The WGA strike is a result of workers feeling exploited for loving what they do

We are sometimes advised to “observe our ardour,” an concept that has captured the minds of younger folks, notably within the final 20 years. In pursuing their ardour, staff are sometimes prepared to go above and past, dedicating extra time, power and like to their craft.

Inventive industries like screenwriting are notably more likely to entice passionate staff, generally anticipating staff to work lengthy hours in alternate for the power to pursue work that satisfies them creatively and intellectually.

Throughout the present Writers Guild of America strike, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav instructed that the strike would finish quickly as a result of writers have a love for working. In any case, shouldn’t work be its personal reward for screenwriters who’re enthusiastic about their work?

However this sentiment is insensitive to the struggles many screenwriters expertise — certainly, research after research signifies that passionate staff are sometimes extra more likely to be exploited by others. We’re apt to be extra tolerant of poor working situations in these professions as a result of we view working for a ardour as a luxurious.

In flip, fields with probably the most passionate staff, akin to artistic industries, healthcare, schooling, and nonprofit organizations, are additionally notably liable to having staff burn out as a result of they care deeply about their work however battle with the difficult situations that accompany it. Opposite to the favored perception that “for those who do what you like, you by no means work one other day,” it will also be an emotional curler coaster, with excessive highs, and low lows.

It’s not simply that keenness is an insufficient substitute for poor compensation and lengthy hours, with many writers battling monetary instability. However poor working situations may very well impede the potential of passion-driven staff to do higher on the job. As the author Gabriel Sherman notes, “writers want steady revenue to focus their power on artistic work.” As a result of investing a lot of oneself right into a craft with unsure outcomes might be painful, this type of work requires extra consideration and extra assist, not much less.

We must always need passionate staff within the writers’ room and elsewhere not as a result of they are often extra simply exploited, however as a result of their love of the craft is an important supply of precious contributions. However when working situations are poor, that is much less more likely to occur.

This disconnect between staff and employers is prevalent in different professions that entice people who find themselves pushed by a love for his or her work. In New York, nurses went on strike to name consideration to staffing shortages and burnout, and in Scotland, college staff went on strike in a long-running pay dispute.

After all, insufficient pay and dangerous workplaces are widespread in each business, notably for low-wage staff. However one distinction in passion-driven industries is that staff worry that demanding higher remedy makes them seen as much less dedicated to their craft. In any case, they’re usually advised how lucky they’re to have the ability to do what they love.

However love for the job shouldn’t be used towards staff as an alternative choice to compensation — as if there have been some form of “ardour” tax imposed on staff. It shouldn’t be considered as a motive to tolerate dangerous working situations, however as a present that may take work to the following stage. This stress might lie on the coronary heart of the WGA strike, and is unlikely to be resolved till the business acknowledges the true worth of ardour and what staff want.

Jon M. Jachimowicz is an assistant professor on the Harvard Enterprise Faculty. @jonj. Kai Krautter is a analysis affiliate on the Harvard Enterprise Faculty. @kkrttr