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(Not) Getting Paid to Do What You LoveGender, Social Media, and Aspirational Work$
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Brooke Erin Duffy

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300218176

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300218176.001.0001

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Entrepreneurial Wishes and Career Dreams

Entrepreneurial Wishes and Career Dreams

(p.1) 1 Entrepreneurial Wishes and Career Dreams
(Not) Getting Paid to Do What You Love

Brooke Erin Duffy

Yale University Press

This chapter describes the phenomenon of “aspirational labor”—a mode of (mostly) uncompensated, independent work that is propelled by the much-venerated ideal of getting paid to do what you love. As both a practice and a worker ideology, aspirational labor shifts content creators' focus from the present to the future, dangling the prospect of a career where labor and leisure coexist. Indeed, aspirational laborers expect that they will one day be compensated for their productivity—be it through material rewards or social capital. But in the meantime, they remain suspended in the consumption and promotion of branded commodities. Discourses of “paying off” in such instances are central to the motivations of aspirational laborers; they expect that their investments of time, energy, and capital will yield a fulfilling, and perhaps lucrative, career.

Keywords:   aspirational labor, paying off, entrepreneurialism, aspirational laborers, branded commodities, career-seekers, self-promotion, social media

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