Teen Vogue fails in ‘educating’ young readers on the working world

July 20, 2022

By Tim Worstall

Teen Vogue is setting up its young readers for a terrible disappointment when they enter the working world, as it indicates that work should be what we find fun and interesting to do.

This isn’t the point at all – there is a reason why bosses have to pay us to turn up to work. It’s not all that much fun all the time. That little difference between work and play?

But that’s not how Teen Vogue seems to be describing it:

This seemingly simple solution ignores just how many people are stuck in bad jobs because America’s lack of a social safety net means they need to work to meet their basic needs. Even as headlines about the so-called Great Resignation continue to swirl, countless people remain in jobs because they can’t quit (or are doing unpaid work).

Not really. There are many jobs that need doing that people don’t really want to do. This is why the bosses have to pay us – bribe us with real cold hard cash – to come and do them. If every job were a delight that we’d happily do for nothing, then nothing is what we’d get paid for doing them too – like the majority of all actors who never make a dime. Because there are so many willing to do amateur drama shows simply because they love doing the drama bit. As with most musicians playing for the fun of it – because it is fun.

As to other countries, having those social security nets allows folks not to have to work. The basic payment for being unemployed in Britain is around $100 a week. Good luck with that. Of course, other countries are more generous, but in Denmark, for example, after two years, you get nothing. That’s nothing at all. Good luck on that, too.

There’s also a logical inconsistency in what Teen Vogue says, that people cannot not do paid work because there is no social safety net (which is not true, by the way) but also people cannot work because they’re doing unpaid work. Well, if it’s possible to survive doing unpaid work, then there must be a support system for people not doing paid work. Stands to reason that does.

Teen Vogue is a part of the Conde Nast empire and thus has the resources to do better than this. It gains some 5 million visits a month all the same. 

The real problem here is that Teen Vogue markets itself as “educating the influencers of tomorrow” Which is great, we think people should be educated. One part of which should, we think, be that work is one of those unfortunate necessities. Of course, we should all try to find something that produces the best trade-off of interest and money that we can, each and individually, gain. But the whole point of calling it “work” is that it’s something that we put up with in order to gain the income we desire. That is, after all, why they have to pay us to go do it.


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