Bullsh*t jobs

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,945
I think he may have a point though, there are jobs that are bs. Cultural diversity officer for $70k etc.

What did people do before HR? The Hanseatic League seems to have operated without it.

I'd say HR has some purely mandatory functions (such as producing pay slips and other "necessary" documents, finding candidates and generally running the hiring process)...

And then there are questionnable tasks such as : complicated evaluation processes which essentially force everyone to lose many hours of productive time (and then just when you get the hang of it, they come out with a completely different evaluation process as it turns out the previous one was not good enough - translation: was useless... i.e everyone wasted many hours for nothing and the company lost millions of $ while its employees did useless stuff.... so instead of cutting losses , thanks to HR, the company will now introduce an even more complicated process that will waste even more hours), all kinds of propaganda both internal and external, lectures on diversity etc.... And then when someone leaves the company they act surprised and need to conduct an exit interview to understand why he is leaving (of course we all know that most people lie during the exit interview so its anoter rather pointless excercise)
 

Earl_of_Rochester

Ad Honoris
Feb 2011
13,609
Perambulating in St James' Park
It makes me wonder whether it affects the people mentally too. I used to work in London for a major credit card company and my job was typing pointless rubbish into spreadsheets. The money was great but I was stuck in an open plan office all day and I felt I wasn't accomplishing anything, all the beauty and awe of human existence had been de-humanised. If I had been hit by a bus then my whole existence would have been pointless, I was a consumer, not a producer. The Russians have a rather apt term called 'useless mouths' and I felt like one of those people, that's why I loathe paperwork and working in offices.

I made a rather tasteful thread a while ago entitled 'if you had to fill a mass grave' or something similar. It's interesting to consider how many people you could kill off before society actually started suffering.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,241
Sydney
taking a stroll down the city streets , wondering at the thousands of office widows lights in hundreds of buildings
wondering what were all those people doing !

it reminded me of battery hen in intensive poultry farming
the total sum of their travails would be obsolete in a few decades at most ,
it seemed to me like the hallmark of a civilization reaching for the ultimate futility of existence
Egyptians build pretty useless pyramids to spend their excess labor
the middle age had cathedrals , absolutely gorgeous but a display of futility
Now our advanced civilization create blazing lights in the nights
 

fascinating

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,405
The title is the title of a book... and it has to do with history since this book (and the essay that preceeded it) generated a viral response....

Whether the author is right or wrong, its a valid topic to look at human activities and understand which of them actually add value and which are questionable. Anyone who has worked in a large corporation (or a governmental structure) has been exposed to useless activities and strange people doing strange things with unclear value
So it needs a video of a bull defecating does it?
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,945
It makes me wonder whether it affects the people mentally too. I used to work in London for a major credit card company and my job was typing pointless rubbish into spreadsheets. The money was great but I was stuck in an open plan office all day and I felt I wasn't accomplishing anything, all the beauty and awe of human existence had been de-humanised. If I had been hit by a bus then my whole existence would have been pointless, I was a consumer, not a producer. The Russians have a rather apt term called 'useless mouths' and I felt like one of those people, that's why I loathe paperwork and working in offices.

I made a rather tasteful thread a while ago entitled 'if you had to fill a mass grave' or something similar. It's interesting to consider how many people you could kill off before society actually started suffering.
Open plan offices are another scourge in my (and not only my) opinion

9 Disadvantages of an Open Office, According to Numerous Studies

As a counter argument to your point ,one might say that you work "only" 40 hours per week, leaving you with 128 hours to do as you wish... thanks to the money you earn in those 40 hours
 

Earl_of_Rochester

Ad Honoris
Feb 2011
13,609
Perambulating in St James' Park
Open plan offices are another scourge in my (and not only my) opinion

9 Disadvantages of an Open Office, According to Numerous Studies

As a counter argument to your point ,one might say that you work "only" 40 hours per week, leaving you with 128 hours to do as you wish... thanks to the money you earn in those 40 hours
This is true, however, I no longer work there as i saw it for what it as and now I have a job where I try to help and improve the condition of mankind.

You also raise an interesting point as there's a fair few people who are so unbelievably fortunate that they have enough money to spend all their time at leisure and do whatever they want. Personally I'd want to commit my time to study, or produce something meaningful. Instead a lot of those fortunate people tend to squander their time in golf clubs and living silly and superficial lives. I guess it's up to them and one shouldn't judge, but I can't help but think of the wasted opportunity.
 

Fox

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
3,937
Korea
I don't know, I don't want to find out. Why would I take employment advice from a socialist-anarchist?
I'm not sure his theory of "bullshit jobs" is advice so much as it's an anthropologist attempting to document the society around him. Actually, if anthropology is to be a "useful" discipline, focusing first and foremost on one's own society or major adjacent societies seems more profitable than fixating on tiny tribal groups at the fringe of civilization. Given that, although one should obviously be aware of and take into account his ideological predispositions, it seems like he might have something worth saying.
What do you think about David Graeber's views as expressed in the below book ?

(in summary over 30% of jobs are BS jobs that contribute nothing to the world at large)

Is your job a BS job ? did you have one in the past ?

https://www.amazon.com/Bullshit-Jobs-Theory-David-Graeber/dp/150114331X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=bullshit+jobs&qid=1551431208&s=gateway&sr=8-1
I have not read this book itself, but rather, only read a summary of its points and an article discussing it. Given that, what I have to say on it might be addressed in the text of his book, or in another article or interview which I have not seen. That said, I think he has something of a point, albeit a point skewed by his ideological leanings, as aggienation and others suggested. It seems to me that very few genuine, through-and-through "bullshit jobs" exist; even jobs which the employee themself might find lacking in value do not necessarily lack in value to others. For example, the author might see a receptionist as a "bullshit" job whose only function is to make their manager feel powerful, but even if that's true (and it's probably not), that's still a function for which the manager is essentially paying them, which is not fundamentally different than paying for any other service. Rather, it seems to me to make more sense to me to speak of jobs having a certain "bullshit quotient" in that, while the job itself and at least some of the time on the job is genuinely spent producing ostensible value for someone or towards some end, at least some of the time spent on the job is spent on something of no value on a systematic long-term basis. Here in Korea, for example, it is still common workplace culture (and was once virtually universal) to stay at the office until your supervisor or superior leaves for the evening, whether you had work to do or not. It would not be unreasonable, from my perspective, to consider time lost to such blatant and obviously non-productive ends a kind of "bullshit," the amount of which varied from position to position. Likewise, at least some jobs involve a predictable workload which will systematically fail to fill their full working day, meaning that in principle, there is no reason that they could not work a shorter day at a more focused pace, producing the same value for the same pay. If they are not allowed to do this absent a sound reason other than, "That's just how it is," then it does not seem unreasonable to credit that mandatory downtime as a sort of "bullshit" either. Some jobs might have a very high "bullshit quotient" if viewed from this perspective, while others will have a very low one. Almost none, though, will be likely to be "pure bullshit," excepting perhaps sinecures or honorary positions which are really "bullshit" by design.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,830
Would I take culinary advice from a Swede? Hell no, Surströmming doesn't sound very appealing.
Well, it is very clever. And historically one of the things the Swedes and the Japanese share. The ur-sushi was based on the same principle.

Still you might go for it, if the creature comforts of modern refrigeration (also a Swedish invention) go tits up an we have to resort to pre-technological conservation methods in order to eat in situations with a scarcity of fresh food.
 
Jan 2019
130
USA
Well one could make for example the following argument:

we (as a society) make ever more complex tax rules to the point where it is almost impossible to be compliant.... and then we have armies of tax advisors whose work is essentially to make corporations and people pay as little taxes as possible.....

so both those who devise such complex rules and those who help evade them can be said to have BS jobs that really add no value to our society... Perhaps simpler rules eliminating the need for tax advisors would be a better way...
I don't completely follow. You're saying because some of the functions of a CPA are designed to help people understand complex tax laws, they're B.S.?

I'm not astute on the complexities of tax laws, nor do I really want to be. I understand some taxes are necessity to allow our country to operate to a certain degree. Which is why I would think the example above doesn't constitute a B.S. job.Their job isn't to help people evade tax laws, it's to help people pay their taxes as accurately as possible.

In regards to those who generate the tax laws having B.S. jobs, still not completely there either. Where as I think the US Congress isn't exactly a fine tuned machine, it is a requirement for a functioning government in the US today. As a result, I don't really find that to be a B.S. job either.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,616
Dispargum
As other people have said, the definition of a *** job is highly dependent on one's ideology. Some of my *** jobs:

The fashion industry is based on the assumption that one becomes a different or better person just by changing clothes. I see no difference between racism and fashion. Why is it wrong to judge someone by the color of their skin but perfectly OK to judge someone by the clothes they wear? Both are superficial bases for evaluating a person's worth. Character is a far superior basis.

Most of the financial sector does not create new wealth - it just moves existing wealth around. Venture capital does create jobs and bring new products and services to the market, but most money on Wall Street is not in venture capital. Most buying and selling of stocks and bonds is just transferring money from buyers to sellers, especially those investors who only hold stocks for a short period. The stock market tends to encourage short term goals at the expense of long term goals. (I readily admit I do it myself. I'm heavily invested in the market.)

Personal injury law does not create new wealth - it just transfers money from those who have it to those who can convince a court they've been injured.

Gambling, whether by casinos, horse and dog tracks, lotteries, etc, provides a minimum of entertainment value but mostly just transfers wealth from those who earn it to those who are lucky. There are other entertainment options.

The tax preparation industry is based on the assumption that people only get married, have children, buy a home, save for college or retirement, give to charity, etc only because there are tax incentives to do so. We could do away with the tax preparation industry just by having a tax code free of deductions, exemptions, credits, etc. How much money did you make last year? - This is how much tax you should have paid. No arguments over 'But I should pay less than other people because my behavior conforms with society's expectations.' You may or may not be a conformist but not because of the tax code.

Jobs that create more problems than they solve, perhaps by making dangerous products like tobacco. Opioids are another one - a great short term solution to the problem of pain, but no one planned on long term opioid addiction. There are other solutions to pain management even if they are more expensive in the short term they are probably cheaper in the long term.

Anyone who works in sales, advertising, or marketing - if your job is to convince people to buy something they don't want or need, then you have a *** job.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Earl_of_Rochester