If you’ve ever been in a career transition, or have been a recent grad, there was probably a moment where you weren’t quite sure what was next. Usually, well-intentioned folks like to suggest that you “do what you love” (DWYL) and somehow the rest will magically follow. In Slate, Miya Tokumitsu makes her case why that advice is bad for the individual and for society: 

No one is arguing that enjoyable work should be less so. But emotionally satisfying work is still work, and acknowledging it as such doesn’t undermine it in any way. Refusing to acknowledge it, on the other hand, opens the door to exploitation and harms all workers.

Ironically, DWYL reinforces exploitation even within the so-called lovable professions, where off-the-clock, underpaid, or unpaid labor is the new norm: reporters required to do the work of their laid-off photographers, publicists expected to pin and tweet on weekends, the 46 percent of the workforce expected to check their work email on sick days. Nothing makes exploitation go down easier than convincing workers that they are doing what they love.

Read the rest here.

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  • Lorena CM

    interesting.

  • LittleOddsandPieces

    From Japan and China came the knowledge about death from over-work called Kharoshi that entered published science from around 1969.

    Work / life balance is necessary to prevent workplace stress overload, that is called career burnout stress, that can take you out of earning an income for months if not years.

    Today, one of the modern stresses is both emotional and physical is always being online.

    Physical stress of computer / tablet / smartphone work is ageing to eyes and hands, neck and back.

    Getting better from being sick needs nurturing and bed rest to give the body a chance to recover, and all energy needs to be focused only on that. Not on working during your personal time.

    Exploitation by the employer just dries up willing staff, like they were sweat shop cheap labour in the third world.

    An employer has a duty of care re workplace stress, that is as dangerous to losing key staff as an industrial accident.

    As an employee, it helps your career not at all to be exploited, as it will just take away your ability to progress your career, because you will not be able to work from the serious negative health outcomes of stress.

    Always-Elysium Co UK

  • DWYL YOLO

    What a terrible article. I think one of the commenters summed it up well when they said, “Maybe her dreams of the good life in ‘fields that are highly socially desirable’ haven’t materialized according to her expectation, and she is now making ends meet by resentfully slamming out blogmill deadlines for extra cash instead of examining how she has framed for herself the meaning of work and love.”

  • kokostiletto

    Thanks for sharing this article. Very interesting read.

  • http://www.alexanderfilms.com/ Marc A Hutchins

    How about the “do what you love and the money will come” thinking? I know there are often freebie expectations when starting off, especially in the arts, but that work is also the time most of us meet other creatives and pave inroads that otherwise lay dormant and dusty. I think NOT doing what you love equals a long and unhappy career — mostly certainly not my cup of tea. Doing what you love shouldn’t equal continual free work, but paying on the front end often leads to payoffs on the back end.

  • Krmlks

    What a great article, I can only agree!

    I recently had the same experience, working as an non-payed intern in an architectural office, like most of undergraduate students of architecture..
    I quit the “job” when I started realizing how much I could have earned if I worked the same amount of time but e.g. as a waiter + i could have spent that money in my hobbies + i would have avoided so many sleepless nights, dedicating some extra time for searching references or the like, talking about projects and their problems during lunch time and so on..

    Yes, I was truly convinced of this work, people kept saying me “you will learn a lot”, “it will be a big plus for your curriculum” and even in the university our professors kept motivating us by saying “you don’t work for money, you work for promoting culture”(!).

    Seriously. With all my respect to the architectural community and as much as I love and envision to become an architect, I think that this attitude can only damage architecture as a profession.

    We should face the reality: we live in a monetary driven society, where the more money you make, the more “prestigious” you are or the more “social value” you have. With an average income of ca. 52000€/year (gross) we architects just don’t have that social status we think we have…
    People think we architects are “living in our own cloud” somewhere far away or far above society, they don’t understand architecture as architects themselves understand it.

    People are interested in e.g. … Iphones: something innovative, shaped to their needs and most of all easily to understand!
    So why we cannot stop trying to “square the circle” and start trying to sell our projects like a smartphone which the society can understand and is willing to pay for, thus getting the payment our work really deserves?

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