The labor sector for a long time has had various slogans. Considerably, these slogans are meant to address certain issues in the employment sector. For instance, the slogan ‘Do What You Love’ (DWYL) is a concept that aims at making workers have a passion for whatever industry they are serving. Ideally, this summarizes the famous Leo Tolstoy thought about love and work. Work and love is a controversial issue because it tries to deviate from the normal aspects that motivate people to seek employment. Commonly, human beings choose employment depending on the working conditions and the remuneration and this Tolstoy proposed. In Tolstoy’s sentiments, he noted three elements of ‘love for work,’ ‘love the owner of the work’ and ‘know how to work’. Notably, this is a comprehensive approach to labor issues. However, with DWYL, it appears that the owners of the work are focused on emotional attachment; the slogan DWYL is a platform for exploitation.
The labor sector has competing interests. As a worker, the objective of getting employed is to get an opportunity to meet basic needs. On the other hand, employers want maximum returns from the business venture. Primarily, this appears to be a contest. However, it is important to note that these two sides need each other but the owners of the work are more powerful because they have factors of production. Considering that regardless of their resources, the employers still require labor, they seem to create slogans such as DWYL to convince the workforce. In this case, they want the workers to forget their interests and believe that they are in the employment sector because of passion for the work. Noticeably, this is an observation that Miya Tokumitsu highlights in her article In the Name of Love when she says “Refusing to acknowledge [that emotionally satisfying work is still work], on the other hand, opens the door to the most vicious exploitation and harms all workers” (par.24). In this case, Tokumitsu feels that a slogan such as DWYL is meant to make the laborers forget about their demands and believe that the important consideration is love for the work when this is a clandestine form of exploitation.
The DWYL slogan seems to have different impact among the workers and the employers. On the part of the owners of the work, it denotes maximum profits. However, for the workers, it refers to a situation where one is emotionally attached to work regardless of the benefits. In this case, the workers who subscribe to the tenets of DWYL appear not to look at the situation critically. Significantly, in the text Dumpster Diving, Lars Eighner emphasizes on the need to look at ‘love for work’ analytically. Eighner had a passion for dumpster diving since he did it even before being homeless. However, in the text, he says “Eating safely from the dumpsters involves three principles: using common sense for evaluating the food, knowing the dumpsters of the given areas and always ask, “Why was this discarded?” (Eighner 147). In this case, Eighner tries to invoke a situation where passion is augmented with critical thinking. Seemingly, this is one of the ways that the laborers will understand that slogans such as DWYL are meant to benefit the employers but hoodwink the employees.
Although many people argue that exploitation in the labor industry has been managed, some concepts such as ‘Work and Love’ are tools that are meant to benefit the employers. DWYL is an approach that suggests a situation where workers get committed because of passion and forget their interests. However, ‘work and love’ is not a wrong slogan but to reduce cases where one sides benefits from this arrangement, there is a need for critical thinking.
Eighner, Lars. “On dumpster diving.” The Threepenny Review 47 (1991): 146-158.
Tokumitsu, Miya. “In the name of love.” (2014).