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

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

The essential non-fiction books of 2021 at the New Statesman

Tom Gatti at the New Statesman included Work Won’t Love You Back in a list of essential 2021 reads. He writes:

Several other writers have also “gone big” this year with ambitious, ideas-rich books. One of the most keenly anticipated is The Right to Sex by Amia Srinivasan, a young philosopher at All Souls, Oxford. Published by Bloomsbury in August, it is billed as “a landmark dismantling of the politics and ethics of sex in this world”. In Everybody (Picador, April), Olivia Laing tells the related story of the body and its fight for political freedom through 20th-century movements such as gay rights and feminism. Jan Lucassen’s The Story of Work: A New History of Humankind (Yale, July) feels timely as we adjust to a workplace transformed by the pandemic. Its themes are shared by several other titles including Work Won’t Love You Back by Sarah Jaffe (Hurst, January) and Why You Won’t Get Rich by Robert Verkaik (Oneworld, March).

Read More at The New Statesman
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Press Work Won't Love You Back

What’s the Point of Non-Essential Work? at Jezebel

Jezebel’s Marie Solis interviewed me for this excellent piece about work, and how it sucks, and how this was the year we all started to think about that. She writes:

Sarah Jaffe refers to this idea as “workplace realism,” in her new book Work Won’t Love You Back. Riffing on Mark Fisher’s theory of capitalist realism, Jaffe reminds the reader: We may work from home, work odd hours, have meetings over Zoom rather than in person, but on the macro level the idea that we should work no matter what has remained stubbornly intact. But, as Jaffe reminded me, the history of the labor movement in the U.S. is founded on fights for fewer hours and more time to spend as we wish. The struggle for the eight-hour workday we now consider standard (in theory if not in practice) might also have begun as a single seed of consciousness, a realization that spending the majority of our time at work is not natural.

Individual epiphanies about work—that one would rather do much less of it, or that one should at least be able to do it on one’s own terms—can become the foundation of collective movements. During the pandemic, workers have organized for better work conditions, gone on rent strike to demand that housing be recognized as a human right. The government has demonstrated that it has the ability to deposit $1,200 into the bank accounts of (most) Americans if there is the political will—fertile ground for agitating for a universal basic income. These are practical measures to materially improve people’s lives as well as important exercises in imagination: It is possible to alter the way we work.

“The crisis can make it much more obvious to us the ways work sucks but we still have to change it,” Jaffe said. “The realizations that people are coming to, the reckonings people are having with work, those are happening everywhere. What we do with them then is the next question.”

Read more at Jezebel
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Press Work Won't Love You Back

32 Great Books To Start Off Your New Year at Refinery29

In Refinery29, Work Won’t Love You Back is one of 32 recommended books, and they write:

After reading this insightful look into how doing what you love can be a recipe for disaster you may want to get the words, “work won’t love you back,” stitched on a pillow so you don’t forget.

Read more at Refinery29

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Press Work Won't Love You Back

Your Must-Read List for Cozying Up With a Good Book This Winter at Jewish Exponent

Jesse Bernstein at Philly blog Jewish Exponent calls Work Won’t Love You Back a must-read. He writes:

The title is true of everyone except for me. I am completely fulfilled by my work. So if you’re one of those people wondering about why works feels like that, check out the newest reported book from Jaffe, a Philadelphia native and Temple grad, to boot.

Read more at Jewish Exponent