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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.
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11 Excellent Work-Life Balance Books at Bookriot

Work Won’t Love You Back is one of 11 work-life balance books at Bookriot. They write:

Listen. That old “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” saying is baloney. It’s why many of us are feeling burned out and exploited. Your work is not your family. Exposure doesn’t pay the bills. Sarah Jaffe eviscerates the notion of your job being “a labor of love,” or being driven by passion rather than pay. Work Won’t Love You Back is the book we all need in our lives if we want any semblance of a work–life balance.

Read the whole thing at Bookriot.
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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
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Why it’s time to fall out of love with work at Welcome to the Jungle

Joanna York interviewed me about Work Won’t Love You Back for Welcome to the Jungle. She writes:

Do you love your job? Many workers don’t just say they do, they move cities, put in long hours or even work for free to prove just how passionate they are about what they do for a living. And being intrinsically interested in the job itself might not be enough. Increasingly we are urged to see colleagues as family, our homes as offices and to free up our leisure time to make ourselves more available to our bosses.

Studies suggest such commitment to work is taking its toll. Research from the World Health Organization in 2021 found that overwork—defined as working more than 54 hours a week—is deadly, killing three quarters of a million people a year. So why do we work with such devotion, and how can we stop?

Read the rest at Welcome to the Jungle
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12 Best Business Books at The Times

The Times of London chose Work Won’t Love You Back as one of its best business books of the year:

Nothing in life is more satisfying than quitting a job that you loathe. Yet a strange expectation has arisen in the opposite direction: that you should adore the nine-to-five. This relationship is entirely one-sided, as anyone who has slogged tirelessly at work only to get the boot can testify. Jaffe’s timely and punchy book explores how we’ve been sold a dud dream: told to find fulfilment and meaning from work, while job security evaporates and working conditions deteriorate.

Check it out.
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Best Books of 2021 at Powell’s

Powell’s Books chose Work Won’t Love You Back as one of its best nonfiction books of 2021.

Over the past 19+ months, think pieces, op-eds, surveys, analyses, and general hand-wringing about “burnout” have been impossible to avoid. Articles suggesting cures ranging from vacation time and therapy, to bubble baths and “mindfulness” have proliferated wildly as reporters and employers have rushed to counteract the condition credited with causing “The Great Resignation.” But no one has explained how we got here better than Jaffe.

You can check it out there and also buy the book from them!

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21 Books To Gift Every Type Of Person In Your Life at Refinery29

Refinery29 puts Work Won’t Love You Back on its holiday gift list:

In the age of working from home or living at work, this eye-opener is all about empowering us to work less and help us figure out what actually gives us joy and satisfaction in our day-to-day lives.

Check it out.
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Debunking the Myths of Modern Work at Tribune

Airelle Perrouin reviewed Work Won’t Love You Back alongside Amelia Horgan’s excellent Lost in Work for Tribune magazine. She writes:

People everywhere are challenging the narratives that characterise work as a route out of poverty, or to self-actualisation, because for most, neither holds true: in modern Britain, hard work simply does not guarantee a life of dignity, or safety, or fulfilment. A widely circulated meme captures a shift in attitudes, particularly among the young: ‘Darling I don’t have a dream job, I don’t dream of labour.’ In the current context, this can be read as an indictment of the myths of work as much as work itself: we might dream more of labour, for example, had that dreaming not been made into an act of labour itself – or were the current conditions of labour not so bleak. But how long will this shift last – and how far will it go?

Any solution to existing problems must be on a much larger, more radical scale than anything previously imagined. While Work Won’t Love You Back and Lost in Work provide accessible histories of capitalism and deconstruct the mythos of modern work, they ultimately remain focused on the future: Jaffe and Horgan never lose sight of who and what they’re fighting for – and despite plenty of righteous anger, both books are, ultimately, beacons of hope. As Horgan puts it, ‘We can’t get our lives back without radically changing the very foundation of society.’

Read the whole thing at Tribune
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What Does It Even Mean To Be ‘Burnt Out’ These Days? at Refinery29

I spoke with Daisy Schofield for Refinery29 for a story on the ubiquity of “burnout” and what gets missed in those discussions. She writes:

People may also be more likely to say they are experiencing burnout because the term can be worn as a badge of honour. As Sarah Jaffe, author of Work Won’t Love You Back, writes: “We’re supposed to value ‘busy’ and ‘productive’, and capital has always valued these things. Bosses want us to work as much as and as hard as we possibly can. The expectation that we’ve internalised this as employees, rather than as bosses, is a relatively new thing.”Sarah says this idea that we should prize productivity above all else marks a shift away from the industrial model – such as work in the coal mines – where employment was seen as more adversarial. In today’s hustle culture, “being super busy is somehow a sign that we have status, when usually, it’s just a sign that we don’t get paid enough.” The term ‘burnout’, Sarah argues, has become inextricably bound up with this idea that we should love our jobs. As she puts it: “Burnout becomes the space between being told that you should love your job and the reality that your job still sucks.”Do we need a new language to talk about burnout, or one that more explicitly deglorifies overwork, such as ‘toxic productivity‘? Sarah is unconvinced. “Literally, productivity is killing us, as individuals and the planet. So there’s sort of no ‘non-toxic’ productivity,” she says. While terms such as burnout have become “vacated of meaning … their origins were really powerful,” Sarah notes. “I think it’s useful to drill down into where terms [like burnout] come from, because often, it tells us a lot about what’s actuallygoing on and what we’re actually dealing with.” 

Read the whole thing at Refinery29