How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone

a book by Sarah Jaffe
Press Work Won't Love You Back

Love, Labor, Lost at The American Prospect

Lauren Kaori Gurley reviewed Work Won’t Love You Back for The American Prospect.

Lauren Kaori Gurley reviewed Work Won’t Love You Back for The American Prospect. She writes:

Jaffe’s solution again is found in collective action, with a joyfully militant moment in the winter of 2019 when tens of thousands of unpaid interns marched in the streets of Quebec to demand a fair wage and formal recognition under the law. Part of the problem with the internship setup is that interns, who are not technically employees, have no formal processes to report sexual harassment or discrimination. These Canadian interns, Jaffe writes, “questioned why certain jobs were well-paid while others were undervalued, and they challenged the rules of behavior that taught young workers, most of them women, to be meek and retiring and always ready to serve.”

As a journalist myself, I can thank my union, the Writers Guild of America, East, and the organizing of my colleagues who came before me for most of the good things about my job—my annual salary increases, my editorial freedom, my six-week severance package if I get laid off, and my relatively inexpensive health and dental insurance.

Should this “labor of love” myth be put to an end? Jaffe says it’s complicated. As long as humans live under capitalism, ordinary people don’t have much of a choice but to continue spending the majority of our waking hours at work to sustain our lives. Workers across the board—interns, public-school teachers, even Google engineers—should take every opportunity they have to organize and demand less time at work and more free time for pleasure, relaxation, and personal growth with friends, family, lovers, and neighbors. As Jaffe writes, “Work will never love us back. But other people will.”

Read the whole thing at the Prospect

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