Why you should ditch ‘follow your passion’ careers advice

Lifestyle

Why you should ditch ‘follow your passion’ careers advice

A new book tackles the myth that we should all love our work — it won’t love us back

Emma Jacobs

“Work is supposed to bring us fulfilment, pleasure, meaning, even joy,” writes Sarah Jaffe in her book Work Won’t Love You Back. “The admonishment of a thousand inspirational social media posts to ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ has become folk wisdom,” she continues.

Such platitudes suggest an essential truth “stretching back to our caveperson ancestors”. But these fallacies create “stress, anxiety and loneliness”. In short, the “labour of love ... is a con”. This is the starting point of Jaffe’s book, which goes on to show how the myth permeates diverse jobs and sectors.

The book serves as a timely reminder of the importance of re-evaluating that relationship. “The global pandemic made the brutality of the workplace more visible,” the author tells me over the phone from Brooklyn, New York. Jaffe, who is a freelance journalist specialising in work, points out that the past year of job losses, anxiety about redundancy and excessive workloads has demonstrated to workers the truth: their job does not love them. ..

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