Author Topic: article: You’re Not Just Imagining It. Your Job Is Absolute BS  (Read 3137 times)

swampwiz

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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-15/bullshit-jobs-by-david-graeber-review

Quote
Eric was supposed to set up a “super collaborative” interface that would keep everyone on the same page and prevent this from happening. “I should have realized that it was one partner’s idea that no one else actually wanted. … Why else would they be paying a 21-year-old history graduate with no IT experience to do this? They’d bought the cheapest software they could find, from a bunch of absolute crooks, so it was buggy, prone to crashing, and looked like a Windows 3.1 screen saver. The entire workforce was paranoid that it was designed to monitor their productivity, record their keystrokes, or flag that they were torrenting porn on the company internet, and so they wanted nothing to do with it.”

There was little for Eric to do because he couldn’t fix the system and no one wanted to deal with it, anyway. He grew desperate and depressed and, despite the evident failure of the system, had to convince his bosses to let him resign. “I was basically tasked with selling and managing a badly-functioning, unwanted turd,” he wrote to Graeber.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2018, 04:26:51 PM by swampwiz »

Johnez

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Re: article: You’re Not Just Imagining It. Your Job Is Absolute BS
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2018, 04:41:07 PM »
Quote
But when I read Graeber’s account of how a boss taught him and his fellow dishwashers to be less efficient at a restaurant job he held in his youth by yelling at them for washing the dishes as fast as possible and then loafing around, smoking, I sympathized with the boss. When you’re the one who owns or feels ownership over the endeavor, you think there’s always something more that needs doing. To you, it’s important. It’s hard to get other people to see what you see needs to get done; it’s human nature to want to have things done your own way. Sometimes Graeber reminds me of a 12-year-old who insists there’s no reason to clean up his or her room, while the parent knows that bugs, vermin, mental chaos, or depression could otherwise ensue
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I think these BS jobs are simply a result of one human weakness (and strength)-laziness. Not the worker laziness, but the management team laziness. I've cannot count the ways our warehouse can become more productive, and then we implement something, and then the next week supervisors and managers decide not to see the effort through, even though whatever is implemented worked! It's crazy. I just cannot wrap my head around it sometimes.

mxt0133

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Re: article: You’re Not Just Imagining It. Your Job Is Absolute BS
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2018, 05:32:16 PM »
I think these BS jobs are simply a result of one human weakness (and strength)-laziness. Not the worker laziness, but the management team laziness. I've cannot count the ways our warehouse can become more productive, and then we implement something, and then the next week supervisors and managers decide not to see the effort through, even though whatever is implemented worked! It's crazy. I just cannot wrap my head around it sometimes.

You assume that the management team's priority is improving productivity and that increased productivity, resulting in higher production of goods or value, would be met by a similar increase in demand.  If there is no increase in demand for the goods produced then the company doesn't need as many workers because they can produce the same amount of goods with less workers.  Less workers means less need to managers to manage them.  So why would a manager put themselves in a position where they would increase the likely hood that their job would no longer be needed?


SwitchActiveDWG

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Re: article: You’re Not Just Imagining It. Your Job Is Absolute BS
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2018, 06:46:05 PM »
I think these BS jobs are simply a result of one human weakness (and strength)-laziness. Not the worker laziness, but the management team laziness. I've cannot count the ways our warehouse can become more productive, and then we implement something, and then the next week supervisors and managers decide not to see the effort through, even though whatever is implemented worked! It's crazy. I just cannot wrap my head around it sometimes.

You assume that the management team's priority is improving productivity and that increased productivity, resulting in higher production of goods or value, would be met by a similar increase in demand.  If there is no increase in demand for the goods produced then the company doesn't need as many workers because they can produce the same amount of goods with less workers.  Less workers means less need to managers to manage them.  So why would a manager put themselves in a position where they would increase the likely hood that their job would no longer be needed?

Even if you had  an increase in demand the incentive structure in most companies is still too messed up for productivity to rule.

Luck12

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Re: article: You’re Not Just Imagining It. Your Job Is Absolute BS
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2018, 08:38:25 PM »
Whole lot of bullshit jobs that do nothing to enhance society, matter of fact they extract value from society.   Financial industry is full of these value extracting jobs.  Active fund managers, financial "advisors", err salesmen, financial sales jobs, etc.  Also things like brand managers for junk food companies.   

Schaefer Light

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Re: article: You’re Not Just Imagining It. Your Job Is Absolute BS
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2018, 11:07:12 AM »
You assume that the management team's priority is improving productivity and that increased productivity, resulting in higher production of goods or value, would be met by a similar increase in demand.  If there is no increase in demand for the goods produced then the company doesn't need as many workers because they can produce the same amount of goods with less workers.  Less workers means less need to managers to manage them.  So why would a manager put themselves in a position where they would increase the likely hood that their job would no longer be needed?

I think that's a big part of it.  Lower level managers don't have the same incentives as those at the top.  If I manage a group of front line employees and I see that I have a couple of extra people on staff, then I'm good with that because it's helpful to have them around when other people leave the company, get sick, or take vacations.  Plus, why would I want to reduce the number of employees in my group when that might jeopardize my position?  If I was offered some sort of financial incentive to produce the same results with fewer staff members, then I might consider recommending a reduction in headcount.  But even then I'd have to weigh the pros (more money now) and cons (putting my position in jeopardy) and I might still choose to keep the extra employees.  Frankly, unless the company is struggling so much financially that we have to let people go I'm not likely to mention that my group is overstaffed.

By the River

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Re: article: You’re Not Just Imagining It. Your Job Is Absolute BS
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2018, 11:23:32 AM »
You assume that the management team's priority is improving productivity and that increased productivity, resulting in higher production of goods or value, would be met by a similar increase in demand.  If there is no increase in demand for the goods produced then the company doesn't need as many workers because they can produce the same amount of goods with less workers.  Less workers means less need to managers to manage them.  So why would a manager put themselves in a position where they would increase the likely hood that their job would no longer be needed?

I think that's a big part of it.  Lower level managers don't have the same incentives as those at the top.  If I manage a group of front line employees and I see that I have a couple of extra people on staff, then I'm good with that because it's helpful to have them around when other people leave the company, get sick, or take vacations.  Plus, why would I want to reduce the number of employees in my group when that might jeopardize my position? If I was offered some sort of financial incentive to produce the same results with fewer staff members, then I might consider recommending a reduction in headcount.  But even then I'd have to weigh the pros (more money now) and cons (putting my position in jeopardy) and I might still choose to keep the extra employees.  Frankly, unless the company is struggling so much financially that we have to let people go I'm not likely to mention that my group is overstaffed.

That's a common concern.  We just had an employee quit a BS job and are overstaffed still.  My director is beginning the process to replace the mostly unnecessary employee.  Why? the Director II title requires X number of employees and we now have X-1.  Our financial incentives are actually the opposite of saving money.

Tyson

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Re: article: You’re Not Just Imagining It. Your Job Is Absolute BS
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2018, 12:54:30 PM »
Having worked at several large companies I've come to have 1 rule for myself when I see how inefficient things are:

1. Do my work to my own standards (generally high). 

I am much happier when I just focus on my own work and let the rest of the company take care of itself.  Doing good, high quality work is it's own reward in terms of personal satisfaction.  In large companies especially there will always be structural inefficiencies and pockets of incompetence.  Just don't let that worry you and keep focused on your own skills and work and let that other stuff go.