The Biggest BS Tech Jobs on Earth
There are the obvious ones that girls that spent their school years just screwing football players and shopping for shoes and purses try to get, like: Yoga Instructors, Personal Trainers, Personal Shoppers, PR coordinators, and Facebook Staffers.
Increasing numbers of workers in rich countries — as many as 35 or 40 percent in some surveys — are secretly convinced their jobs are pointless. Either they are covertly watching YouTube videos all day or they see their work as having no social value: That is, if their job were to disappear tomorrow, it would make no real difference. As a result, most are deeply miserable. I call these “bulls–t jobs.” Over the last year or so, I’ve been asking people to send me accounts of their most useless occupations. Here are some of the jobs that came up most frequently:
1. Compliance workers.
Banking is riddled with bulls–t top to bottom. One banking efficiency expert told me he estimated about 80 percent of banking jobs could easily be eliminated, but everyone agreed the most idiotic sector was definitely “compliance.” (No. 2 was HR, and No. 3 middle management.) The banking sector keeps thousands of employees whose only job is to pretend each transaction is in accord with government regulations that the banks, in fact, systematically ignore. There is level after level here. Complains one: “It was not enough for the compliance office to submit bulls–t work, attested to by bulls–t third parties, to bulls–t quality-control people. We had to develop ways to measure this maelstrom of bulls–t. First, we had to pretend we did find a few bad transactions and tabulate them. Then they’d pass that to the ‘data scientists,’ whose job was to make pretty pictures out of the data. The bosses would then take these pretty pictures to their bosses, the top executives, which helped ease the awkwardness inherent in the fact that the executives had no idea what their subordinates were talking about or what their teams did.”
2. Student-paper writers.
Writing essays and term papers for college students is now a huge industry in the United States, with agencies employing thousands of paper writers. “While I have had the opportunity to write the rare, interesting essay, I’ve found that I’m largely writing countless papers about business and marketing,” wrote one. “After some consideration, this makes a lot of sense to me. It’s hard for me to imagine many folks are studying to get a BA in business administration because it’s their passion. So why not hire someone else to do the work? After all, isn’t that exactly what a business major is supposed to be learning how to do?” Still, “I can’t help but think it’s all an enormous waste of time that largely functions as a stepping stone to getting my clients bulls–t jobs of their own as administrative coordinators, strategic-marketing consultants and financial-services specialists.”
I don’t know if I’ve ever met a single call-center worker who didn’t both hate their job and felt everyone would be better off if no one had to do it. According to one typical account: “It was a job with no social value whatsoever. At least if you stack shelves at a supermarket, you’re doing something that benefits people. In call-center work, you’re making an active negative contribution to people’s day. I called people up to hock them useless s–t they didn’t need and if they asked, ‘Is this a sales call?’ I wasn’t allowed to tell them.” And ever wonder how those people in India feel, fobbing off innocent customers for some bank or utility? Here’s one: “I hated this sector so much and my life is entirely meaningless.”
4. Middle management.
Most middle managers feel they spend almost all their time on useless box-ticking rituals or pretending to supervise people who need no supervision. “I have a bulls–t job, and it happens to be in middle management,” wrote one. “Ten people work for me, but from what I can tell, they can all do the work without my oversight. My only function is to hand them work. (I will say that in a lot of cases the work that is assigned is a product of other managers with bulls–t jobs, which makes my job two levels of bulls–t).” No doubt some are doing useful work, but most middle managers secretly feel they might as well be digging holes and then filling them in again all day.
5. Corporate lawyers.
The most prestigious, high-paying corporate lawyers usually won’t admit it, but anyone else employed in the industry thinks all corporate-law offices could be sucked into a vortex with no ill effects. Many secretly wished this would happen. “I am a corporate lawyer (tax litigator to be specific),” wrote one. “I contribute nothing to this world and am utterly miserable all of the time.” Particularly indignant are the lower-ranking minions in large law firms or paralegals whose entire job is to adjust commas and do endless detailed grammatical reviews of documents no one will read or, alternately, know that their firm is being paid by the minute and are therefore encouraged by their superiors to be as inefficient as possible.
6. Movie executives.
Ever wonder why Hollywood movies are so bad? One reason is where once there were just writers, directors and producers; now there’s a dozen or more useless executives in between. None of them really have anything to do, but all of them feel they have to interfere with the script — and everything else — just to make some excuse for their existence.
7. Academic administrative staff.
Over the last several decades, university administration has ballooned insanely — even while the number of teachers and students remain pretty much the same. There are hosts of new provosts, vice chancellors, deans and deanlets and even more, who all now have to be provided with tiny armies of assistants to make them feel important. First they hire them, then they decide what they’re going to do — which is mostly, make up new paperwork to give to teachers and students. As one complained: “Every dean needs his vice dean and sub-dean, and each of them needs a management team, secretaries, admin staff; all of them only there to make it harder for us to teach, to research, to carry out the most basic functions of our jobs.”
One could go on: Almost every large corporation seems to be full of managers managing managers, flunkies, box tickers, data analysts, strategic-vision coordinators or people who are paid to answer the phone once or twice a day but spend the rest of the time playing fruit mahjong or updating their Facebook profiles. Government is hardly better. But trying to make government more like the private sector actually seems to make this worse. Yet no one wants to talk about it. If all these people were just allowed to go home and learn knitting, or how to play the mandolin, the world would be a far happier place.
Bullshit Jobs: A Theory is a 2018 book by anthropologist David Graeber that postulates the existence of meaningless jobs and analyzes their societal harm. He contends that over half of societal work is pointless, and becomes psychologically destructive when paired with a work ethic that associates work with self-worth. Graeber describes five types of meaningless jobs, in which workers pretend their role is not as pointless or harmful as they know it to be: flunkies, goons, duct tapers, box tickers, and taskmasters. He argues that the association of labor with virtuous suffering is recent in human history, and proposes unions and universal basic income as a potential solution.
The book is an extension of a popular essay Graeber published in 2013, which was later translated into 12 languages and whose underlying premise became the subject of a YouGov poll. Graeber subsequently solicited hundreds of testimonials from people with meaningless jobs and revised his case into a book that was published by Simon & Schuster in May 2018.
In Bullshit Jobs, American anthropologist David Graeber posits that the productivity benefits of automation have not led to a 15-hour workweek, as predicted by economist John Maynard Keynes in 1930, but instead to “bullshit jobs”: “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.” While these jobs can offer good compensation and ample free time, Graeber holds that the pointlessness of the work grates at their humanity and creates a “profound psychological violence”.The author contends that more than half of societal work is pointless, both large parts of some jobs and, as he describes, five types of entirely pointless jobs:
- flunkies, who serve to make their superiors feel important, e.g., receptionists, administrative assistants, door attendants, store greeters, makers of websites whose sites neglect ease of use and speed for looks;
- goons, who act to harm or deceive others on behalf of their employer, or to prevent other goons from doing so, e.g., lobbyists, corporate lawyers, telemarketers, public relations specialists, community managers;
- duct tapers, who temporarily fix problems that could be fixed permanently, e.g., programmers repairing bloated code, airline desk staff who calm passengers whose bags do not arrive;
- box tickers, who create the appearance that something useful is being done when it is not, e.g., survey administrators, in-house magazine journalists, corporate compliance officers, quality service managers;
- taskmasters, who create extra work for those who do not need it, e.g., middle management, leadership professionals.
Graeber argues that these jobs are largely in the private sector despite the idea that market competition would root out such inefficiencies. In companies, he concludes that the rise of service sector jobs owes less to economic need than to “managerial feudalism”, in which employers need underlings in order to feel important and maintain competitive status and power. In society, he credits the Puritan-capitalist work ethic for making the labor of capitalism into religious duty: that workers did not reap advances in productivity as a reduced workday because, as a societal norm, they believe that work determines their self-worth, even as they find that work pointless. Graeber describes this cycle as “profound psychological violence” and “a scar across our collective soul”. Graeber suggests that one of the challenges to confronting our feelings about bullshit jobs is a lack of a behavioral script in much the same way that people are unsure of how to feel if they are the object of unrequited love. In turn, rather than correcting this system, Graeber writes, individuals attack those whose jobs are innately fulfilling.
Graeber holds that work as a source of virtue is a recent idea, that work was disdained by the aristocracy in classical times, but inverted as virtuous through then-radical philosophers like John Locke. The Puritan idea of virtue through suffering justified the toil of the working classes as noble. And so, Graeber continues, bullshit jobs justify contemporary patterns of living: that the pains of dull work are suitable justification for the ability to fulfill consumer desires, and that fulfilling those desires is indeed the reward for suffering through pointless work. Accordingly, over time, the prosperity extracted from technological advances has been reinvested into industry and consumer growth for its own sake rather than the purchase of additional leisure time from work. Bullshit jobs also serve political ends, in which political parties are more concerned about having jobs than whether the jobs are fulfilling. In addition, he contends, populations occupied with busy work have less time to revolt.
As a potential solution, Graeber suggests universal basic income, a livable benefit paid to all, without qualification, which would let people work at their leisure. The author credits a natural human work cycle of cramming and slacking as the most productive way to work, as farmers, fishers, warriors, and novelists vary in the rigor of work based on the need for productivity, not the standard working hours, which can appear arbitrary when compared to cycles of productivity. Graeber contends that time not spent pursuing pointless work could instead be spent pursuing creative activities.
You can see, on all of the comments by the fired Facebook-Meta employees, that they were living in a frat house party at Facebook. Everything was about having a high school or college fun time and not doing any real work. They all rave about partying with their work buddies and staying within their cult-like environment. None of them brag about anything positive that they built because they didn’t build anything that society wanted or needed. All of the Big Tech companies had this kind of party work-force and that is why they are going out of business. They were living off of the Pension Fund’s cash that was just dumped into their companies by the scammers at Kleiner Perkins.
As for Facebook’s fail, the public says:
He really thought they’d cheer for him like when Elon did it
Great news. Keep the cuts coming.