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.
Yes, and that’s what makes pursuing what one loves such a ticklish business.
Kreuter ends his piece with a bit of snark:
I’m off to the bank, where I will tell my loan officer how important he is to me, how his attention to fiduciary detail changed my life for the better, opened my eyes to the beauty of the economic world around me, and where I will proceed to hug him approximately 900 times, which should about cover next month’s mortgage payment. You see, I’m on the “Stand and Deliver” payment plan, and my loan officer really loves his job.
He’s got a point: American society takes advantage of teachers who are doing what they love, and this needs to be fought. The profession is being reduced to the point where it will soon be seen as only something for dilettantes and for young people dabbling before getting on to “serious” careers. We who espouse the DWYL concept are, in part, responsible for this. Tokumitzu writes:
Instead of crafting a nation of self-fulfilled, happy workers, our DWYL era has seen the rise of the adjunct professor and the unpaid intern — people persuaded to work for cheap or free, or even for a net loss of wealth. This has certainly been the case for all those interns working for college credit or those who actually purchase ultra-desirable fashion-house internships at auction.
That doesn’t mean, though, that we shouldn’t also attempt to do what we love. We must always fight to ensure that doing what we love is financially sustainable.