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The Rise of the Pointless Job (theguardian.com) 471

An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from an article via The Guardian, written by David Graeber: One day, the wall shelves in my office collapsed. This left books scattered all over the floor and a jagged, half-dislocated metal frame that once held the shelves in place dangling over my desk. I'm a professor of anthropology at a university. A carpenter appeared an hour later to inspect the damage, and announced gravely that, as there were books all over the floor, safety rules prevented him from entering the room or taking further action. I would have to stack the books and not touch anything else, whereupon he would return at the earliest available opportunity. The carpenter never reappeared. Each day, someone in the anthropology department would call, often multiple times, to ask about the fate of the carpenter, who always turned out to have something extremely pressing to do. By the time a week was out, it had become apparent that there was one man employed by buildings and grounds whose entire job it was to apologize for the fact that the carpenter hadn't come. He seemed a nice man. Still, it's hard to imagine he was particularly happy with his work life.

Everyone is familiar with the sort of jobs that don't seem, to the outsider, really to do much of anything: HR consultants, communications coordinators, PR researchers, financial strategists, corporate lawyers or the sort of people who spend their time staffing committees that discuss the problem of unnecessary committees. What if these jobs really are useless, and those who hold them are actually aware of it? Could there be anything more demoralizing than having to wake up in the morning five out of seven days of one's adult life to perform a task that one believes does not need to be performed, is simply a waste of time or resources, or even makes the world worse? There are plenty of surveys about whether people are happy at work, but what about whether people feel their jobs have any good reason to exist? I decided to investigate this phenomenon by drawing on more than 250 testimonies from people around the world who felt they once had, or now have, what I call a bullshit job.
Graeber defines a "bullshit job" as "one so completely pointless that even the person who has to perform it every day cannot convince themselves there's a good reason for them to be doing it." Do you feel that your work is completely unnecessary?
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The Rise of the Pointless Job

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  • by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) on Friday May 04, 2018 @11:40PM (#56557580) Journal

    Do you feel that your work is completely unnecessary?

    I can't understand how you would think that. Now if you'll excuse me, I have an interstellar flight I need to catch ... A ... B -- here we go. Chat with you later!

  • by Lanthanide ( 4982283 ) on Friday May 04, 2018 @11:40PM (#56557582)

    Load them all up on a spaceship, along with the telephone sanitisers, and blast them into space.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Load them all up on a spaceship, along with the telephone sanitisers, and blast them into space.

      We are their children.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2018 @11:42PM (#56557588)

    ...pointless job like....slashdot editor?

    • Bastard (Score:2, Funny)

      You bastard, you beat me to it. I logged in specifically to make that observation. Bastard. I bet you wear bastard T shirts and bastard shorts and have a bastard laptop. Bastard.

  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Friday May 04, 2018 @11:45PM (#56557602)
    The anthropology professor could have got his/her pretty little lily-clean hands dirty and fixed the shelf him/herself. Just because you're in academia doesn't mean you're not allowed to work with your hands.
    • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Friday May 04, 2018 @11:51PM (#56557620) Journal

      The anthropology professor could have got his/her pretty little lily-clean hands dirty and fixed the shelf him/herself. Just because you're in academia doesn't mean you're not allowed to work with your hands.

      This was in the UK. Without a full risk assessment, the idea of anyone touching the shelves is laughable. So, no, he wasn't allowed to work with his hands.

      In fact, it's probably because of "health and safety" that the carpenter would not do the job until the books were stacked.

      • Who would know if he didn't scream for help?
        • Who would know if he didn't scream for help?

          Eventually, the carpenter is going to come back, and he will either:
          1. See that his work has been done and go away, saying nothing.
          2. Complain, likely resulting in a written warning to the professor.

          Is it worth the risk? Or did you forget that he already asked for help?

          • by slew ( 2918 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @02:25AM (#56558092)

            Who would know if he didn't scream for help?

            Eventually, the carpenter is going to come back, and he will either:
            1. See that his work has been done and go away, saying nothing.
            2. Complain, likely resulting in a written warning to the professor.

            Is it worth the risk? Or did you forget that he already asked for help?

            OR 3. See that his work was done, spend his time to undo the work, and submit a formal complaint through union channels that unauthorized work was done, causing management to discipline you, and force you to wait 1 month to have the work done by authorized labor using work-to-rule [wikipedia.org] levels of efficiency and have your manager's department be billed for both the undo work and the re-do work.

            As you might have surmised, #3 has happened to me... If I only had to live with a warning, it might have been still worth a warning, but having to wait an extra month and see your work be undone, and re-done poorly, certainly tips the scale the other way (which was of course the point of the whole exercise).

            • by l0n3s0m3phr34k ( 2613107 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @08:22AM (#56558712)
              You didn't say it, but I would bet " re-done poorly on purpose for revenge / teach you a lesson"...
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              but having to wait an extra month and see your work be undone, and re-done poorly, certainly tips the scale the other way (which was of course the point of the whole exercise).

              Perhaps now you can appreciate why the libertarians among us are not so keen on government bureaucracy. They say that those of us who want less government are crazy, but I ask you what is sane about pointless rules, the little people who revel in them, like your carpenter, and the government that inflicts the whole mess upon us? These are not isolated incidents. Governments are terribly inefficient and work through coercion and fear. As a society we should limit our use of such tools to those situations whe

              • All power is the result of coercion and fear. Sorry about that. If you remove a current power, a new one takes its place. There may be a utopian day that comes where bad faith actors no longer exist and we all work together in hippie harmony, but that day isn't today. You think that something is pointless, then work to change that within the existing system. Libitarians seem to think that if there is something wrong with the system, we should throw the whole thing out rather than correct the problem. That w

              • Governments are terribly inefficient and work through coercion and fear.

                90% of everything is crap, including the private sector.

                Why is the web slathered with helpful little articles on how to put up with your asshole boss—especially in the private sector? People don't simply leave these asshole jobs, especially in America, because of systemic mobility friction, like a health plan tied to an employer who wields it as a club to get away with hiring cheap (and bad, and often abusive) bottom-tier managem

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      I have a friend who wanted a shelf removed. He put in a ticket with facilities, who ignored it. He played this game for a couple of weeks, got tired, took down the shelf, and forgot about it.

      A while later the facilities manager was in his office (probably to shoot the shit) and noticed the shelf was gone. He reported my friend to management. My friend dropped the stack of unfilled tickets on the manager's desk and walked out.

    • I've seen "repairs" done by people who don't understand hardware, especially the kind of heavy duty haradware to support racks of equipment or shelves of books. The results can be quite dangerous to passers by.

    • by bjdevil66 ( 583941 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @01:43AM (#56557976)

      Sometimes it's easier to just do it yourself, but it's not that simple in this professor's case.

      Don't forget that it wasn't his property to fix; It was the institution's property. He technically didn't have the right to fix it. In fact, he likely would've gotten in trouble with his building's facilities management team.

      What if he was working in an older university building, and there was asbestos mitigation that had to take place due to federal and state regulations? That's legal liability that has to be considered.

      And that says nothing about some union people getting upset about someone doing their job for them.

      As much as it sucks for the professor, he probably did the right thing and let it go - other than cleaning up the initial mess, of course.

    • I was once a computer engineer in a major corporation that had unionized electricians. If we got caught (by an electrician) unplugging a piece of equipment, moving it to another place in the lab, and plugging it back in, we could get a grievance. When that happened, an electrician got to sit down at a table on a Saturday and get overtime pay. Some electricians would actually keep records of where things were plugged in to increase their chances of catching someone.
    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @04:42AM (#56558340)
      Most U.S. states require workers compensation insurance, whose premiums are based on the type of work an employee does. A "clerical" worker like a professor "dirtying his hands" and fixing a shelf would be doing something more risky and outside the scope of his job description. If the insurance company caught wind of it, the school could lose its insurance, or worse yet all its professors could be reclassified as a different type of employee with a higher rate, and the school's insurance premiums would go up. So yes, being in academia may in fact mean you're not allowed to work with your hands.

      I ran into exactly this type of situation at a previous job. We had a restaurant on our resort, and all the restaurant employees were categorized as restaurant workers with about a 8% insurance rate (i.e. we paid the workers comp insurance company 8% of their wages as a premium). Someone in another department began a school camp program - urban elementary schools would send a class for a week-long stay at our resort (located in a rural area), learning about nature and the environment. They ate meals at our restaurant. When the state workers comp insurance board caught whiff of this, to our astonishment they reclassified all of our restaurant staff as camp workers at a 15% insurance rate, even though there was nothing camp-related about their duties. The vast majority of the restaurant staff weren't even preparing meals for the camp kids, and the ones who were weren't doing anything they wouldn't normally do for regular restaurant customers. But the board insisted that because the kids were there for a camp and eating meals prepared in our restaurant, our restaurant workers were camp workers.

      I appealed and lost. There's a single state government insurance board which decides these things, so after your appeal is decided, that decision is final. But I did manage to convince them to charge camp rates for our restaurant workers only on days when this camp program was present (weekdays, vs most of our regular customers being on weekends). This increased my workload considerably since I now had to record the restaurant payroll day-by-day and cross-reference against days when camps were present. But the difference in insurance premium was over $10k/mo. I did this for close to a year, while we worked to spin off the camp program into a separate company. Then this new camp company became a "customer" of our resort, thus allowing us to legitimately tell the insurance board to rescind their ridiculous classification change because we weren't running any camps and didn't have any camp employees on our payroll.
    • The anthropology professor could have got his/her pretty little lily-clean hands dirty and fixed the shelf him/herself.

      Errr no. You've clearly never worked in a government department, education system, fortune 500 company, or a smaller company which has a partially unionised workforce if you think you would be allowed to fix the shelf yourself.

  • Sounds like Japan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vix86 ( 592763 ) on Friday May 04, 2018 @11:53PM (#56557638)

    This is pretty common in Japan and comes in various forms. Back in 2013 the NYT did an article [nytimes.com] about workers sent to the boredom room. Many of these workers were hired into the company back in the period when lifetime employment was the way things went, so I guess many workers had contracts that made it impossible for them to be laid off. When Sony closed down a number of their older products such as Betamax or the Walkman, they couldn't fire a lot of these old timers that only knew about their specific product, so they stuffed them in 'boredom' rooms where they'd come in every day and read the newspaper or a book, and then go home after 8 hours.

    I've also personally experienced similar redundant jobs in Japan. When I went to the city hall to pick up some official tax form information, they had someone that took my request form and handed it to someone who printed out the document. The printer-person confirmed the document, stamped it, and then passed it to the person sitting next to them. This next person looked it over for all of 5 seconds, stamped it and passed it to the person at the head of this block of four desks and he glanced it over and stamped it. Then the person that took my request form took it to another guy sitting in a separate desk about 5ft away ("section chief") and he stamped it and then I got my tax forms. I have no doubt that 2 of the people in this process were completely useless in most of the work they do.

    I think the lesson here is that if you want to find pointless jobs, just look in highly bureaucratic systems -- there are bound to be tons.

    • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Friday May 04, 2018 @11:56PM (#56557652)
      One would argue that those jobs are a way of taking care of the less fortunate without calling it "welfare." As opposed to the US way, where older employees are tossed out with the trash :(
      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        Exactly. Most jobs are pointless. Yet we have some moral terror of having people not work at or above their efficient maximum (40 hours a week) so we make up stuff for the excess labor to do.

        • No offense but I bet you never worked a real job at fast food or a call center or retail in your youth? We get fired regularly and worked off the clock to pass metrics or were fired.

          Read about Amazon where workers piss in bottles to keep their jobs to show metrics and values.

          The US is very extreme in other direction with no job security

          • by thejam ( 655457 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @05:42AM (#56558450)

            The US is very extreme in other direction with no job security

            The only real job security is to be so valuable to the company that replacing you would clearly be a large net loss. Other countries are in denial about this. If a charity wants to help those who lose their jobs, then that charity can do so. A business is not a charity, and it strikes me as both immoral and inefficient (both for the business and the person losing their job) to make charity itself a business's job. If a society doesn't want to leave the safety net to charity, then society should take on that burden itself. From what I gather, Denmark doesn't burden employers the same way as does, say, France, yet has a strong safety net. This separation of concerns (business vs job security) is a pretty strong argument for a basic income, too.

            • Re:Sounds like Japan (Score:5, Informative)

              by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @10:42AM (#56559138) Homepage

              If a society doesn't want to leave the safety net to charity, then society should take on that burden itself. From what I gather, Denmark doesn't burden employers the same way as does, say, France, yet has a strong safety net.

              I can't really speak for Denmark but here in Norway it's mainly solved through employment taxes, which are kinda like income tax except they're not deducted from my nominal salary but rather added to the company's taxes. Basically, if my employer wants to pay me $100 he'll have to pay $8.20 in "trygdeavgift" and anywhere from $0 to $14.10 in "arbeidsgiveravgift", usually the latter which together make up something like a social security tax. And that money then goes to pensions, disability benefits, unemployment benefits, sick leave, maternity leave and so on. And then they take a good ~30% of my pay in taxes. And the general VAT is 25%.

              So essentially, my employer pays $122.30. My pre-tax income is $100, my post-tax income $70 and when I buy something 25/125ths goes to VAT so $56 end up in someone else's pockets. So companies are not keeping people on for charity, not private ones anyway but you're pretty well covered for. And you get a free education, free healthcare, in fact a whole lot of services are free or subsidized and my mum and dad have been living on public pensions for a long time now. But we're sure as hell paying for it somehow...

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by tverbeek ( 457094 )

                Some people – libertarians mostly – would look at the difference between what you cost to your employer and what you end up with (i.e. taxes), and scream that it should all be given to you. What they don't realize is that, if those payroll+incomes taxes didn't exist, you wouldn't get $122.30; your employer would pay you about $70 instead... maybe $75. And if they knew you didn't have to pay VAT, they'd pay you even less, because they could. It isn't an exact correspondence, and if taxes go up/do

      • Like welfare, but you have to be organized enough to show up somewhere every day at a certain time with acceptable personal hygiene. This sounds like welfare that people with substance abuse problems or other mental health problems wouldn't be able to get.

    • Re:Sounds like Japan (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @03:23AM (#56558212) Journal

      Keep in mind Japanese has a radically different culture than Europe or Both America.

      In USA you are valued on money and job title. In Europe you are valued on your contribution and character. Americans irritate HR as we become job hoppers to outdo the fellow man and make more $$$$

      In Japan your face is who you work for. Job title is irrelevant. A VP for a company that makes shit is less valued than an assistant at Toyota or Ninetendo. The culture of die for the emperor and defend your honor from World War 2 is alive and well. They stay many hours working too.

      People commit suicide if they leave and are unemployable again. With such loyalty companies can't just do this to employees like in the US which encourages fear and a revolving door

    • Re:Sounds like Japan (Score:4, Interesting)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @05:05AM (#56558388)

      I have no doubt that 2 of the people in this process were completely useless in most of the work they do.

      I think the lesson here is that if you want to find pointless jobs, just look in highly bureaucratic systems

      Bureaucratic systems don't appear out of nowhere. Often they are built up from incidents:
      We need to verify! Fine let's add a step.
      The second person in the step made the same mistake the first person did. Fine let's add a step.
      The third person in the step ...

      To the outside they look pointless, it could very well be that each person was looking at a different portion of the paper. It could very well be that one of them was in charge of making sure the other 3 were not corrupt. It's easy to assume lots of people are pointless if you assume that one person has complete authority and autonomy. But like all assumptions there's often a reason why they don't pan out.

  • What about all the people devoted to complying with pointless regulations?

  • There is a theory that this is the underlying cause of the rise in depression. It surmises that the human need to be useful causes the drop in seratonin when it is not met. Antidepressants only treat the symptom, not the underlying cause.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05, 2018 @12:17AM (#56557722)

    So if I perform useful work for people doing a useless job, does that make my job useless?

    • No, if you create a useful output, (it meets the client criteria, and they pay for it), then by definition your job is "useful". Does not necessarily make it a "good" one.
      Anyway, sounds like you need a change...

  • .. of capitalist society. In capitalist society most people must sell themselves in order to acquire resources to survive and the oligarchs and their state have to keep creating nonsense jobs to keep revolutionary politics from reappearing and thereby getting the funny people of the working class asking questions again.

  • by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @01:17AM (#56557908) Homepage

    What could be more pointless than to have a job producing videos that everyone ignores?

    How about
    - Bellhops
    - Free community newspaper editors
    - Sign spinners

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @01:18AM (#56557914) Journal

    There was a Job in New Orleans
    They called it a pointless job
    and it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
    and lord, I know, I'm one

    My mother was a receptionist
    sold my commodore 64
    My father was a program man
    scripting in brainfuck
    The only thing a scripter needs
    is an editor and some luck
    And the only time, he's satisfied
    when he's, using, a thunk

    Oh Mother, tell your children
    Not to be a cunt
    Spend your life in sincere misery
    In the house of the pointless Job

    Not attached to a platform
    No, specific, tool chain
    I'm goin' back, to New Orleans
    To slowly go insane

    Well, there is a Job in New Orleans
    They call the Pointless Job
    And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
    And God, I know I'm one
  • Why were the books still on the ground!? What kind of company doesn't employ a book pickeruperer for such situations?

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @03:13AM (#56558196) Journal

    Ask any MBA manager who does nothing but has meetings all day to set you straight. Technology is not important nor impacts productivity at all. Now back to generating wealth for the shareholders by having management who make up 50% of the office do more meetings

  • by andrewbaldwin ( 442273 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @03:35AM (#56558240)

    I wish I could get hold of a copy (electronically or in dead tree format, but I recall vividly a story by the science fiction author Eric Frank Russell. Several of his stories and novels had a slightly anti authoritarian and anti establishment feel (Next of Kin, Allamagoosa and Wasp being prime examples which are available in ebook formats).

    His "Study in Still Life" though is the classic. It was written in the late 50s/early 60s but is still 100% relevant. Essentially it's about a bureaucrat who games the system to prioritise life saving equipment: the request and its approval / traceability / fulfilment process is described in detail at each stage for what is basically a bundle up and put in the mail activity -- it would be comic if it were not (still today) very true. The twist in the tail about bureaucratic hierarchies is a real gem.

    Read it if you get the chance [and please post a link if you find a copy online as I'd love to read it again :-) ]

  • by The Evil Atheist ( 2484676 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @04:23AM (#56558298) Homepage
    That dude must have started his own religion now, having magically disappeared of the face of the Earth for no reason.
  • by inking ( 2869053 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @04:36AM (#56558318)
    This is hilarious on a number of levels, not in the least because the person writing about "bullshit jobs" is an anthropologist--a field of science that originally had a goal, had its goal branded politically inappropriate and scientifically not rigorous enough, and then transitioned into an eternal cycle of doing nothing but self-reflecting on par with some kind of Buddhist monastery.

    The whole area of humanities--which I originally come from myself--and large chunks of social sciences are by and large jobs in search of a job. You need not look further than the most junior level entrants into the job: the Ph.D. candidates. I know a number of people both in STEM and in humanities and have been to general meetings and colloquia of both. STEM candidates usually have a work group that has a problem and a team leader that coordinates the new entrants to solve the problem and produce results. It's not perfect, but it's objective driven more often than it is not. Humanities candidates on the other hand each have their own project that they make up and meet on a weekly basis to discuss how they can "problematize" their research. The people who get the most ahead are the ones who are best are "problematizing" their research, whatever that research may be about. It still annoys me to this day to think of some of the mundane crap I had to sit through and then sit through some more as two dolts were discussing whether they should call something A or B for half an hour, because A sounds more foreign, but B is used in the literature.

    Quite frankly, our dear anthropologist should probably do some more self-reflecting and determine if his job is not a "bullshit job". Out of all the candidates I have run across and I have run across many different breeds from humanities--mostly historians, area studies people and anthropologists--anthropologists are by far the most bullshitty of them all. At least the guy whose job is apologizing for why the carpenter didn't complete the task on time is working towards keeping the client--because the carpenter sure as hell can't--and thus a presumably profitable business afloat. The only thing Dr. Graeber is doing is wasting the taxes paid by the same business because some capital bureaucrat deemed his research worthwhile without having the slightest idea of what it is about. Everybody in humanities know that this is precisely how it works.
    • Actually, David Graeber has conceded this very point in his original piece [strikemag.org] on the topic:

      Now, I realise any such argument is going to run into immediate objections: ‘who are you to say what jobs are really “necessary”? What's necessary anyway? You're an anthropology professor, what's the “need” for that?’ (And indeed a lot of tabloid readers would take the existence of my job as the very definition of wasteful social expenditure.) And on one level, this is obviously true. There can be no objective measure of social value.I would not presume to tell someone who is convinced they are making a meaningful contribution to the world that, really, they are not. But what about those people who are themselves convinced their jobs are meaningless?

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @05:14AM (#56558404) Homepage

    Unions are my first thought as well. They often define these incredibly narrow jobs, in order to create more roles for more people. I've told the story before, but my first encounter with this was installing a sewage plant automation system. My company had programmed the computer, and we were installing the computer and the software. As part of these, I was sent around to all the various valves and actuators and such, with the job to test whether or not wire A on the one end really did correspond to the wire labelled "A" on the other end.

    For this, I obviously needed someone from the sewage plant, who knew where all the valves and actuators were physically located. Fine, that's two of us. Now the union rules start: neither of us was allowed to do anything. There was the guy who opened the physical casings. There was the second guy who physically attached the leads from the multimeter. There was the third guy who was allowed to actually look at the multimeter. And there was the fourth guy, from operations, who had to be physically present because union regulations said so. Six people, in total, where only two were needed (as an EE, I was perfectly capable of handling the connections, multimeter, etc.).

    Did any of these people resent having such a narrowly defined job? Imagine, for example, the guy who is allowed to attach the multimeter leads to the actuator, but was not allowed to actually look at the multimeter: does that job make any sense? I dunno, but I expect after a while you just figure it's a cushy job, requiring little effort, and you're glad to go home at the end of the day and drink a beer.

    The result, of course, is higher taxes (in this case, because the sewage plant is paid for by taxes), or else needlessly expensive products (US auto makers' downfall: to stay price competitive, given union-driven labor costs, they have to cut corners on quality).

    Of course, the other group are government bureaucrats. In private industry, cruft is eventually cleaned out by falling profits. The government has no such external constraint. So there are plenty of bureaucrats who shove papers around. They may not realize how useless their job is, because they are just complying with regulations - it's the regulations that need to go, thus eliminating the excuse for the useless positions. But that would reduce someone's little empire, so it never happens...

    • In the US, unions really only have any presence in the public sector. But the same kind of BS is still possible through excessive government regulation, something that absolutely plagues the US economy. A glaring example are the licensing regulations issued by state and local governments. They are hugely protective. Tennessee, for example, requires that barbers who shampoo hair to go to 70 days of training, pay a $140 fee and take two exams!

    • In private industry, cruft is eventually cleaned out by falling profits.

      Hahaha! Good one!

  • The UK is a democratic socialist [wikipedia.org] country which believes that capitalism is inherently incompatible with equality and that the state, therefore, has the charter to step in and order everyone's lives about to make things fair.

    So of course in a place where everyone waits for the government to tell them what to do, those books are staying right there on the floor until a maverick comes along with common sense and picks them up.

    That kind of schtuff doesn't happen as much in the US, because individuals are expect

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @09:41AM (#56558896)

    The problem with pointless jobs is that we have the entire ecosystem built around earning and consuming. This isn't going to go away without a fight. And when you consider that most technical jobs are going to be automated, pointless work will be all that's left pretty soon.

    I've worked in big companies for most of my career, and there are plenty of jobs like this. Not, "Oh, you don't see everything I do behind the scenes" type jobs, but jobs that could be automated with nearly zero effort. The techies among us will jump on writing whatever shell script is needed, but I don't think automating everything is a good idea.

    "Luddite!" you cry...not exactly. Here's the problem...large companies provide semi-stable employment and are almost the only source of stable employment outside of government. Thousands of graduates come out of Big State University with some generic management, psychology or communications degree they partied their way through. If all the pointless jobs go away, there's nowhere to employ these people, and they won't buy houses, buy cars, go on vacations, pay property taxes, have children, and basically keep the consumer economy going.

    tl;dr: Unless you want to break the work-for-money-so-you-can-consume cycle, think of the C students. :-)

  • Defense Companies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by careysub ( 976506 ) on Saturday May 05, 2018 @10:22AM (#56559054)

    Anyone who has worked in a large defense company has observed people who had no identifiable skills or duties, yet were hanging around on the payroll. A common characteristic is that they were buddies with lots of other people and had been there a long time. Some of them were managers who were known to have "retired on the job" - which did not appear to interfere with their continued employment.

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