Do what you love? Value your work.

heartby Rachel Sanders

Happy Valentine’s Day, freelancers! On this day of homage to all things amorous, let’s take a minute to think about love of our work. There was a brilliant article in Jacobin Magazine last month that scrutinized the popular mantra “Do What You Love” — advice that’s been offered to job seekers by everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Steve Jobs. Writer Miya Tokumitsu outlined the reasons she dislikes that directive, arguing that it devalues work of all kinds.

If workers follow the “Do What You Love” mantra, she points out, work becomes “not something one does for compensation, but an act of self-love.”

And if you’re working for the love of it… well, it follows that you’ll be willing to accept less money for your efforts.

But the “Do What You Love” mantra also devalues other kinds of labour. In fact it divides work into two categories: “that which is lovable (creative, intellectual, socially prestigious) and that which is not (repetitive, unintellectual, undistinguished).”

This categorization shoves the unlovable variety of work to one side, devaluing many important-but-unglamorous jobs and the people who perform them.

It’s a post that’s well worth reading. Here it is again, in case you missed the link. And this Valentine’s Day, consider the fact that your work has value, whether you love it or not. In fact, when it comes to dignity and respect for workers, maybe “Value Your Work” is a better guiding career principle to live by.


Posted on February 14, 2014 at 9:05 am by editor ·

Leave a Reply