My Exposure to a 70% Bullshit Job

Submitted by PerfectSociety in antiwork

I recently completed a visiting student rotation in Critical Care. During this rotation, I noticed that 70% of my attending physician's time and effort on the job was spent on documentation. In other words, only 30% of his work was actually clinical in nature.

While I've always agreed with David Graeber's notion of Bullshit Jobs, this was the first time I had seen it so blatantly with my own eyes. It really drove home the idea that many of us could be working a lot less than we currently do and still produce the same output.

I'm curious: What is the worst example of a Bullshit Job you have personally seen? What was it about the work that was Bullshit?


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Cheeks wrote

I worked for 7 years as a systems and network administrator at a major southern university. The first 2 years I worked about 20 actual hours a week and was forced to log about 50 hours. I spent the downtime of that 20 hours automating most of my repetitious tasks. By the end of that first 2 years I was working about 5 actual hours a week and about 4 times a year, for maintenance and upgrades that could come to about 15 hours on those weeks, but was still mandated to log 50 hours a week. Crazy.

I noticed, looking around my department, that this was normal for most of us. I also noticed that most of the 'busy' work, number crunching, clerical, data entry, was given to only a few who maintained heavy work loads. So I developed tools and software to ease some of their workload only to see management purposefully create more useless 'busy' work for them.

It still blows my mind, the inefficiencies, and general uselessness of the work they were being forced into.


Tequila_Wolf wrote

Jobs in advertising for me are among the most painful cases of bullshit jobs. Bullshit plus mass manipulation is a disgusting combination.

The examples that he touches on in his book right in the beginning, like the guy whose job was so bullshit nobody noticed he was gone for six years, are pretty spectacular though.

There are copies of the book and the audiobook floating around this site, if anybody is interested in reading beyond the short essay linked in the OP.