seeks to match middle-class job seekers of varying desperation with some of America’s most prestigious corporations.
But for all of the exploitations reality TV has to offer — from on-camera sex to drunken hillbillies — “The Job” may be the most offensive in television history.
We live in a time when a having a middle-class job has mutated from the American Dream to a luxury, when even those lucky enough to still have one live in perpetual fear that they’ll be fired next.
“The Job” turns this massive human toll into spectacle, dangling the prospect of an unspecified mid-level position in front of desperate contestants, who degrade themselves by telling their most pathetic personal histories in the paradoxical quest to regain some dignity.