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Wealth & Economics > Bullshit jobs

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16036 comments Yeah, it's a book and a theory: Bullshit Jobs: A Theory https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullshi...
Moreover, probably in any organization there are dudes, pretending to be very busy, but in fact contributing little to nothing.
Does this guy have a point? What do you think?


message 2: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments If I'm correct in thinking that most people spend more time on their phones than on doing their jobs, then most jobs have become bullshit. I say ban phones from workplaces except for breaks and lunch.


message 3: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin That reminds me of an anecdote I heard in a military headquarters where I was working at the time. One guy said that the best way to appear busy is to walk around with a file in your hand, as if you are bringing it to some bigwig. I didn't doubt his story for a second (and no, I didn't do that myself).


message 4: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1847 comments Scout wrote: "If I'm correct in thinking that most people spend more time on their phones than on doing their jobs, then most jobs have become bullshit. I say ban phones from workplaces except for breaks and lunch."

I agree. And block certain social sites from computers. As a manager, it was very frustrating to walk up to an employee and see them switch their screen, knowing they really weren't working. I was 125% type. But, my boss who was in his 30s would't let me do anything about it because that's how the younger generation is in regards to their phones and FB or whatever. Of course, when the work was done, I was responsible because I was the manager. Responsibility without power.


message 5: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey I’ve never been convinced one way or the other when it comes to a universal basic income (maybe I need to read Graeber’s book)... but I think there is some credibility to a 32 hour work week instead of 40. I’ve worked with many people who are so efficient that they can get their days work done by 1, but are contracted to be at work till 5. So of course they’re going to use social media, phones, etc to get through the day. And no one is going to suggest making their job part time, because no one wants to give up a full time salary and benefits. So maybe the solution is redefining what constitutes as full time.


message 6: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16036 comments Lindsey wrote: "I’ve never been convinced one way or the other when it comes to a universal basic income ..."

Neither am I, but if a jobless world becomes a reality, this might be a way to sustain some kind of a societal stability..
A working discipline may be important in some spheres, while less so in others. For example, some are much more likely to close the deal of their life in a fancy restaurant or a sauna than in an office or conference room..


message 7: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2328 comments Lizzie wrote: "Scout wrote: "If I'm correct in thinking that most people spend more time on their phones than on doing their jobs, then most jobs have become bullshit. I say ban phones from workplaces except for ..."

Problem is, those employees are the ones who disappear into the bathroom so they can hide in the stalls and play on their phones where their bosses won't see them.

On a side note, it's not just the people on their phones, but there was always been resentment from non-smokers toward smokers because a lot of workplaces look the other way when smokers are on constant smoke breaks.


message 8: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin J.J. wrote: "On a side note, it's not just the people on their phones, but there was always been resentment from non-smokers toward smokers because a lot of workplaces look the other way when smokers are on constant smoke breaks...."

Bingo! When I was still in the military and working at a regional headquarters, the smokers kept disappearing every hour or two for 15-30 minutes on 'smoke breaks'. That was of course on top of the normal 'coffee breaks' and 'lunch breaks'. Me and other non-smokers in the office, getting really frustrated about that, started compiling the total amount of time on smoke breaks the smokers were taking per week. We ended up with an average of over seven hours per week spent smoking, nearly a full day's work!


message 9: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments Michel wrote: "J.J. wrote: "On a side note, it's not just the people on their phones, but there was always been resentment from non-smokers toward smokers because a lot of workplaces look the other way when smoke..."

That's super frustrating!


message 10: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments Lizzie said: "I agree. And block certain social sites from computers. As a manager, it was very frustrating to walk up to an employee and see them switch their screen, knowing they really weren't working."

I've mentioned this problem on many threads, and you're the first to agree with me. No one wants to talk about it because they think they're entitled to their phone time at work. If, as Lindsey says, some people can do their work in less time, then their jobs need to be redefined. If you're paid for 8 hours, you should be working for 8 hours. Otherwise, the employer pays for fun time on Facebook, YouTube, etc., resulting in loss of productivity. My neighbor, who works for the local hospital, recently told me that she was pissed off because her employer had blocked Amazon and Facebook. I thought this was a great idea. You're at work, for heaven's sake, so you should be working.


message 11: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16036 comments Scout wrote: "You're at work, for heaven's sake, so you should be working..."

In my opinion, it depends whether for a specific activity the process is important or the result. If the latter, the bosses shouldn't really care how it's achieved, but if you are, for example, an air traffic supervisor then any distractions should be off limits


message 12: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments I'm disappointed in your response, Nik, as it didn't address my specific concerns regarding wasting time and lack of productivity. Time is money. Still like you, though.


message 13: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16036 comments Scout wrote: "lack of productivity"

That's exactly my point - whether there is 'lack' or not. New tendencies allow many to work from home, where it's all about self-discipline, while other employers insist on working from the office and an 'open space' and cameras (where allowed) to have constant supervision..


message 14: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments I guess I'm looking at this from the perspective of a teacher in the classroom. I was "on" all the time - no time for cell phones, games, Facebook. I earned the money I was paid because I was constantly working, either teaching or grading papers. I worked more hours than I was paid for. I think about people in offices who are allowed to have cell phones and play around, and it pisses me off. They should be working constantly like I did and like teachers still do. That's just my take on it.


message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16036 comments Indeed teacher's work is hard and requires constant engagement during the lesson and often in the after hours..
I, on my part, don't take offense if anyone works 'easier' or 'harder', but then again I used to be a lenient employer, maybe too lenient. Would probably have benefited from having a more rigorous co-manager/deputy/anyone, banning that damn internet and spyphones -:)


message 16: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments I'll just have to accept that employers are OK with employees wasting time instead of doing their jobs. It seems to be status quo, although I still don't get it. (Taking a deep breath and letting it go.)


message 17: by Graeme (last edited Jul 02, 2018 11:46PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan I have a team of five people working with me. I'm primarily interested in results, not micro-managing their time. If they could spend 1 hour smashing through the work and achieving a great result and then spend 7 hours down at the beach. That would work for me.

Mostly I run an easy going shop, where my staff (all self-starters) govern their own time, and where they work from (if they want to work from home - all good). I review with them (team review) the progress every week, there is nowhere to hide and full accountability for what get's done.

I always back my staff being the very best they can be, and progressing their careers, and I actively facilitate that with open conversations and $$$ for training that will take them beyond their current roles.

Because I support them fully, they support me and the objectives of the team.

I.e. I'm very clear about aligning their personal and professional goals with the needs of the broader business organization, and as a consequence I have self starters who get the job done.

I support people in my team with their goals outside of work, and make sure that everything that needs to happen for them - can happen - as a result I establish high levels of loyalty and team commitment.

It's a huge win-win.

BS jobs are optional - it goes to work place culture. Some workplaces suck.


message 18: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan If someones in a bullshit job, they need to move.

Time is finite and irreplaceable. You only have one life, why waste doing a meaningless job.

Go find something better.

Hey - I cleaned toilets for 7 months in a hospital, now I'm a IT manager. If I can do it - anyone can.


message 19: by Graeme (last edited Jul 03, 2018 12:12AM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan The thing with a "Basic universal Income," is that someone actually has to do the actual labour to produce the real goods and services that the BUI person will consume.

That's a transfer of labor value that leaves the producer with nothing. What are they going to get in return that will compensate them for their efforts.

Zero Sum World Much.

TANSTAAFL


message 20: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments I think I'm starting to get it as far as business is concerned. You set goals, and if people meet them within your time frame, you're happy. And that's fine. But when there are employees who don't have to meet deadlines, who just have this job where they don't have much supervision, like my neighbor who works in medical claims, there's a lot of Amazon shopping and cat video watching, and they're getting paid for that.


message 21: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi Scout, - that's a BS job.

But what the hell - life is passing that person by, one day they'll be staring into their own grave and wondering WTF was it all for.

I've been on crappy, but necessary, jobs.

I worked in a cannery where I spent 8 hours a shift folding cardboard templates into trays for cans to fit into....

Go figure... but I did it. But I also don't do that now.


message 22: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments How did you get through the day?


message 23: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi Scout. At the cannery (and I've had other factory jobs that were just as tedious) it was an act of patience and coming from the view that "this is where I'm at,"

I needed to spend time at the very bottom of the job ladder, I was very arrogant and ignorant, and needed to wake up. (mind you, some scallywags would suggest that nothing has changed...)


message 24: by Holly (new)

Holly (goldikova) My only bullshit job was print and digital advertising sales. The work itself wasn't, just all the corporate circle jerks that were required from the sales force. We could have really increased our revenues if we had spent our time selling instead of sitting around talking about selling.

I actually enjoy doing hard physical labor; it frees up my mind to do some of my best, undistracted thinking. My daily stall cleaning chores are like meditation and I keep my stable immaculate; it always smells like the fresh pine shavings we use as bedding.

Maybe it's just the difference between spending your day doing what you love or doing what is expected of you in order to get that paycheck.


message 25: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2328 comments Scout wrote: "I think I'm starting to get it as far as business is concerned. You set goals, and if people meet them within your time frame, you're happy. And that's fine. But when there are employees who don't ..."

One time I caught a weird series on PBS with some guy describing each of the generations in the workforce and how best to handle them as employees.

He got to Gen X and I felt like he described me to a T! With Gen X, we work better when you give us the end goal and leave it up to us how to achieve it. We're always looking for the most efficient way to get there, and we can't stand the nonsense that feels like a waste of time...hence workplace relationships are not a big thing with us because they feel like a waste of time.

I think with the argument of how employees fill their time, the boss needs to give them the goals they're expected to meet within the time-frame, then judge them on meeting those goals, not punishing them for what else they do in that time.

What might be more relevant to consider, if you have one employee who consistently achieves that goal in less time than his or her peers, maybe you give that person more responsibility - more goals. But then you have to make sure they're getting more for the increased workload...that person has to be paid more than the person who takes longer or they have to be promoted above that less productive individual. Otherwise, if you keep dumping more and more onto your best worker without reward, they're going to leave, and all you'll have are those who drag their feet, those that don't push themselves, those that don't try to improve.


message 26: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi J.J. I'm Gen-X too.


message 27: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments Graeme, J.J., I totally get it when applied to a business setting where production is closely monitored. I'm talking about salaried employees in government or social service kinds of jobs. My neighbor, who processes claims for the hospital, just told me that she has days when all she does is go on Amazon and Facebook because she doesn't feel like working. I'm sure there are many jobs where people can do this. Is this okay with you? If not, should something be done about it? Or is this fine with Gen-X?


message 28: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2328 comments If it's because "she doesn't feel like working," then she should be fired. Though I know in government work, it's almost impossible to fire people...apparently with the whole VA scandal, employees can be directly responsible for the death of veterans, and it still takes and act of Congress to fire them. Maybe in a case like that, you put someone in the most miserable job you have. Then again, a lot of times the problem is their boss who tolerates, even models the behavior themself. In that case, there should be a top-down housecleaning.


message 29: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2328 comments Graeme wrote: "Hi J.J. I'm Gen-X too."

I'm very apathetic to that... :D


message 30: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16036 comments Scout wrote: "I'm talking about salaried employees in government or social service kinds of jobs..."

When one comes to get something done and has to wait until they finish drinking coffee or speaking with the family on the phone, it's indeed annoying. Pls, tell your neighbor to work a little -:)


message 31: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments Heck no, I won't. That's not my job. It's her employer's job to deny access to non work-related websites during working hours and to deny access to personal cell phones. Think of all the hours people are being paid for when they're not actually working. Same for city employees. Just try getting someone to answer their work phone during working hours. It's always voice mail, and you rarely get a call back. Just saying that there should be some kind of regulation because people shouldn't be paid for not doing their jobs.


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