Follow your passion? Not so fast, young person

Lifestyle

Follow your passion? Not so fast, young person

A new book tackles the myth that we should all love our work because it certainly 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.

It 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. ..

This article is reserved for Sunday Times Daily subscribers.
A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times Daily content.

Sunday Times Daily

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems?
Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.