I really enjoyed the article in Jacobin Magazine on the hidden (and harmful) assumption of the exhortation to Do What You Love, and I’ve expanded a little on their analysis for AmCon. You also may get a sense of one way I was ill-suited to San Francisco culture (aside from not enjoying being relaxed). Here’s a teaser from my essay: “Don’t Love Your Job. Love People”
Instead of going out into the world and building the rest of their lives, employees are encouraged to find a way to adapt their job in order to meet the rest of their needs. Bosses ask, “What would it take to make you want to stay later and keep working on this?”These high status jobs start to look like a bizarre update on the company towns of the coal industry. Up and down the hills of coal country, employees used to be paid not in dollars but in company scrip, which was redeemable for goods at the company-run store.
Today’s tech companies sometimes operate according to a similar model. The emotional or social goods that you can’t buy at the luxurious company canteen aren’t worth having—and aren’t purchasable anyway, with the meager time left over after your 60-hour week plus company bus commute.
This is at least a kissing cousin to the hobbyhorse I was riding when I wrote “The Sad, Secular Monks” for First Things. I hope they pair well with each other.