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

El Pais: “The ideology of love for work is a scam”

More Catalan press! Noella Ramirez of El Pais interviewed me about Work Won’t Love You Back:

The journalist Sarah Jaffe (Massachusetts, 43) always heard the same story. “I’ve been writing about work for most of my career. And the story was constantly repeated of people who had landed their dream job and suddenly discovered that the conditions were terrible: they worked a million hours a week, they didn’t rest, they didn’t get paid much and they had perhaps moved to an expensive city that they couldn’t afford”, he explains through a video call from London this reporter, one of the first to report on Occupy Wall Street or Fight for $15 (the movement demanding a federal minimum wage of $15 in the United States) and who has worked for publications such as .The Atlanticor The Washington Post

What’s going on with work? How is it all different compared to other periods? The answers to these questions can be found in The job will not love you (Ara Llibres, translation by Pau Gros), an essay that puts historical context and social question about why we have so quickly forgotten that “eight hours to sleep, eight to work and eight to live” and ended up mired in a work culture that has appropriated our identity, exhausting us and keeping – us isolated from the rest.

Read the rest at El Pais.
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Press Work Won't Love You Back

Nuvol: “We are made to believe that we like to sacrifice ourselves for work”

More Catalan press! Santi Dommel at Nuvol interviewed me about Work Won’t Love You Back, and writes:

Climate change, political polarization, the precariousness of everything and the rise of inequalities are the main challenges that are eroding the social pact that emerged from the ruins of the Second World War and, above all, the lives of people Because that’s what it’s all about, in the end, living under dignified conditions. But everything seems to indicate that the system continues to perpetuate and reproduce structural faults. By Sarah Jaffe, author of Work Won’t Love You (Arallibres ), the prevailing system inserted a seed, now about fifty years ago, which, little by little, has grown to the point of structuring our morals: the love of work. The umpteenth pirouette of late capitalism which, according to the author, has made us believe that we like work, a coercive mechanism par excellence. Jaffe destroys myths with a feminist and progressive perspective, while delving into the past to trace the origin of the inequalities that make up the current labor market. It also manages to expose the labor problem with cases that can be fully extrapolated to other non-Anglo-Saxon realities, revealing the unsustainability of the working life of a whole range of profiles. From artists, athletes or scholars, to computer programmers, teachers, through domestic workers – historically carried out by racialized women -, or by the highest levels of international women’s football with , Jaffe goes into the gears of “the love of work” to refloat witnesses who seek to recover a lost solidarity. We met with the author online to find out more about a book with a coherent and clever plot.

Read the rest at Nuvol.
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Press Work Won't Love You Back

Rac1: “That people don’t want to work? Very low wages, precariousness, and they expect us to wake up smiling and happy?”Rac1:

More Catalan press! Rac1 interviewed me about Work Won’t Love You Back. Rosanna Carceller Squire writes:

Love of work is a scam, and devotion to professional dedication keeps us exploited, exhausted, and alone. This is what American journalist Sarah Jaffe (1980, Massachusetts) explains, specializing in power politics, who works for media such as The New York Times, The Guardian or The Nation .  

Now publishes in Catalan Work will not love you (Ara Llibres), a volume which is his second work and which The Times has defined as “one of the best books of the year”. Jaffe makes an interesting reflection on labor rights and a thorough analysis of how capitalism has manipulated our feelings to take advantage of our work relationships. 

Read the whole thing at Rac1
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Press Work Won't Love You Back

La Vanguardia: “The relationship with our jobs is more toxic than any other love affair.”

Work Won’t Love You Back came out in Catalan from Ara Llibres and I did several interviews for that edition. Lara Gomez Ruiz at La Vanguardia wrote:

Jaffe emphasizes “the importance of understanding that work does not liberate us or make us happy. It is true that, sometimes, it gives us good moments. I get satisfaction from interviewing certain people and when I was a waitress I loved the spontaneous conversations that arose with some customers. That is to say, I agree with taking advantage of the occasions that bring us joy during the work day. But that’s not enough to hold it all. Longing for total happiness in the workplace is an unrealistic concept imposed by an outdated society. And we are in the 21st century, let’s modernize and start acting as such,” she concludes.

Read the whole thing at La Vanguardia
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Press Work Won't Love You Back

Work Won’t Love You Back at Morning Brew

Susanna Vogel at Morning Brew interviewed me about Work Won’t Love You Back. She writes,

In her book, Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone, Jaffe offers a message that flies in the face of C-suite hand-wringing over so-called quiet quitting. Jaffe argues that workers, particularly those in fields that recruit on the promise of purpose, are often unfairly expected to make sacrifices—taking unpaid internships, working long hours, or accepting low wages—to do what they love, and that pursuing a job for passion often leads to being exploited.

Read the rest
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Press Work Won't Love You Back

Why Is Assessing Job Satisfaction So Hard? at the New York Times

Alina Tugend at the NYT interviewed me for a story on job satisfaction, and I got to be the voice of dissent against “job satisfaction assessments” as a whole. She writes:

For Sarah Jaffe, the author of “Work Won’t Love You Back,” there’s a broader factor undermining trust. Surveys too often are little more than window dressing for companies that profess to care about workers’ happiness, but they fail to provide “basic needs, such as decent wage and autonomy on the job,” she said.

“Not feeling like your boss is spying on you all day,” she added. “Flexible scheduling and basic respect for you as a human being.”

Read the whole thing at the New York Times.
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Press Work Won't Love You Back

«Il lavoro non ti ama? Non devi (per forza) lasciarlo» Interview at Corriere Della Sera

Irene Soave interviewed me for Corriere Della Sera, in Italy. Through the Google Translate machine, she writes:

Is contemporary discontent more of a material nature – contracts, salaries – or emotional? Disappointed expectations, success that never comes…
«I don’t think the two spheres are separate. If we show that we don’t like work, for example, and this is an emotional fact, we risk losing it, and this is a very material fact. Perhaps it makes us feel like failures that we are more unresolved than our parents; but it is also due to our lower salaries. And finally, the expectations of success are inculcated in us from the cradle, but the material conditions do not always exist. So the first reaction we have, if we’re burnt out, is to think we’re not good enough.”

Read the whole thing (in Italian!) here.
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Press Work Won't Love You Back

Fashion for the ‘Lean Out’ Era

Veronique Hyland interviewed me about the season’s take on wild workwear, and what it says about how women feel about work these days, for Elle‘s October issue. She writes:

It’s more likely that most of these pieces will never find their way into fluorescent-lit cubicles, if only because of their quality of high camp. “The suit has always been drag,” Jaffe says. It’s a classic garment, one that “changes to a degree that it doesn’t at the same time, and men are always safe in it. As long as they’re wearing a suit, it can be a really bad ill-fitting Donald Trump suit, but they’re still powerful, right?” she says. “Whereas there’s a lot more pressure on women in terms of what we’re supposed to wear. Because you have so many more options, there are so many more ways to be wrong.” So while people might not necessarily be taking to the water cooler in pinstriped minis and suit jackets-turned-tube tops anytime soon, the club is another story. If anything, these aren’t clothes for labor; they’re clothes about labor, our way of grappling with a world where stability and certainty have ebbed. “The romance of work is never perfect,” as Jaffe puts it. “It’s always got cracks in it, and there are so many ways that comes out in the culture.”

Read the whole thing at Elle
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Press Work Won't Love You Back

“Work Will Never Love Us Back. But Other People Will” at GetAbstract

Gundula Stoll interviewed me about Work Won’t Love You Back at GetAbstract. She writes:

Jaffe doesn’t believe that there’s anything to romanticize about the toils of the industrial age. But she’s convinced that the labor of love is a con. In her book she chronicles in fascinating detail how one form of exploitation transformed into another, fleshing out the history of active labor struggle and its radical, inspiring thinkers. But her focus is on the people in the service, creative and teaching industries who were forced into the labor-of-love trap and managed to break free from it through organizing, unionizing and the love of their fellow human beings.

Read the rest at GetAbstract
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Press Work Won't Love You Back

Your Unconditional Devotion To Work Is Killing Your Relationship at HuffPost UK

Faima Bakar at HuffPost UK interviewed me about Work Won’t Love You Back for a piece at HuffPost UK about why work is bad for our love lives, just in time for V-Day.

Jaffe explains that without social solidarity, we feel alone and powerless, which is apt in keeping us working and feeding the capitalist regime.

So what can you do? After all, most people need to work. That answer lies in our collective demand, says Jaffe.

“If you as an individual say ‘I’m not going to answer my boss’s emails on Friday night because I have a date’ or if you’re an Uber driver or a zero-hours contract employee and you just say ‘Friday nights, I’m not going to turn the app on’ well, you’re taking money off the table.

“So it’s not as simple as saying ‘have better personal boundaries’. It’s actually a thing we have to deal with collectively and politically so we have a much better handle on better work life boundaries. If you were in a union and you and your co-workers together, stand up and say we are not going to answer emails after 8pm on a work night or, whatever those boundaries might be, then that collective action can win you better boundaries.

“And that is part of the reason that it’s important to disrupt not only our own devotion to work but those of everyone around us, because it won’t work if we just do it individually.”

Read the whole thing at HuffPost