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
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).