America is in the midst of what some are calling the “Great Resignation” or the “Big Quit,” where large numbers of workers are voluntarily leaving their jobs. But why do people leave? And what are they looking for? Where are they going? While some workers are leaning in, staying because they enjoy their work, others are being led away to pursue their passion.
Be. Do. Love: Career Stories Inspired by Love is a new initiative by Love Now Media promoted in partnership with WHYY, Billy Penn, and PhillyCam, and with support from Resolve Philly. The effort invites professionals — journalists, writers, artists, entrepreneurs, social workers, community organizers, social workers, and others — to share what is at the heart of the work that they do. The goal of Be. Do. Love. is to expand the conversation of what millions of American workers are dealing with during this time.
Jos Duncan Asé is Chief Storyteller for Love Now Media, the organization documenting and curating the stories. Asé sat down with WHYY host Cherri Gregg to discuss Be Do. Love. and the effort to draw in community stories.
Note: This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Jos, welcome. How you doing?
Jos Duncan Asé: I’m great, Cherri. Thank you so much for having me.
I really love this initiative. Tell us the intention behind it.
JDA: Be. Do. Love. So we were talking to a number of folks in the Philadelphia area, and we realized that there were these human beings who were leading with what they did, and we realized that people weren’t talking to each other about who they were. And so we started to document these love stories, and we realized that there were these connections between people’s love, how they learned to love, their paths toward love, and what they did in their careers. So we created this series, Be. Do. Love where we heard from people about who they were, the communities they came from, their families, how they learned to love, and how that has ultimately inspired their career journeys. And right now, as people are quitting their jobs and figuring out, how do they reconnect with what they love, we thought it would be great to just engage our community with these stories, and to also invite other stories, so that people who are on their journey, either in their current careers or who are switching careers might gain some inspiration.
I have several family members who actually quit their jobs, they said, “You know what? This is not what I really wanted to do with my life.” Talk about this side of the “Great Resignation” because people want something better.
JDA: I think during the pandemic, all of us realized there was so much more value to our lives. A lot of us were in these patterns of going to work every day, trying to perform and over-perform to, you know, get a raise or get a promotion. And we have forgotten about who we were. And so being able to talk with people to just have them think about, “What led you here? What is it that you actually value in life? How might you take that into a career with you?” That’s what we’ve been looking to do through this series.
Yeah. And so you’re looking for folks.
JDA: Yes. Yes, we have an open call for love stories so people can engage with this series in a few ways they can watch some of the stories. We have a great YouTube channel. Love Now Media’s YouTube channel has about 12 stories up, and then people can submit their own love stories, or they can just engage with us on social media. We have a ton of questions about love and work that we’ve been pushing out just to get people inspired and thinking about, “What is it that I actually value in my workplace? What do I take into my work relationships? What are the limits and boundaries that I’ve set about having feelings at work?” We’ve gotten some feedback. Some people are a little bit afraid of this project because they’re like, “Wait a minute. If I talk about love and family at work, you know, I’ll be unprofessional.” And it’s like, you know, actually, we’re entering this, I think, new paradigm where that’s what’s going to be required for people to sustain at work. They have to be whole human beings.
Yeah, because during the pandemic, work was at home and you really started realizing and asking yourself whether or not your job fit with your life.
JDA: That’s exactly it. And you started to think about the people you cared about. I mean, you know, we lost a lot of people. I personally lost family members and I saw a lot of suffering. We also lived in a state of fear. And so work becomes secondary so I can see why people have made this decision to quit and soul search and maybe find careers that were either more well-suited for them or to find workplaces that created more space for the human to exist at work.
You are a storyteller by trade, an artist, a filmmaker. And Love Now Media was born from love, right?
JDA: Yes, it was. It absolutely was. And we focus on social justice, wellness, and equity under the umbrella of love. Focusing on careers, it kind of intersects with all of those things. This project is really perfectly aligned with all of that. But we always start with love: asking questions about love, asking questions about the human experience, and then making those connections to very relevant and timely issues. I hope that more people will check it out and submit some love stories. We’re going to do an event in February because it really is a new chapter that we’re all creating together. And I think if we all really focus on how we want to exist in alignment with our work and how we want our livelihoods to be, if we are intentional about that, then I think we’ll create a better next chapter.
Absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for being here.
JDA: Thank you for having me and thank you for being part of this series.