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“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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Love’s Labor, Lost and Found: Academia, “Quit Lit,” and the Great Resignation, a review at Los Angeles Review of Books

Lukas Moe includes Work Won’t Love You Back in his piece on academic “Quit Lit.” He writes:

Miserable protagonists and narrators are fashionable, but there is no frisson of autofiction in quit lit. What happens instead is slow and wrenching and sad.

For this, Jaffe’s book is a tonic. Jaffe’s style is that of someone who spends time with working people: curious about their particular experiences doing a job, fluent in the historical causes of that job’s depredations of self-worth, but impatient with overly fine distinctions. Work sucks, as we used to say, and we should learn how to say it again. The sectoral logic of the book’s chapters, ranging from home-care nurses to software engineers, insists that collective action is key to the possibility of good enough work. Instead of wringing hands about the death of the academic idyll, for example, what if we focused more on the overlaps between academic and service work, its survival strategies as well as its traps?

Read the whole thing at the LARB.
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It’s Not Going to Work Out: a review at Lux

Rithika Ramamurthy reviewed Work Won’t Love You Back and Amelia Horgan’s Lost in Work at Lux. She writes:

Anti-work writing is at its best when it inspires us to fight for a future that we can control and to organize towards that vision in the present. Without this double-pronged strategy, we will be left with short-term solutions and long-term immiseration. Jaffe and Horgan understand this, as they both insist that the only way forward is to organize the overworked sectors that do the difficult work of sustaining society. Their attention to care work in particular, and the feminized quality of the majority of modern work, is precisely what allows them to be clear-eyed about the capitalist tendency to turn even social reproduction into exploitable activity. Horgan’s proposed method of escaping capitalism is a “powerful and reinvigorated trade union movement,” while Jaffe declares that beyond stronger labor laws and workplace improvements, we need a “political understanding that our lives are ours to do with what we will.”

Read the whole thing at Lux.