On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.....


the last job I had I worked about 15 or 20 hours, the rest of my time was spend trying to look busy

I can only imagine what goes on in the public sector

I think the moral and spiritual damage of a bullshit job is overstated somewhat if you really can do your obligtory tasks in 15-20 hours. I wish I had one :slight_smile:

Senior code-monkeys end up with a full workload, but the bullshit jobbers pile a load of required nonsense on top of that. Agile is just the latest pile of crap to come tumbling down on senior tech productivity. Not just immediate damage to productivity, but long-term too as festering design errors eventually ruin your application.

How do you feel about job titles such as Scrum Master?

I see them on a regular basis on the recruitment sites lately. I feel a little bit sick inside.

Plus: your comments about the festering design errors is absolutely valid. Tech’s biggest enemy at the moment is itself from what I can see. The industry is ripe for disruption but I haven’t worked out how yet.

Children at play.

This puke inducing for me. I have worked in similar companies but you don’t have to actually say it.


well that just takes it to a new level

Hundreds of Post-Its a week?

Thank God for 3M, that’s all I can say.

I thought it was off-putting because I’m an old codger in his 40’s.
But 20 years ago, this happy-clappy BS would be just as nauseating.

You have to laugh at how many talented and interesting people this would put off applying

IRE MGT 101 and IRE HR 101, ape the Americans…

Graeber isn’t talking about bullshit in jobs (like agile software development, KPMG songs or whatever), he’s talking about whole classes of human endeavour which are fundamentally antisocial or pointless, and about how as a society we have ended up with a system which rewards people financially in inverse proportion to the positive human impact of the thing they do, e.g. childcare workers on minimum wage.

Not sure what the solution is. Clearly paying childcare workers 1m/year isn’t going to work.

Nothing new here. I worked for a company over 25 years ago that had us dress up as pirates on a beach. I kept my head down and went along with it – it was on a free trip to Bermuda after all. The only difference nowadays is I’m not even able to even pretend to go along with the corporate bullshit. (In any case, I’d probably get arrested for indecency if I tried to dress up as a pirate on a beach these days :smiley: ). In my most recent job, when people my age (touching fifty) started sounding like those airbnb kids, and showing pictures of their own kids at corporate presentations, I knew I had to leave. That was even before I found out they wasted a huge proportion of their time in pointless meetings to justify their own existence, and expected you to do the same even though, unlike them, you had more productive things that needed doing.

Not sure I can agree with this. The industry has been full of hype and bullshit as long as I can remember (which is at least since the start of the eighties). Computing is still a creative and rewarding career if you manage to keep your wits about you and navigate your way through the ocean of crap (and that applies to the goofy technical fads as well as the HR innovations).

How about 90% taxation rates on incomes (and other forms of remuneration) above a certain threshold? The US had such rates in living memory and was a much more egalitarian society at the time as a result.

I thought their employee vids looked a bit too smiley, in a North Korean kind of way. Surprise surprise … some people claim the reality is more like a North Korean labour camp…


But this isn’t really about rich people - that’s a separate issue - and your solution wouldn’t distinguish between rich people doing useful things and rich people doing bullshit anti-social things, unless you want to made the crude assumption that anyone rich has gotten there through anti-social bullshit.

Very few people paid the 90% rate because there was so many loopholes.

That’s certainly Graeber’s claim: the more bullshit your job, the higher your pay.

came across this, somewhat apropos: I Quit: What Really Goes on at Apple

It’s a stupid job - mainly the result of deskilling PMs - the idea that a PM in a tech organisation can know no technology other than their iThing and Excel pivot charts… So the scrumaster is invented to act as nanny for the autistic-child-averse PM. Bad recruitment of deskilled PMs = somebody else has to pick up that role…

Nah, that’s bullshit. Most of the bullshit jobs are low-level clerical/lower management based.