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Wed Jan 15, 2014, 04:47 AM

 

"Do what you love"

“Do what you love. Love what you do.” The commands are framed and perched in a living room that can only be described as “well-curated.” A picture of this room appeared first on a popular design blog, but has been pinned, tumbl’d, and liked thousands of times by now. Lovingly lit and photographed, this room is styled to inspire Sehnsucht, roughly translatable from German as a pleasurable yearning for some utopian thing or place. Despite the fact that it introduces exhortations to labor into a space of leisure, the “do what you love” living room — where artful tchotchkes abound and work is not drudgery but love — is precisely the place all those pinners and likers long to be. The diptych arrangement suggests a secular version of a medieval house altar.



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.

Superficially, DWYL is an uplifting piece of advice, urging us to ponder what it is we most enjoy doing and then turn that activity into a wage-generating enterprise. But why should our pleasure be for profit? Who is the audience for this dictum? Who is not?

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. It is the secret handshake of the privileged and a worldview that disguises its elitism as noble self-betterment. According to this way of thinking, labor is not something one does for compensation, but an act of self-love. If profit doesn’t happen to follow, it is because the worker’s passion and determination were insufficient. Its real achievement is making workers believe their labor serves the self and not the marketplace.

Aphorisms have numerous origins and reincarnations, but the generic and hackneyed nature of DWYL confounds precise attribution. Oxford Reference links the phrase and variants of it to Martina Navratilova and François Rabelais, among others. The internet frequently attributes it to Confucius, locating it in a misty, Orientalized past. Oprah Winfrey and other peddlers of positivity have included it in their repertoires for decades, but the most important recent evangelist of the DWYL creed is deceased Apple CEO Steve Jobs. His graduation speech to the Stanford University class of 2005 provides as good an origin myth as any, especially since Jobs had already been beatified as the patron saint of aestheticized work well before his early death...

But by portraying Apple as a labor of his individual love, 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.

Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life! Before succumbing to the intoxicating warmth of that promise, it’s critical to ask, “Who, exactly, benefits from making work feel like non-work?” “Why should workers feel as if they aren’t working when they are?” Historian Mario Liverani reminds us that “ideology has the function of presenting exploitation in a favorable light to the exploited, as advantageous to the disadvantaged.”

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/01/in-the-name-of-love/

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Reply "Do what you love" (Original post)
El_Johns Jan 2014 OP
JDPriestly Jan 2014 #1
pipoman Jan 2014 #2
valerief Jan 2014 #3
Demo_Chris Jan 2014 #4
El_Johns Jan 2014 #5
SidDithers Jan 2014 #6

Response to El_Johns (Original post)

Wed Jan 15, 2014, 06:05 AM

1. What is better than do what you love?

Love what you do. I've applied that, and when I have, I've found myself doing what I love.

We don't always get to be picky about what we have to do. But if we do what we have to do with the trust that it will lead us to a situation in which we are doing what we love, it works out.

That is my experience. Very few people can make a living doing what they would love to be doing. For the rest of us, love what we do.

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Response to El_Johns (Original post)

Wed Jan 15, 2014, 07:39 AM

2. What a crock. .

 

The point is that most of us have to work, at least choose something you like to do. The author of this sounds like so many people I have met working in jobs they hate. Pretending they don't have a choice.

I left a good paying 20 year career at 42 to do what I always wanted to do. I started cooking 6 years ago for minimum wage. I had never been a cook before beyond family and friends. Because I wanted to cook, I am passionate about it. Because I am passionate about it, I am always looking for ways to make it better. Because I could be passionate about my job making minimum wage, 6 months after starting I was offered the job of managing the restaurant...for more than minimum wage. I still cook and can do what I love. I have remained passionate about my work because it is what I love.

Last month I was offered the position of Executive Chef for the organization that owns the restaurant I work for. Because of my passion. Because I am doing what I love.

There will always be those who have always wished they had done something different with their life, but convinced themselves, for what ever reason, that they couldn't. They will give you the litany of reasons you can't or shouldn't follow your heart. ..misery loves company, and all that. .

i am still not making what I would if I had stayed in the career I grew to hate, but my blood pressure has been on the lower side of normal, down from nearing need for high pressure medication before I left my other job. .I haven't hated a day since I started. .

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Response to El_Johns (Original post)

Wed Jan 15, 2014, 07:43 AM

3. Work is what you do when you'd rather be doing something else. nt

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Response to El_Johns (Original post)

Wed Jan 15, 2014, 07:52 AM

4. Excellent article that is sure to inspire thought...

 

I am FORUNATE in that I too get paid for doing what I love. And while this does not make every day a joyous festival of candyfloss and giggles, it does make the hard days seem more worth it. My good fortune has never caused me to undervalue the sacrifices of others, or to ever say that I shouldn't be paid for what I or others do. Someone gets paid for doing everything after all, so if someone is getting paid for this thing why not me?

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Response to El_Johns (Original post)

Wed Jan 15, 2014, 04:17 PM

5. How nice that so many are able to do what they love a/o love what they do.

 

Yes, no doubt it's all about mindset; if you have the right mindset, things will inevitably work out.

(Ha-ha)

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Response to El_Johns (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 15, 2014, 04:21 PM

6. Is that North Korea?...

I know it's not Baltimore.

Sid

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