[on dwyl]

I saw this article on Facebook earlier today. I could not agree with the sentiments any more. The article discusses the harmful effects of the promotion of the idea that the only work worth doing is work that you love, in other words the Do What You Love (DWYL) mentality so prevalent today. Here's a little excerpt: 
"No one is arguing that enjoyable work should be less so. But emotionally satisfying work is still work, and acknowledging it as such doesn’t undermine it in any way. Refusing to acknowledge it, on the other hand, opens the door to exploitation and harms all workers. 
Ironically, DWYL reinforces exploitation even within the so-called lovable professions, where off-the-clock, underpaid, or unpaid labor is the new norm: reporters required to do the work of their laid-off photographers, publicists expected to pin and tweet on weekends, the 46 percent of the workforce expected to check their work email on sick days. Nothing makes exploitation go down easier than convincing workers that they are doing what they love. 
...It should be no surprise that unpaid interns abound in fields that are highly socially desirable, including fashion, media, and the arts. These industries have long been accustomed to masses of employees willing to work for social currency instead of actual wages, all in the name of love. Excluded from these opportunities, of course, is the overwhelming majority of the population: those who need to work for wages. This exclusion not only calcifies economic and professional immobility, but it also insulates these industries from the full diversity of voices society has to offer."
Quote taken from "In the Name of Love", written by Miya Tokumitsu.
I'm in a job right now that has very little to do with what I love. Never in my life would I have actively chosen to work auditing invoices in an insurance company. It's repetitive and not terribly thrilling.
But contrary to popular opinion, that job still has just as much worth as one that I "love". My reality is that I have to work, I have to earn money. I have loans to pay (LOTS of them). I want to move on, to be on secure footing. Refusing to earn a living until I can find the ideal job that pays me to be a tourist (cause that would be my ideal) is simply not realistic for me or for the vast majority of Americans without the benefits of wealthy parents that can foot the bill until they find that dream job. Because let's be honest, that's how a lot of people manage to work those "dream" jobs. 
It's not pessimism to say that DWYL is not realistic and is not an ideal to strive for. Why should we idealize this very narrow, nearly unachievable notion? There's nothing optimistic in making the only thing worth doing something that isn't really achievable and that devalues everyone but a very elite few. That's actually quite cruel and exclusionary.
The truth is, there's still happiness and worth to be found in working a non-DWYL type job. The janitors at my building should not be patted on the head and told that we're so sorry but you're not contributing because your job isn't a DWYL one. They're people too and their work is just as meaningful, because earning a wage to support yourself or your family is a good thing. It's not a negative thing. Working for money is not something to be snubbed or looked at as materialistic. It's why I work. I work to earn a living. I work so that I can do what I love to do. There's nothing lovely about working for way less than I am worth just because the job description fits into some romantic ideal of what a job should be. 
Instead of idealizing this idealist notion, let's strive for finding joy in our lives regardless of what job we have. Let's strive for better working conditions for every worker, regardless of whether they love their job or not. Let's strive to treat every worker as doing valid, meaningful work. Would you want to do your dream job in an office with a dirty bathroom or whose kitchens weren't restocked and whose trash cans overflowed? Would you want to work in an office without a security guard to monitor the building and make sure you make it across a dark parking lot safe? No, you wouldn't. So let's stop degrading the people who do this jobs just because we don't think that they're jobs are "loveable". Let's stop degrading the millions of cubicle-workers that do less than exciting work every day: without their work the companies that provide us with essential services (like insurance) wouldn't run. Let's fix what's broken about the jobs that people already have: the low pay, the long hours, the bad conditions. Let's not sweep that under the rug in our shameless pursuit of an elitist notion of what work should be. Let's widen our focus when it comes to work to include every worker as doing a valid job. Let's acknowledge that other people's life circumstances are different from the narrowly idealistic one that allows someone to follow a DWYL career path.

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