Bullsh*t Jobs: A Theory

An archeologist, David Graeber talks about his book Bullshit Jobs. He starts of by saying 30% of people (in UK) self claims that they do nothing at their jobs. Then he makes a survey of the stories of people who thinks their job is bullshit, and makes an analysis: 5 different types of bullshit jobs.

  1. flunkies, who serve to make their superiors feel important, e.g., receptionists, administrative assistants, door attendants
  2. goons, who act aggressively on behalf of their employers, e.g., lobbyists, corporate lawyers, telemarketers, public relations specialists
  3. duct tapers, who ameliorate preventable problems, e.g., programmers repairing shoddy code, airline desk staff who calm passengers whose bags don’t arrive
  4. box tickers, who use paperwork or gestures as a proxy for action, e.g., performance managers, in-house magazine journalists, leisure coordinators
  5. taskmasters, who manage—or create extra work for—those who don’t need it, e.g., middle management, leadership professionals
    (from wikipedia)

He points out that when companies reduce the number of employees, they often fire people who are actually doing the jobs (i.e. deliverers of shipping company, factory workers at a line) and the managements who are not doing the job remains. He criticizes that much needed care taking jobs are not compensated enough economically and we should shift to make importance on these jobs instead of management jobs.