El Pais: “The ideology of love for work is a scam”

More Catalan press! Noella Ramirez of El Pais interviewed me about Work Won’t Love You Back:

The journalist Sarah Jaffe (Massachusetts, 43) always heard the same story. “I’ve been writing about work for most of my career. And the story was constantly repeated of people who had landed their dream job and suddenly discovered that the conditions were terrible: they worked a million hours a week, they didn’t rest, they didn’t get paid much and they had perhaps moved to an expensive city that they couldn’t afford”, he explains through a video call from London this reporter, one of the first to report on Occupy Wall Street or Fight for $15 (the movement demanding a federal minimum wage of $15 in the United States) and who has worked for publications such as .The Atlanticor The Washington Post

What’s going on with work? How is it all different compared to other periods? The answers to these questions can be found in The job will not love you (Ara Llibres, translation by Pau Gros), an essay that puts historical context and social question about why we have so quickly forgotten that “eight hours to sleep, eight to work and eight to live” and ended up mired in a work culture that has appropriated our identity, exhausting us and keeping – us isolated from the rest.

Read the rest at El Pais.

Nuvol: “We are made to believe that we like to sacrifice ourselves for work”

More Catalan press! Santi Dommel at Nuvol interviewed me about Work Won’t Love You Back, and writes:

Climate change, political polarization, the precariousness of everything and the rise of inequalities are the main challenges that are eroding the social pact that emerged from the ruins of the Second World War and, above all, the lives of people Because that’s what it’s all about, in the end, living under dignified conditions. But everything seems to indicate that the system continues to perpetuate and reproduce structural faults. By Sarah Jaffe, author of Work Won’t Love You (Arallibres ), the prevailing system inserted a seed, now about fifty years ago, which, little by little, has grown to the point of structuring our morals: the love of work. The umpteenth pirouette of late capitalism which, according to the author, has made us believe that we like work, a coercive mechanism par excellence. Jaffe destroys myths with a feminist and progressive perspective, while delving into the past to trace the origin of the inequalities that make up the current labor market. It also manages to expose the labor problem with cases that can be fully extrapolated to other non-Anglo-Saxon realities, revealing the unsustainability of the working life of a whole range of profiles. From artists, athletes or scholars, to computer programmers, teachers, through domestic workers – historically carried out by racialized women -, or by the highest levels of international women’s football with , Jaffe goes into the gears of “the love of work” to refloat witnesses who seek to recover a lost solidarity. We met with the author online to find out more about a book with a coherent and clever plot.

Read the rest at Nuvol.

Rac1: “That people don’t want to work? Very low wages, precariousness, and they expect us to wake up smiling and happy?”Rac1:

More Catalan press! Rac1 interviewed me about Work Won’t Love You Back. Rosanna Carceller Squire writes:

Love of work is a scam, and devotion to professional dedication keeps us exploited, exhausted, and alone. This is what American journalist Sarah Jaffe (1980, Massachusetts) explains, specializing in power politics, who works for media such as The New York Times, The Guardian or The Nation .  

Now publishes in Catalan Work will not love you (Ara Llibres), a volume which is his second work and which The Times has defined as “one of the best books of the year”. Jaffe makes an interesting reflection on labor rights and a thorough analysis of how capitalism has manipulated our feelings to take advantage of our work relationships. 

Read the whole thing at Rac1

La Vanguardia: “The relationship with our jobs is more toxic than any other love affair.”

Work Won’t Love You Back came out in Catalan from Ara Llibres and I did several interviews for that edition. Lara Gomez Ruiz at La Vanguardia wrote:

Jaffe emphasizes “the importance of understanding that work does not liberate us or make us happy. It is true that, sometimes, it gives us good moments. I get satisfaction from interviewing certain people and when I was a waitress I loved the spontaneous conversations that arose with some customers. That is to say, I agree with taking advantage of the occasions that bring us joy during the work day. But that’s not enough to hold it all. Longing for total happiness in the workplace is an unrealistic concept imposed by an outdated society. And we are in the 21st century, let’s modernize and start acting as such,” she concludes.

Read the whole thing at La Vanguardia

Work Won’t Love You Back at Morning Brew

Susanna Vogel at Morning Brew interviewed me about Work Won’t Love You Back. She writes,

In her book, Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone, Jaffe offers a message that flies in the face of C-suite hand-wringing over so-called quiet quitting. Jaffe argues that workers, particularly those in fields that recruit on the promise of purpose, are often unfairly expected to make sacrifices—taking unpaid internships, working long hours, or accepting low wages—to do what they love, and that pursuing a job for passion often leads to being exploited.

Read the rest

Do We Want to Eat the Rich, or Dress Like Them? at Elle

Véronique Hyland interviewed me again for Elle, this time about the resurgence of so-called “old money” style, or “stealth wealth” or any number of terms that seem at odds with our current political moment. She writes:

It seems we’ve traded one unrealistic fantasy—hustle culture—for another, namely, an inherited life of leisure. The current longing seems to be for “conspicuous consumption that’s somehow not tacky,” says Sarah Jaffe, the author of Work Won’t Love You BackShe sums up the appeal of the coastal grandmother as “effortless wealth that comes from asset ownership.” The same seductive fantasy could apply to stealth wealth, quiet luxury, old money, and preppy style—slippery, not-quite-synonymous terms that have one thing in common: they reify both subtlety and ease.


Now that wealth is, as Jaffe says, “more inaccessible than ever” for most, “people have started realizing that work doesn’t pay.” She sums up the mood as: “I’ve still got to hustle for everything. And it’s never going to shake out unless somehow I have access to family money.” Old money style offers a fantasy of permanence in a world where more and more things are disposable, temporary, or just off-limits. Even the fascination with coastal grandmother figures like Martha Stewart and Ina Garten feels like “an admission of the fact that we’re never going to be able to retire.”

Read the whole thing at Elle

Why Is Assessing Job Satisfaction So Hard? at the New York Times

Alina Tugend at the NYT interviewed me for a story on job satisfaction, and I got to be the voice of dissent against “job satisfaction assessments” as a whole. She writes:

For Sarah Jaffe, the author of “Work Won’t Love You Back,” there’s a broader factor undermining trust. Surveys too often are little more than window dressing for companies that profess to care about workers’ happiness, but they fail to provide “basic needs, such as decent wage and autonomy on the job,” she said.

“Not feeling like your boss is spying on you all day,” she added. “Flexible scheduling and basic respect for you as a human being.”

Read the whole thing at the New York Times.

10 films to stream on Netflix in March 2022 (bear with me here, I swear it’s relevant)

An interesting little plug for WWLYB in the A.V. Club, where Katie Rife is considering her time at work in the last slide of an otherwise inane clickbait slideshow. She writes:

If you told me two years ago that my last published piece for The A.V. Club would be a slideshow, I’d say, “We don’t do slideshows. Readers don’t like them.” How things change. But it’s been a weird, wonderful ride nevertheless.

I’m really not inclined to get too maudlin, given the way things have played out over the past couple of months. But I will say this. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the current movement to reframe work, and the perils of tying your self-image to your career the way that I have over the past seven years. (If you’re also in a period of soul searching, I recommend reading Work Won’t Love You Back by Sarah Jaffe.)

Read the whole thing here

Top 10 books about terrible jobs

Lara Williams at the Guardian included Work Won’t Love You Back on a fun list of books–fiction and nonfiction–about work sucking. She included mine and Amelia Horgan’s Lost in Work together (a happy connection), and writes:

7. Work Won’t Love You Back by Sarah Jaffe and Lost in Work by Amelia Horgan
Two absolutely essential non-fiction books which interrogate modern narratives surrounding work. Featuring an array of case studies from all walks of life, Work Won’t Love You Back examines the myth that work should be done for love not money, and questions the lack of validity or compensation afforded particular kinds of work (domestic labour, art). Lost in Work queries a different myth about work: that we all have access to flexible, exciting and fast-paced employment, when what is really happening is a blurring of the lines between work and pleasure (“leisure treated as something we should make profitable; each hobby a potential ‘side gig’.”).

Read the whole thing here.

«Il lavoro non ti ama? Non devi (per forza) lasciarlo» Interview at Corriere Della Sera

Irene Soave interviewed me for Corriere Della Sera, in Italy. Through the Google Translate machine, she writes:

Is contemporary discontent more of a material nature – contracts, salaries – or emotional? Disappointed expectations, success that never comes…
«I don’t think the two spheres are separate. If we show that we don’t like work, for example, and this is an emotional fact, we risk losing it, and this is a very material fact. Perhaps it makes us feel like failures that we are more unresolved than our parents; but it is also due to our lower salaries. And finally, the expectations of success are inculcated in us from the cradle, but the material conditions do not always exist. So the first reaction we have, if we’re burnt out, is to think we’re not good enough.”

Read the whole thing (in Italian!) here.