Do what you love, love what you do: An omnipresent mantra that’s bad for work and workers. How do you value life essay What You Love, Love What You Do.
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2 10 10 0 0 0-6. Innovation, the Internet, gadgets, and more. But it devalues work and hurts workers. The DWYL-inspired apartment of designer Jessica Walsh. 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. 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? And who is the audience for this dictum? DWYL is a 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 is an act of love. If profit doesn’t happen to follow, presumably 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 usually have numerous origins and reincarnations, but the nature of DWYL confounds precise attribution.
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 the notion in their repertoires for decades. The most important recent evangelist of DWYL, however, was the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. 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. This focus on the individual isn’t surprising coming from Jobs, who cultivated a very specific image of himself as a worker: inspired, casual, passionate—all states agreeable with ideal romantic love.