Grace Jackson, from “Literary Hangover,” talks with Sarah Jaffe, author of “Work Won’t Love You Back.”
I was one of the guests on Upstream Podcast’s episode on Feminism for the 99 Percent.
There are many ways women across the world have been disproportionately impacted by COVID. The pandemic has simultaneously increased the demand for unpaid labor from women, including childcare and homeschooling, while decimating industries like retail, leisure, hospitality, education and entertainment which are their main employers. So many of the jobs lost during the pandemic were held by women, that the resulting economic recession has been called a “shecession” — or even an example of “disaster patriarchy.”
But our current economic system has always had a history of harming women disproportionately — in fact, in many ways, COVID has simply revealed and exacerbated already existing inequalities. But where there is a crisis, there is also opportunity. And in this space, some are asking what a feminst response to COVID could look like?
Discussing everything from the history of work under capitalism, to social reproduction and the trade union movement, our panel are:
Amelia Horgan, author of Lost in Work: Escaping Capitalism; Sarah Jaffe, a reporting fellow at Type Media Center and the author of Work Won’t Love You Back; and Orlando Lazar, a political theorist and college lecturer at the University of Oxford, whose research focuses on power and domination at work.
This week, we’re joined by labor journalist Sarah Jaffe (@sarahljaffe) to talk about her book Why Work Won’t Love You Back, which is out with Hurst Publishers. We talk about how the 2008 financial crisis permanently changed the structure of work, normalising instability and precariousness and creating foundational struggle myths to justify paying people below minimum wage. We also talk about how these confrontations have played out online, in forms ranging from self-fashioned girlboss culture, to low-paid gig economy workers beginning to unionise and demand the very basic levels of dignity.
In her new book, Work Won’t Love You Back, SARAH JAFFE explores the way we relate to work under the conditions of capitalism. From the unpaid intern to the professional athlete, Jaffe reveals the alienating ideology of “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” By unmaking the lie that work is defined and guided by passion, we can imagine more emancipatory futures where our lives are no longer dominated by waged labor and where we have the ability to explore our interests and loves outside an exploitative economic system. As part of the Andrea Mitchell Center’s CAPITALISM/SOCIALISM/DEMOCRACY series, Jaffe joins M. EDITH SKLAROFF for a discussion of the “labor of love” myth and its role in perpetuating current economic and social relations.
Gabriel Winant’s new book, The Next Shift, examines the fall of industry and the rise of healthcare in Rust Belt America. Jason Smith’s new book, Smart Machines and Service Work, tracks the automation-induced transfer of workers into the service sector. Sarah Jaffe’s new book, Work Won’t Love You Back, explores how devotion to our jobs keeps us exhausted, exploited, and alone. If ever books were destined to talk to one another, it is these three, but we’re not magicians, so we’ve brought together the authors instead. And to guide this panoramic look at the fate of work in 21st Century America, we’ve added Priscilla Murolo, Professor of History at Sarah Lawrence and author of From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: A Short, Illustrated History of Labor in the United States Gabriel Winant, Sarah Jaffe, Jason Smith, Priscilla Murolo (mod)
I joined Corey Reidy of Unionize Yoga for a chat on Instagram Live about Work Won’t Love You Back. Labor journalist and organizer, Sarah Jaffe, talks with Unionize Yoga about her new book “Work Won’t Love You Back”. They chat about its study of how we put all our eggs in one basket to have […]
Prudence is joined this week by Sarah Jaffe, the author of Work Won’t Love You Back and Necessary Trouble, both from Bold Type Books. She’s also the co-host, with Michelle Chen, of Dissent magazine’s Belabored podcast. Prudie and Jaffe tackle letters about how to support your undocumented partner through their job search, what to consider when your partner stays in […]
Followed by post- screening Livestream Q&A moderated by Sarah Jaffe, with Katie Parker, Administrative Organizer for NPEU, the Non Profit Employees Union and EPI Policy Analyst Margaret Poydock
New York, an alternate present: the quantum computing revolution has begun and investors are lining their pockets in the quantum trading market. Building the network, though, requires miles of infrastructure to be laid between huge magnetic cubes by “cablers” — unprotected gig workers who compete against robots to pull wires over rough terrain. Queens delivery man Ray Tincelli is skeptical of new technology, and the buy-in to start cabling is steep, but he struggles to support himself and his ailing younger brother, who suffers from a mysterious illness. So when Ray scores a shady permit, he believes their fortunes may have finally changed. What he doesn’t expect is to be pulled into a conspiracy involving hostile cablers, corporate greed and the mysterious “Lapsis” who may have previously owned his permit. Called “a smart, class-conscious sci-fi parable” by The Hollywood Reporter, LAPSIS is a darkly comic and timely look at the gig economy and the failed utopian promises of big tech. Winner, Jury’s Choice Award, 2020 Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival; Nominee, Best First Screenplay, 2021 Independent Spirit Awards. Official Selection, 2020 SXSW, Mill Valley Film Festival, Trieste Science+Fiction Festival and Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
We discuss everything from the fetishisation of busyness and hustle culture, to the impact of a year spent working from home, and how the pandemic is likely to change workplace structures in years to come. Plus, Sarah has some fascinating thoughts on the gig economy and self-employment, the role that personal brands play in creative careers, and how unionising might just be our way out of many of the workplace ills we discuss in this episode.