“Work less to live better”: six antiproductivist advice from the philosopher Céline Marty

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Céline Marty est professeur agrégée de philosophie et doctorante en philosophie du travail sur l'oeuvre d'André Gorz. Elle est diplômée de Sciences Po et de l'université Paris Sorbonne en philosophie.

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Posted on Oct 13, 2021, 12:55 PM

The question of working less (in order to earn as much) has become less and less taboo, and less and less idealistic. Just last week Les Echos featured an article Is the four-day week the future of work? Beyond economic issues, the central place of work in our lives raises a number of questions: Why do we define ourselves by our jobs? Why do we strive to always be productive at work and in our free time? Where does the idea come from that we need a career that we are passionate about? …

“How work devours our life”

So many questions to which Céline Marty, associate of philosophy and popularizer on her YouTube channel “META”, answers without taboo in her book “Work less to live better” (Ed. Dunod, 182 pages, 2021) which appears Wednesday, October 13 in bookstores . A book committed to the crossroads of philosophy, sociology and history.

For at least a century and a half, the economy and public policies have been at the service of the labor market and its ideology, education has turned into vocational training, existence is dedicated to work and is defined globally by him, while he is always more precarious and difficult to access. Public opinion takes a dim view of all those who, for family, medical or existential reasons, would like to live differently ”, writes the author on page 24, in the first chapter entitled “how the work devoured our life”. The tone is set.

As you read, Céline Marty calls to take a step aside to understand why, for example “Not all jobs are created equal”, Why “All the work we consume is not legitimate” or for what reasons “All politics and pro-work discourse are not good to take”.

In the last of the five chapters, the philosopher offers radical solutions for “To emancipate oneself from productivism”. In agreement with the author Céline Marty, we have chosen seven tips (out of ten) for you to approach the question of work from a different perspective.

1. “It's not all work! “

“Let's stop using the concept all over the place. Let us keep it for the activities ordered, by an employment contract or by social norms, such as domestic work, to denounce its exploitation and demand the improvement of its working conditions. […] No need to use the famous ‘I have too much work' as an excuse: let's dare to say honestly that we have other things to do or even that we don't want to, just as legitimate reasons. ”

2. “Not everyone has to value work! “

“Let us free ourselves from our moral guilt for criticizing work: that does not make us a lazy parasite to throw at the stake while the apostles of work are the only saints. […] Let us dare to complain, about our working conditions, about the normative pressure exerted at work and on the job, to transform these complaints into an alternative society project. ”

3. “Not all extra-professional aspiration is bad! “

“Not dedicating your life to work doesn't make us a bad person. Let us allow other projects, without them becoming our work or serving our work.

We can like to play theater without wanting to animate the theater-speaking workshop of our company, to play football without wanting to organize a tournament. We don't need to ask work for moral permission to do anything other than it. ”

4. “Everything doesn't have to be useful! ”

“Our actions have value in themselves: it is not necessary to prove their economic or even social utility to legitimize them. Appreciate them for themselves and not for their effect on our work. […] Therefore, we do not have to ‘monetize' our free time and ‘feel guilty' for not having done anything. ”

5. “Our whole identity is not limited to the professional! “

“Let's learn to talk about something other than work, challenge ourselves to spend a whole evening without bringing it up, directing the conversation to our passions, projects, ideas, memories and dreams. ”

6. “Not all jobs are final! “

“If you realize that your job is a bullshit job, cause you a burnout or that you have other life projects, it is never too late to reorient yourself. This reorientation can be costly, both economically and psychologically and it would take collective means to facilitate it. “

For further

“Work less to live better”, published in October 2021 by Editions Dunod (182 pages, 17.90 Pounds) is Céline Marty's first work.

The philosophy associate also teaches on social networks, in particular on his YouTube channel META followed by more than 10,000 people.


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