Bullshit Jobs 2/2

1/ What is a Bullshit Job?

  • 1/ A bullshit job is the one primarily or entirely made up of tasks that the person doing the job considers to be pointless, unnecessary or even harmful. —> If these jobs disappear, the world won’t notice.

  • The pointless work in the private sector is likely to be far more supervised than in the public sector.

  • Many service workers [store clerks, restaurant workers, etc.] hate their jobs, but even those who do are aware of the meaningful impact of said jobs. But it can’t be said about office workers.

  • 2/ “A bullshit job is a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence even though, as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case.” (quote)

  • Usually if an employee thinks they don’t contribute to the goals of the organization, they’re correct. [Unless there’s a policy of secrecy in the company.]

  • The higher up the rank you go, the less trust there usually is, so the higher-ups may not be aware of what really their subordinates are doing.

  • Shit jobs tend to be blue-collar and pay by the hour, while bullshit jobs tend to be white collar and salaried.

  • In shareholder capitalism the push for corporations to downsize invariably pushes out the lower-level employees with meaningful work tasks and the load gets redistributed between the survivors.

  • Men are far more likely to believe their jobs are bullshit (42%) than women (32%).

  • Universities: as time goes by, higher and higher % of professor’s job is unnecessary admin (same for schoolteachers).

  • Middle-class workers are already doing less than 50% of meaningful work, and this number is still dropping. And that’s even ignoring normal jobs supporting bullshit activities.

2/ What Sort of Bullshit Jobs Are There?

  • Flunky jobs existing solely to make someone look or feel important. Stand around and look impressive. Guards are popular in economies based on rent extraction and the redistribution of the loot. Giving people minor tasks as an excuse to have then hang around making one look impressive. Ex: doormen / concierges / lift operators. Receptionists: if one’s absent – this poses a question about the seriousness of the firm itself.

  • Secretaries / assistants may end up doing the majority of their bosses’ work themselves.

  • Managers have a perverse incentive to hire more people reporting to them to improve their perceived position in the corporate hierarchy. First hire – then figure out what to do with them.

  • Armies. [MK: here’s when the author’s anarchism shows itself.] They only exist because other countries also have armies. [MK: this is not true, either, because the National Guard or its equivalents in other countries exist to protect the country from threats within.]

  • Also, jobs that are manipulative and aggressive. This includes adverts for things people never thought they needed (especially when it comes to personal care and makeup when they’re advertised with unrealistic claims). Also, cold callers selling unneeded stuff.

Sorry, that’s been 16% of the book already, and I’m struggling getting signal out of the noise. I guess finishing reading it will truly be a bullshit job.