We've all heard this phrase, but at Jacobin an article entitled "In the Name of Love" claims that
"There’s little doubt that 'do what you love' (DWYL) is now the unofficial work mantra for our time. The problem is that it leads not to salvation, but to the devaluation of actual work, including the very work it pretends to elevate — and more importantly, the dehumanization of the vast majority of laborers."After all, we're not all Bill Gates building computers in our garage.
Is DWYL just a bit of self-aggrandizing fluff?
Jacobin makes a good point when saying, "By keeping us focused on ourselves and our individual happiness, DWYL distracts us from the working conditions of others while validating our own choices and relieving us from obligations to all who labor, whether or not they love it."
Jacobin uses the example of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, the creator of all those gadgets we can't live without today. In his 2005 commencement speech for Stanford graduates he advised them that
"You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."But as Jacobin so aptly points out "Jobs elided the labor of untold thousands in Apple’s factories, conveniently hidden from sight on the other side of the planet — the very labor that allowed Jobs to actualize his love."
Jacobin futher claims that the idea of DWYL divides workers.
"Work becomes divided into two opposing classes: that which is lovable (creative, intellectual, socially prestigious) and that which is not (repetitive, unintellectual, undistinguished). Those in the lovable work camp are vastly more privileged in terms of wealth, social status, education, society’s racial biases, and political clout, while comprising a small minority of the workforce.
"For those forced into unlovable work, it’s a different story. Under the DWYL credo, labor that is done out of motives or needs other than love (which is, in fact, most labor) is not only demeaned but erased."This article goes on to talk about academia and how professors are all contract laborers because most of us are part-timers and the plight of the poor intern who gets paid nothing, but is doing what you love really just for the privileged few?
The longer I teach the more I hear students say that their chosen career path isn't in something they love, but in something that will earn them "bank".
So why did you choose your career path? Love? Money? Or something else?