Work Won’t Love You Back w/ Sarah Jaffe at Idler Festival

10 Jul 2022 – 12:15-13:00 BST
Idler Festival
Lawn Stage at Fenton House, Hampstead Grove, London NW3 6SP

Join journalist Sarah Jaffe, Idler editor Tom Hodgkinson and Brendan Burchell for a chat about the false promises of the ‘do what you love’ mantra and why the new tyranny of work needs to end.

What if you love your job so much that you’ll work for nothing? Is it okay to work overtime for a good cause? Why have so many of us bought into the “labour of love” myth? These are the questions that Sarah Jaffe explores in her book Work Won’t Love You Back. Sarah will be talking about her research for the book, why we shouldn’t work for the sake of passion over pay, and how we can free ourselves from the tyranny of work.

You’re told that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. 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.

About the author

Sarah Jaffe is the author of Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted and Alone, which Jane McAlevey called “a multiplex in still life; a stunning critique of capitalism, a collective conversation on the meaning of life and work, and a definite contribution to the we-won’t-settle-for-less demands of the future society everyone deserves,” and of Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt. She is a Type Media Center reporting fellow and an independent journalist covering the politics of power, from the workplace to the streets. Her work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Nation, the Guardian, the Washington PostThe New Republic, the Atlantic, and many other publications. She is the co-host, with Michelle Chen, of Dissent magazine’s Belabored podcast, as well as a columnist at The Progressive and New Labor Forum.

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