Response #9- Phenomenon of BS jobs


David Graeber’s piece on the abundance of BS jobs puts forth the idea that half of the jobs we do don’t matter. The idea he proposes on the second page of the text ” The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is聽a mortal danger” is radical. However if you give it thought along with the other evidence he suggests it doesn’t seem so crazy. Saying that by keeping people busy with mediocre jobs you keep them from organizing and rebelling against the machine that is the ruling class.

He gives an example of an entire class of salaried “professionals” that given a few drinks will dismiss the relevance of their job entirely. This being said think about how many instances on any given work day you think to yourself “Who聽even cares about this” or “Why are they making me do this project”. More often than not the answer escapes you and we seem to be on an endless cycle of 9-5 busy work.

Jobs of heroism or of significance, as Graeber claims, often see the largest struggle and fairness when it comes to salary. Think about the MTA strikes, teachers union strikes and how they felt there weren’t properly being compensated. Then think of the last time clerical assistants or receptionists went on strike. Jobs like those are the ones that seem to exist for no other reason than “for the sake of keeping us all working” (page,2).

If the majority of the population have meaningless and trivial jobs and spend only 15 of our 40 working hours being productive, what is the point in earning a degree聽or favoring a trade?聽Considering how difficult it is to find a job in your discipline and how often we end up doing jobs unrelated to what we paid聽thousands of dollars to聽master聽and then the odds we will find a job we’re actually good at, its聽easy to get聽discouraged.

If what Graeber says is true we have to consider the alternate possibility that not everyone is meant to have a meaningful job, there simply are not enough jobs for the profound size of our population.

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