Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone

Sarah Jaffe. Bold Type, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-1-56858-939-8
The notion that people should love what they do leaves workers dissatisfied and vulnerable to exploitation, according to this alarming study of modern-day employment trends. Devoting each chapter to a different job, journalist Jaffe (Necessary Trouble) provides historical context and speaks to professionals about their pay, job security, and work-life balance. She examines neoliberal economic policies that led to manufacturing layoffs in the 1970s, tracks a Long Island woman’s shift from customer service to labor activism after she lost her job of 29 years at Toys R Us, and discusses how “the internship... naturalizes lousy—and gendered—working conditions.” Through the lens of a Caribbean nanny’s experiences working in New York City, Jaffe explores the racial history of domestic work, contending that practices begun during the Reconstruction era inform people’s lives and job prospects today. Jaffe is an expert researcher and a witty narrator, but some of her history lessons seem needlessly in-depth (a chapter on adjunct professors chronicles the evolution of the university from 11th-century Italy to today), and she offers few practical solutions. Still, this is a noteworthy and persuasive call for returning to a more pragmatic view of work. Agent: Lydia Wills, Lydia Wills LLC (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/21/2020
Release date: 01/26/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-6278-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-6276-3
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