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“Do What You Love” Myth22 Jul 2014 06:45 pm

iheartmyjob-300x300.gifThe Do What You Love catchphrase has reached new heights of popularity in recent years, but, thankfully, some folks out there are wondering if it is merely an unrealistic and sort of elitist idea.

Slate’s Miya Tokumitsu provides a much needed skeptical take in a piece titled “In the Name of Love: Elites embrace the “do what you love” mantra. But it devalues work and hurts workers.”

There’s little doubt that “do what you love” (DWYL) is now the unofficial work mantra for our time. The problem with DWYL, however, is that it leads not to salvation but to the devaluation of actual work—and more importantly, the dehumanization of the vast majority of laborers.

Indeed! Even organizations dedicated to preparing people for the jobs that people love are built with the less celebrated labor of others. A recent example — the harsh working conditions workers in Abu Dhabi faced building a new campus for New York University, part of “a growing number of experiments in academic globalization,” according to a recent New York Times article.

But you don’t have to go abroad to see people working under harsh conditions, or holding jobs that many may find unsavory but still toiling away.

I wrote about this a while back after spending a lot of time with a guy who was a sanitation worker in downtown Wilmington, DE. He probably had one of the toughest jobs around, but when I asked him about it he said:

“I have to work,” he said. “A man don’t work he don’t eat.”

This wasn’t his dream job. In fact, (more…)


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