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

a book by Sarah Jaffe
Event • London

Virtual Event: Housman’s Books with Ray Malone and Kate O’Shea

When you love your job so much that you’ll work for next to nothing, then nothing is exactly what you’ll get.

We’re very pleased to welcome Sarah Jaffe to Housmans to discuss the ‘labour of love’ myth: the idea that certain work is not really work, and should be done for the sake of passion rather than pay. Whether it’s working for free in exchange for ‘experience’, enduring poor treatment in the name of being ‘part of the family’, or clocking serious overtime for a good cause, more and more of us are pushed to make sacrifices for the privilege of being able to do work we enjoy.

Work Won’t Love You Back examines the lives and experiences of various workers—from the unpaid intern and the overworked teacher, to the nonprofit employee, the domestic worker and even the professional athlete—this compelling book reveals how we’ve all been tricked into a new tyranny of work and argues that understanding the labour of love trap will empower us to work less and demand what our work is worth.

For this event, Sarah will be in conversation with Ray Malone and Kate O’Shea, two of the workers she interviews in Work Won’t Love You Back.

Please join us to take part in this essential conversation on a type of labour which is also very prevalent within radical communities: simply register below for free access or, if you wish to support Housmans, you can purchase a solidarity ticket.


Sarah Jaffe is a Type Media Center fellow and an independent journalist covering the politics of power, from the workplace to the streets. The author of Necessary Trouble, she has written for The New York TimesThe GuardianThe Nation and many other outlets. She tweets as @sarahljaffe.

Ray Malone is a creative producer, theatre director and photographer, working under the banner of her own theatre and arts collective: Heads Bodies Legs. Her previous experience is varied, alongside her work as a theatre maker, she has also worked as a chambermaid, an ice cream seller, a barmaid in a strip club, a governess for wealthy Russians, a terrible singer and badass single mum. As an activist, she’s made performances with a number of collectives, including Act Up London, Beautiful Trouble, the NHS Anti-Swindle Team, and the Fallout Club. In theatre, she has directed and dramaturged a range of new-writing and site-specific performances, devising shows with professional and non-professional actors. Ray is currently leading the community arts project: the Molly’s Masquerade at St Margaret’s House in Bethnal Green.

Kate O’Shea is an artist with a social practice which includes printmaking, the production of social spaces, collective cooking and publishing. From setting up a social space in the south west of Ireland in 2009 to co-producing SPARE ROOM Art Architecture Activism ( with Eve Olney in Cork in 2019, Kate’s collaborative practice is based on building spaces of solidarity and dialogue in order to explore alternatives to the social relations of capitalism. Kate is currently The Just City Counter Narrative Neighbourhood Residency Awardee with Common Ground, Dublin 8. Kate’s project How Much is Enough? includes collaborators from all around the world exploring ideas and practices around spatial injustices in multiple cities. This includes an upcoming collaborative exhibition entitled ‘Half Way To Falling’. Along with Victoria Brunetta, Kate is co-founder of Durty Books (2018 – present) which is a publishing house that has produced two books to date, providing a critical space for voices who challenge and build alternatives to capitalist hegemony. Kate is developing The People’s Kitchen which is being funded by Arts Council Ireland Artist in Community Scheme, managed by CREATE. She is consulting artist on We Only Want The Earth 2020 working with A4 Sounds, Create & MASI. Kate is a member of The Living Commons, Ireland.