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

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

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and (Not) Love My Job at The Progressive

Amy Pedulla reviewed Work Won’t Love You Back for The Progressive.

Amy Pedulla reviewed Work Won’t Love You Back for The Progressive. She writes:

Jaffe offers a sweeping historical and sociological study of work, labor, and the emotional toll these things have taken on the development of humankind. She relies on sources as wide-ranging as the ancient Greeks and Angela Davis to talk about various case studies like the underbelly of Walmart, to the unionization efforts of the company Storycorps, to the story of an unpaid intern who worked on director Darren Aronovsky’s film Black Swan, just to name a few. 

The book is also both structurally ambitious, combining essays on very specific industries such as domestic work, teaching, retail, nonprofits, art, academic, tech, sports, and of particular note, interns as it is a narrative feat. In each chapter, Jaffe spends time interviewing sources with memorable struggles in their relative industries.

The most lucid moments in Jaffe’s writing come in the form of her blunt redefinitions of commonplace ideas. There are several of these brilliant sentences throughout the pages: “The labor of love, of short, is a con”; “Charity is a relationship of power”; and “programming, a field currently dominated by young men, was invented by a woman,” to name a few. Her take on how interns are told to work for free on the promise of future employment perhaps hit the hardest: “What really defines the intern, after all, is hope.” 

Read the whole thing at The Progressive.

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