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Liffguard

Bull**it Jobs

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4 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

A few things. You say a decent job. There's a large segment of the populace that have only access to shit jobs. Ever heard of the people that want to win the Lottery so that they can quit their jobs? Do these sound like people that love working for the sake of working? The higher up the food chain a person is, the more they think that work is the greatest thing in existence. Simply because that person is treated better at work and they have more control. It's a form of privilege.

Different personality types enjoy work more than others.

People suffering with physical and mental health problems may not enjoy work or may suffer difficulties in accomplishing it. But, they can get disability right? It's not nearly that simple. You can be half disabled or a quarter disabled. There won't be any give in the system to help you. If you can find a way to earn 1300 a month you can get Medicaid, but then you have to find a way to live on 1300  per month.

Work doesn't necessarily need to vanish, nor does it necessarily have to be 40 hours per week. It could be 30 for example, and give more people on the sidelines a chance. Also, people could volunteer. It's quite different, as it is not compulsory. 

 

I'm aware of all these issues. And I think you know that I'm am. Lets not pretend I'm unaware of situations like where Amazon won't turn on the air conditioning nor open up the doors to their warehouse, causing its workers to have to go to the hospital because of heat exhaustion.

For one, I'm in favor of policies that would help people avoid shit jobs. Secondly, given the fact some people may have to take shit jobs  or at least tough ones is why I'm in favor of things like minimum wage and and increasing the strength of unions. If people have to work a tough job, I'm very interested in them getting paid decently or them getting an opportunity to find a better one. Some jobs wouldn't be so shitty if issues like low pay, bad conditions, or incompetent management were taken care of.

Also, I'm aware of that some people may not be able to work because of physical and mental disabilities. It's a reason why I support social safety nets, but I think you know that.

And as far as giving people on the "sidelines a chance" why do you think I rant so much about full employment policies? Stonger labor markets help people on the sidelines to find jobs. It also gives them better bargaining power.

Despite all these issues, I still stand by my claim that having a decent job is important for most people, even if a lot of people have trouble finding a decent job. I really don't need to be told that many jobs are shit jobs, that usually are a combination of low pay and bad conditions. I have done them. Nor do I have to be told that people take shit jobs because they don't have a choice. I'm interested in giving them more choices and making the shit jobs less shitty. And both those things are policy choice we as a country can choose to make.

Of course, saying that having a decent job is important to most people doesn't imply that most people want to work 60 hours a week or that the standard American work week of 40 hours (and a lot of people work a lot more than that) is best. A shorter work week, like what is done in Europe, might be better for most people.

 

Edited by OldGimletEye

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7 hours ago, ThinkerX said:

'idle hands are the devils workshop.'  And those on basic universal income would be the devils workers.  Best BS jobs of some sort that would keep these people occupied rather than time for mischief. Otherwise, it's a potential end to civilization. 

This is ridiculous. The modern entertainment industry is so advanced that most of us are far too busy looking at screens to commit any kind of crime.
And it's only going to get worse -or better- with VR. Very soon -if not already- anyone without the means of having a glorious real life will simply escape to fictional/virtual ones. Crime will plummet.

The risk is not that civilization crumbles, it's that we retreat to worlds where we can control more parameters than the real one*. And that's probably not much of a risk.
 

*which leads to an interesting thought experiment if we posit that ours is already a virtual world eh eh...

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21 hours ago, OldGimletEye said:

I have no idea what your point is here.

 

19 hours ago, Durckad said:

I think his point is that bullshit jobs are not relegated only (or primarily) to entry level and low paying positions but are distributed across all income level positions. Maybe not equally but still.

Sorry, I didn't communicate very well, but yes this is what I meant. Except I'd go further, and say that bullshit jobs will probably be found disproportionately in the higher pay bands rather than the lower ones. Bullshit jobs are mostly white-collar.

 

11 hours ago, ThinkerX said:

to be blunt, at the risk of thread derailment:

'idle hands are the devils workshop.'  And those on basic universal income would be the devils workers.  Best BS jobs of some sort that would keep these people occupied rather than time for mischief. Otherwise, it's a potential end to civilization. 

I'm not sure I agree with this at all. I think that most people need a purpose, or feel a need to contribute to society. But I disagree that a bullshit job is better than being able to survive without working. Bullshit jobs really are soul-crushing. I've worked in jobs that involved hard, phyiscal outdoor work. And I'm currently working in a cushy office job in which I spend 90% of my time doing sweet fuck all. The pointless office job is by far worse for my mental health. One of the fundamental themes of Graeber's book is examining the serious mental health consequences of bullshit work - either in having to constantly pretend to look busy, or working hard at tasks that you know don't actually achieve anything meaningful in the real world. The anxiety, the cognitive dissonance, they take a toll. Another major theme is breaking down the idea that "work" is valuable in and of itself, outside of what it can be used to achieve. He spends a lot of pages looking into the idea of the protestant work ethic, how it came about, and it's inherent philosophical incoherency.

 

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8 hours ago, OldGimletEye said:

I'm aware of all these issues. And I think you know that I'm am. Lets not pretend I'm unaware of situations like where Amazon won't turn on the air conditioning nor open up the doors to their warehouse, causing its workers to have to go to the hospital because of heat exhaustion.

For one, I'm in favor of policies that would help people avoid shit jobs. Secondly, given the fact some people may have to take shit jobs  or at least tough ones is why I'm in favor of things like minimum wage and and increasing the strength of unions. If people have to work a tough job, I'm very interested in them getting paid decently or them getting an opportunity to find a better one. Some jobs wouldn't be so shitty if issues like low pay, bad conditions, or incompetent management were taken care of.

Also, I'm aware of that some people may not be able to work because of physical and mental disabilities. It's a reason why I support social safety nets, but I think you know that.

And as far as giving people on the "sidelines a chance" why do you think I rant so much about full employment policies? Stonger labor markets help people on the sidelines to find jobs. It also gives them better bargaining power.

Despite all these issues, I still stand by my claim that having a decent job is important for most people, even if a lot of people have trouble finding a decent job. I really don't need to be told that many jobs are shit jobs, that usually are a combination of low pay and bad conditions. I have done them. Nor do I have to be told that people take shit jobs because they don't have a choice. I'm interested in giving them more choices and making the shit jobs less shitty. And both those things are policy choice we as a country can choose to make.

Of course, saying that having a decent job is important to most people doesn't imply that most people want to work 60 hours a week or that the standard American work week of 40 hours (and a lot of people work a lot more than that) is best. A shorter work week, like what is done in Europe, might be better for most people.

 

I agree with the points you raise here, but I also think you're missing the difference between a shit job and a bullshit job. A shit job is unpleasant, or low paid, or involves long hours, or all of the above, but likely still serves a useful function. A bullshit job is one that's so useless it could just as well not exist. And whilst a bullshit job can certainly also be a shit job, many bullshit jobs actually involve quite comfortable conditions, high pay, and lots of prestige and respect. In fact, the book goes so far as to claim that on average, the more useful a job is to society, the less likely it is to be paid well.

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I often wonder if the generally low levels of productivity we've seen , especially in Britain is due in some part to the number of Bullshit jobs and the general lack of satisfaction within them.

Having worked in a number of offices and a number of companies in my life I get the sense that there are a few sectors that really seem to create cultures where people do nothing all day, and have no idea why they bother going to work at all. 

Having moved away from industries where output is easy to identify such as manufacturing, towards industries where the output of individual workers is pretty vague and hard to quantify like say office based service sector, maybe we have also created environments for large numbers of workers where their output is almost zero or has almost no real financial benefit. 

From experience I see people spending their entire day creating decks for meetings, or spreadsheets for someone else to present in a meeting, or just going to meetings talking about meetings. I've done these jobs and they produce almost no value most of the time and are totally dispiriting. If those meetings and presentations were removed would the company's profit margin be any worse? Probably not. 



 

Edited by Heartofice

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21 hours ago, OldGimletEye said:

I'm aware of all these issues. And I think you know that I'm am. Lets not pretend I'm unaware of situations like where Amazon won't turn on the air conditioning nor open up the doors to their warehouse, causing its workers to have to go to the hospital because of heat exhaustion.

For one, I'm in favor of policies that would help people avoid shit jobs. Secondly, given the fact some people may have to take shit jobs  or at least tough ones is why I'm in favor of things like minimum wage and and increasing the strength of unions. If people have to work a tough job, I'm very interested in them getting paid decently or them getting an opportunity to find a better one. Some jobs wouldn't be so shitty if issues like low pay, bad conditions, or incompetent management were taken care of.

Also, I'm aware of that some people may not be able to work because of physical and mental disabilities. It's a reason why I support social safety nets, but I think you know that.

And as far as giving people on the "sidelines a chance" why do you think I rant so much about full employment policies? Stonger labor markets help people on the sidelines to find jobs. It also gives them better bargaining power.

Despite all these issues, I still stand by my claim that having a decent job is important for most people, even if a lot of people have trouble finding a decent job. I really don't need to be told that many jobs are shit jobs, that usually are a combination of low pay and bad conditions. I have done them. Nor do I have to be told that people take shit jobs because they don't have a choice. I'm interested in giving them more choices and making the shit jobs less shitty. And both those things are policy choice we as a country can choose to make.

Of course, saying that having a decent job is important to most people doesn't imply that most people want to work 60 hours a week or that the standard American work week of 40 hours (and a lot of people work a lot more than that) is best. A shorter work week, like what is done in Europe, might be better for most people.

 

Yeah, I'm aware that you are likely familiar with these issues. I'm bringing up things I know that you likely know because you are calling for full employment. (and I take it compulsory employment) And yeah sure there indeed things we could do to make shitty jobs less shitty. I'm skeptical that we are actually going to do them though. If things go as we are trending for a long time now, more masses of people will be cast into shit jobs. 

I think we agree on a lot, such as the safety net and the 30 hour work week. I'm just not as in love with the employment system as you are. I see UBI as a possible way to liberate some people from these shit jobs. In fact, it could help make a 30 hour work week. 

And you did not really address what I said about disability. OK, we both agree on a strong safety net. Leave aside that we don't really have one of those. I wasn't pointing out fully disabled people, which we both agree should not have to work. I'm talking about people with physical, mental, and addiction issues that are somehow managing to limp along in the employment system. I'm talking from person experience. I've worked many times quite ill in the pre-ACA days. And it certainly was not due to me being fanatically loyal to the company. 

Edited to add. I just had a friend die at the age of 42. Can you guess his profession at the time of death? You likely guessed Amazon Warehouse worker. Pretty close. He was actually a mover for Amazon. Now, he had some bad habits, such as excessive drinking, so I'm not entirely sure if Amazon is to blame. They kind of have that reputation though. And that is the reality we live in. His heart burst. Actually, the doctors said that he had a previous heart attack and never went in for it. 

I would assume you don't want people to die, but Bezos is a billionaire and quite happy to allow such things to go on if it makes him the world's richest man.

Edited by Martell Spy

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6 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

Yeah, I'm aware that you are likely familiar with these issues. I'm bringing up things I know that you likely know because you are calling for full employment. (and I take it compulsory employment) And yeah sure there indeed things we could do to make shitty jobs less shitty. I'm skeptical that we are actually going to do them though. If things go as we are trending for a long time now, more masses of people will be cast into shit jobs. 

When I say "full employment" I don't mean putting a pistol to somebody's head and forcing them to work.

What I mean is policies that bring about tight labor markets. When the demand for labor is high people on the margins of society often get a chance. We read about employers considering hiring ex felons. We read about construction companies reaching out to women, who might not have been considered for those jobs when labor markets are not tight.

And then much of the so called "skills gap" mysteriously disappears.

The poor and the marginalized benefit tremendously from tight labor markets. Not only does it give them the ability to enter the work force it also gives them better bargaining power as they have more ability to leave a shitty job.

6 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

I think we agree on a lot, such as the safety net and the 30 hour work week. I'm just not as in love with the employment system as you are. I see UBI as a possible way to liberate some people from these shit jobs. In fact, it could help make a 30 hour work week. 

I have nothing against UBI. But until AI technology is able to produce everything we want, I don't think its going to give everyone a reasonably comfortable living. At this juncture, I think its quite delusional for liberals to pin all their hopes on UBI.  It's at a best a complement to other policies, including policies that keep labor markets tight ie full employment policies.

Other policies would include education policy and reducing frictions in labor markets.

6 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

 Edited to add. I just had a friend die at the age of 42. Can you guess his profession at the time of death? You likely guessed Amazon Warehouse worker. Pretty close. He was actually a mover for Amazon. Now, he had some bad habits, such as excessive drinking, so I'm not entirely sure if Amazon is to blame. They kind of have that reputation though. And that is the reality we live in. His heart burst. Actually, the doctors said that he had a previous heart attack and never went in for it. 

I would assume you don't want people to die, but Bezos is a billionaire and quite happy to allow such things to go on if it makes him the world's richest man.

Well, I don't have the highest opinion of Jeff Bozo as you probably know. Bozo and his antics are tolerated here in the US and in the UK.  One country where Bozo's antics aren't put up with that much, evidently, is Germany where labor unions still have some clout.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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17 hours ago, Liffguard said:

I agree with the points you raise here, but I also think you're missing the difference between a shit job and a bullshit job. A shit job is unpleasant, or low paid, or involves long hours, or all of the above, but likely still serves a useful function. A bullshit job is one that's so useless it could just as well not exist. And whilst a bullshit job can certainly also be a shit job, many bullshit jobs actually involve quite comfortable conditions, high pay, and lots of prestige and respect. In fact, the book goes so far as to claim that on average, the more useful a job is to society, the less likely it is to be paid well.

Well there is certainly quite a few of high paying professions that are capable of producing a lot of bull shit, if not outright bullshit jobs. A short list would included CEOs, the finance profession, the legal profession, and lobbyist.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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Graeber's book is examining the serious mental health consequences of bullshit work 

this works well with mark fisher's analysis of mental health in capitalist realism, which develops The notion that post-fordist economics and their consequent precarity cause systemic schizophrenia:

Quote

The current ruling ontology denies any possibility of a social causation of mental illness. The chemico-biologization of mental illness is of course strictly commensurate with its depoliticization. (37)

this schizophrenization occurs in part because of the importance in a bullshit job of valuing signification over substance:

Quote

a system which can be characterized without hyperbole as 'market Stalinism'. What late  capitalism repeats from Stalinism is just this valuing of symbols of achievement over actual achievement. (42-43)

good times.  

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I'll have been on the tube between meetings for 4 hours today. I was not needed at any of them other than to show stakeholders were being consulted with. Bullshit job central. 

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5 hours ago, OldGimletEye said:

When I say "full employment" I don't mean putting a pistol to somebody's head and forcing them to work.

What I mean is policies that bring about tight labor markets. When the demand for labor is high people on the margins of society often get a chance. We read about employers considering hiring ex felons. We read about construction companies reaching out to women, who might not have been considered for those jobs when labor markets are not tight.

And then much of the so called "skills gap" mysteriously disappears.

The poor and the marginalized benefit tremendously from tight labor markets. Not only does it give them the ability to enter the work force it also gives them better bargaining power as they have more ability to leave a shitty job.

I have nothing against UBI. But until AI technology is able to produce everything we want, I don't think its going to give everyone a reasonably comfortable living. At this juncture, I think its quite delusional for liberals to pin all their hopes on UBI.  It's at a best a complement to other policies, including policies that keep labor markets tight ie full employment policies.

Other policies would include education policy and reducing frictions in labor markets.

Well, I don't have the highest opinion of Jeff Bozo as you probably know. Bozo and his antics are tolerated here in the US and in the UK.  One country where Bozo's antics aren't put up with that much, evidently, is Germany where labor unions still have some clout.

The gun is poverty, making rent, and being forced out into the streets. I don't really have a problem with trying for full employment. I'm just not very enamored with the system as it is. 

I don't think UBU and AI technology could immediately produce everything we want, no. I just think it's a compliment and could help achieve a 30-hour work week. Some things are more important, like achieving universal healthcare if you are in a backwards country without it. The 30-hour work week also opens slots that are currently taken up for people getting left behind. 

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Speaking of BS jobs, my office manager’s new job seems to be coaching us to lie to federal inspectors while also clearly saying she isn’t telling us to lie to federal inspectors.

I so badly hope they select me for a random interview.

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3 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

I don't think UBU and AI technology could immediately produce everything we want, no. I just think it's a compliment and could help achieve a 30-hour work week.

Standard working week is already 35-37,5h/week in France, with UBI, automation, the internet and AI it could easily go down to 20.
In fact we could already be there if it weren't for the success of a very conservative way of seeing work/labor as a positive in itself.

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Re: that idle hands nonsense... The eventual goal should be a Culture-esque total unemployment.  This full employment is total crap, someone should run on full unemployment and I will canvass for them like a caveman lawyer on speed.

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Interested to know what people would be doing with their lives in this unemployed world? 

The answer i often hear is ‘creating great art’ but i find that quite unlikely. 

Almost certainly we’ll see an even bigger increase in people feeling aimless and unfulfilled , even more then they do with all these bullshit jobs. 

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2 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Interested to know what people would be doing with their lives in this unemployed world? 

The answer i often hear is ‘creating great art’ but i find that quite unlikely. 

Almost certainly we’ll see an even bigger increase in people feeling aimless and unfulfilled , even more then they do with all these bullshit jobs. 

Why does it have to be "great" art to be fulfilling? Why can't I just get pretty decent at the piano for my own enjoyment? Play amateur sports. Study science in my own time. Socialise. Just...relax and chat with friends on a hillside. Go kayaking. None of this is particularly complicated to me. Am I just being naive here?

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22 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Interested to know what people would be doing with their lives in this unemployed world? 

The answer i often hear is ‘creating great art’ but i find that quite unlikely. 

Almost certainly we’ll see an even bigger increase in people feeling aimless and unfulfilled , even more then they do with all these bullshit jobs. 

Read, play video games, learn to draw, write, socialize. Pretty much the same things I do now just without the interruption of work. You have any idea how awesome it would be to be able to fuck off into the woods for a couple days whenever I felt like it?

The only thing I might do that's new would be reconnect with family and friends that I don't get to see much because I moved for my job.

18 minutes ago, Liffguard said:

Why does it have to be "great" art to be fulfilling? Why can't I just get pretty decent at the piano for my own enjoyment? Play amateur sports. Study science in my own time. Socialise. Just...relax and chat with friends on a hillside. Go kayaking. None of this is particularly complicated to me. Am I just being naive here?

I don't think so, people are under this weird delusion that there aren't tons of things we could be doing rather than working. Even take out all the creative stuff. I'll become a forest critter. Wandering between the Rockies and the beach as the mood takes me.

Edited by TrueMetis

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29 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Interested to know what people would be doing with their lives in this unemployed world? 

The answer i often hear is ‘creating great art’ but i find that quite unlikely. 

Almost certainly we’ll see an even bigger increase in people feeling aimless and unfulfilled , even more then they do with all these bullshit jobs. 

Exactly what I do now. Sports. 

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26 minutes ago, Liffguard said:

Why does it have to be "great" art to be fulfilling? Why can't I just get pretty decent at the piano for my own enjoyment? Play amateur sports. Study science in my own time. Socialise. Just...relax and chat with friends on a hillside. Go kayaking. None of this is particularly complicated to me. Am I just being naive here?

Nope. I'd love to never work another hour in my life and I know damn well I'd be able to find stuff to fulfill me! 

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22 minutes ago, Liffguard said:

Why does it have to be "great" art to be fulfilling? Why can't I just get pretty decent at the piano for my own enjoyment? Play amateur sports. Study science in my own time. Socialise. Just...relax and chat with friends on a hillside. Go kayaking. None of this is particularly complicated to me. Am I just being naive here?

Have to say yes it is a bit naive. It sounds great on paper especially if you’re doing a 9-5 grind, but when it comes down to it it’s really not all that.

Ive had numerous periods in my life where I was unemployed , by choice, and had the freedom to do what I wanted. Sometimes it was fantastic and felt freeing ,  but quite quickly I lost all sense of purpose or reason to get up in the morning. Playing computer games, painting or playing guitar doesn’t really fulfil all your needs for very long.

I now take a lot of benefits out of my work,  it gives me purpose and a goal and a sense of my own achievement. Those are important things.

Having a reason to actually live and feel like you are doing something is so very important, hence why Bullshit jobs are so damaging to our mental health. Replacing them with doing nothing isn’t really much better.

And sure, we could all potentially just end up doing charity work or something or helping people, but let’s be honest, most people will probably just play computer games and stay in bed. 

 

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