Work Won’t Love You Back

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

Sarah Jaffe

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

Bibliographic Details
Work Won’t Love You Back Hardback
January 2021£20
Request Press Review Copy
Request Inspection Copy

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 how we all bought into this ‘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. Through 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.

Sarah Jaffe argues that understanding the labour of love trap will empower us to work less and demand what our work is worth. Once freed, we can finally figure out what actually gives us joy, pleasure and satisfaction.


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 Times, The Guardian, The Nation and many other outlets. She tweets as @sarahljaffe.  


‘As the world of work changes drastically before our eyes, this book could not be more timely. Jaffe does a fantastic job of bringing her argument to life through interviews with workers from across the class spectrum. A brilliant and persuasive book from one of the left’s most insightful and thought-provoking writers.’ — Grace Blakeley, author of The Corona Crash and Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialisation

‘This is a book I hope many people read. With passion, eloquence and a fierce dedication to the people she interviews, Jaffe unpacks today’s labours of the hands, the head and the heart in order to dismantle the con slogan of “love what you do”.’ — Will Stronge, Director of Research, Autonomy