What are some utterly useless professions

Bullshit Jobs: Are You Wasting Your Time?

There are jobs that are fun, but are poorly paid. And then there are those who are no fun, but are well paid. Others lack any meaning and are also poorly or well paid anyway. What strain would you like the Bullshit jobs classify? Confusing? The American cultural scientist David Graeber suggested some time ago that up to 37 percent of all jobs are superfluous. A steep thesis - the question arises why these jobs then exist and why people do them. What jobs are these ...

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Bullshit jobs: when the job is pointless

Work has one in our society high priority. This can already be seen in how quickly the unemployed are stigmatized and marginalized.

But not every work is rated equally highly. There is heavy, physical work that not everyone wants to do - for example with garbage collection, sewer cleaning - but undoubtedly recognized as useful becomes. Some people like to classify such jobs as “shitty jobs”, but not David Graeber.

Bullshit jobs, by its definition, are pointless jobs. Unnecessary jobs. His observation: Such jobs that socially meaningful are increasingly dying out. Fall victim to automation, computerization and rationalization. Interestingly, that doesn't necessarily lead to higher unemployment.

Because these formerly meaningful jobs are being filled with bullshit jobs. The working people have tasks to perform that they consider entirely themselves feel unnecessary and superfluous.

Despite the progress, the 40-hour week

The great British economist John Maynard Keynes had prophesied in the first half of the 20th century that people would only work 15 hours a week in the future. Technological progress would make it superfluous from now on for people to struggle; instead, machines would take over a large part of the work.

The rest of the work could be distributed among many employees, so that in the end there is more free time for everyone. However, this vision never worked. On the contrary; most workers now work in one 40-hour week, and computer work is more likely to result in overtime.

Many jobs right now in the Management, church, sales or service sector are among those who have no great general benefit, but are sometimes even doubted by those who exercise them. The fact that this is not just a mere assertion by Graeber is supported by the great response.

When this thesis was first published, went Graeber's essay went viral and has been translated into countless languages. This was followed by a book in which he devotes himself in detail to the bullshit jobs.

Different categories of bullshit jobs

Graeber evaluates 250 case studies for his book of the same name, which will appear in German in August 2018. On the basis of countless letters on Twitter, he categorizes the bullshit jobs as five varieties:

  • Flunkies

    This term can best be translated as "Lakai". What is meant are compliant, diligent employees whose only task is to document the status of others through their existence as courteously as possible. An example of this are porters, receptionists or staff whose only job is to press the elevator button for visitors to a building.

  • Goons

    As GoonsGraeber describes the owner of bullshit jobs that require a certain amount of aggressiveness. The key here is that these jobs are only created because others have created these positions beforehand. Graeber cites armies as an example. His point: if nobody had an army, none would be needed. He observes something similar with telemarketers, lobbyists, PR people and company lawyers.

  • Duct Tapers

    Who as Duct taper works is primarily busy cobbling something together. These people deal with solving problems that shouldn't actually exist. Graeber gives the example of an employee who had to correct the texts of a technical expert who apparently had no idea about grammar or statistics.

  • Box tickers

    In German, for example, “box crossers” have the task of documenting the activities of a company in order to legitimize it. This type of bullshit job can be found particularly often in municipal administrations who submit their monthly figures. Graeber observes the same thing in the private sector with companies that afford their own employee magazines or even television channels: Originally, they were intended to keep employees up to date. De facto, however, they are more for superiors who like to see themselves in the media.

  • Taskmasters

    Graeber divides these “task distributors” into two groups: The ones who only delegate tasks to others and are basically aware that the employees would also carry out these tasks in this way. The other group is, in his opinion, the more harmful, because it even invents nonsensical tasks in order to then delegate them. Above all, this included strategic models and performance reviews that teachers and academics would have to grapple with in order to justify their work instead of actually being able to pursue it.

Reasons for the existence of pointless jobs

In an age where performance and efficiency are said to play such a big role, why are there so many nonsensical jobs?

  • consumption

    One thesis is that we contribute to this through our consumer behavior. We want to consume more products, have the latest iPhone, constantly new clothes and various pleasures. If this thesis were correct, all industries that have emerged since the thesis would have to focus on the manufacture of exactly these products - which is not the case. And one more counter-argument: the number of workers has continuously decreased since then, while the number of managers has increased. A comparison of the employment relationships of the last 100 years shows that even in a global comparison there are significantly fewer workers compared to a number of experts, managers, clerks, sales and service employees that has tripled today.

  • legitimation

    The sense of work itself is not called into question. Regardless of the system, whether in the planned economy of formerly socialist states such as the GDR or the Soviet Union or in the capitalism of the western industrial nations: work is seen as meaningful. That is why the term is so morally charged and that is why there are still people who sacrifice themselves for it (Karoshi).

  • loyalty

    From an economic point of view, bullshit jobs don't make sense, Graeber notes. His explanation for bullshit jobs: Employees try to put themselves on a par with the rich and powerful in the world. These in turn pay their loyalty. Because the noticeable thing about many bullshit jobs is that they are paid comparatively well. In contrast to those who can be shown to do a service to humanity, such as nurses, managers are paid significantly better.

Senseless work has consequences

The problem with such bullshit jobs is that they cause lasting damage. Because very few employees are lazy. And by no means the majority just go to work for his own sake Pay bills. The best example here is the much-cited Generation Y, who would like to give their life and work meaning.

Instead, many people have become one of a kind Presentism forced: You are present to pursue an apparently important task, which you could just as easily have done in significantly less time. The rest of the day is kind of killed.

Who says: My job is pointless, also runs the risk of being over it getting depressed. The Swiss authors Philippe Rothlin and Peter Werder call this Boreout analogous to Burnout.

Similar to burnout People stuck in the bullshit job can suffer from symptoms such as listlessness, stomach problems, irritability, depression, insomnia, dizziness, headaches and back pain.

The reason for this could be that Stress and overwork are downright socially acceptable at work - so if you don't have one, you get one.

Ways out of senselessness

As comprehensible as many of the arguments are, the question still arises of who defines what is useful and what is not. Graeber gives a number of examples of people who talk about their bullshit jobs. Anyone who feels their own work is nonsensical is not forced to pursue her.

A job change at the age of 30, 40 or 50 is possible. The prerequisite for this is that you deal with your wishes and skills and, if necessary, break new ground through retraining or advanced training.

But that's of course the crux of the matter: Some of these jobs - such as corporate lawyers or management consultants - are real well paid. And such a suburban villa has to be paid for somehow. So anyone who thinks that a fulfilling job is only one that serves the community in some way has a problem.

This dilemma is a luxury problem and can be solved comparatively easily. Those who do not want to quit their job, for example because of certain dependencies (rent, family, standard of living), can still get through their lives voluntary work give more meaning.

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