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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.
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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.