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

a book by Sarah Jaffe

Maybe We Just Want Less ‘Work’ on WNYC’s United States of Anxiety

I joined WNYC’s United States of Anxiety for a Labor Day show talking about our relationships with work.


The “Great Resignation” appears to be a real thing. But why? We ask workers what they really want. Plus, 45 questions to help us understand each other, and ourselves.

Recent research shows that for a lot of us, our relationship with work has evolved greatly through this ongoing pandemic.

In our Labor Day episode, journalist Sarah Jaffe, author of the book Work Won’t Love You Back, returns to the show to explore what’s changing, and why. Plus, we hear from listeners about what they want — and don’t want — from their jobs.

Then, in a time when it’s harder to deal with others, finding ways to connect in our “new normal” is becoming challenging again. So, reporter Jenny Casas introduces us to a list of questions that have helped her get to know the people around her. The list is actually a poem written by Chicago-based artist, educator and activist, Benji Hart. Its questions range from the mundane (2. Where is the least-visited corner in your home?) to the romantic (5. What is the cruelest thing you have done in love?) to the deeply personal (20. What hypocrisy in yourself have you yet to amend?).

Companion listening for this episode:

Capitalism vs. Time (3/8/2021)

Kai and Sarah Jaffe consider the history of collective action — and the struggle to shield our humanity from the demands of productivity.

“The Necessary Work” (9/7/2020)

Public and care workers have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, but who takes care of them? We explore the histories, realities and hopes of these very essential workers.


“The United States of Anxiety” airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC.