“We have come to believe that men and women who do not work harder than they wish at jobs they do not particularly enjoy are and people unworthy of love, care, or assistance from their communities. It is as if we have collectively acquiesced to our own enslavement.”

Bullshit jobs create dissonance within the employee – they recognise their role to be pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious, while also obliged to perform a fiction that the role has inherent importance

Basic bullshit jobs typography contains 5 categories: flunkies, goons, duct tapers, box tickers, taskmasters.

Flunkies are created to generate status for those above them. See: Front of house reception to signal this is a Serious Organisation, direct reports to bolster headcount

Goons’ condition of employment requires employing manipulative or aggressive means to push people to make choices that are not in their best interest. In some cases goons exist to neutralise the threat of a competitor’s goons. See: telemarketers, lobbyists, corporate lawyers

Duct tapers are my people. These roles exist in the spaces between systems, employed to wallpaper over an underlying problem. Some roles could be automated, others replaced through a deeper intervention. They tend to know it’s a bullshit job and are usually quite angry about it

Box tickers are a product of the theatre of work. Through acts of paperwork, report writing, and form processing, these roles create an official narrative that rarely resembles reality, and often get in the way of their intended purpose. See: bureaucrats, compliance, reporting

2 types of Taskmasters: unnecessary supervisors who manage people capable of managing themselves, or bullshit generators who exist to create bullshit tasks for other people. See: middle management, performance monitoring

Karl Groos describes ‘the pleasure at being the cause,’ the joy of recognising your agency to influence the outside world, as the basis for play and a foundational framing for a sense of self. Work that denies your ability to influence undermines your sense of self.

“A worker’s time is not his own; it belongs to the person who bought it. Insofar as an employee is not working, she is stealing something for which the employer paid good money. By this moral logic, it’s not that idleness is dangerous. Idleness is theft.”-DG

“Being forced to pretend to work, we discovered, was the most absolute indignity – because it was impossible to pretend it was anything but what it was: pure degradation, a sheer exercise of the boss’s power for it’s own sake.”-DG

“Flunkies are created because those in powerful positions in an organisation see underlings as badges of prestige; goons are hired due to a dynamic of one-upmanship (if our rivals employ a top law firm, then so, too, must we)… 1/

…duct-taper positions are created because sometimes organisations find it more difficult to fix a problem than to deal with its consequences; 2/

box-ticker positions exist because, within large organisations, paperwork attesting to the fact that certain actions have been taken often comes to be seen as more important than the actions themselves; 3/

taskmasters exist largely as side effects of various forms of impersonal authority.”

“Since there’s no scientific definition of what a ‘human need’ actually is, beyond the body’s minimal caloric and nutritional requirements, and a few other physical factors, such questions must always be subjective. To a large degree, needs are just other people’s expectations.”

“The world we inhabit is something we made, collectively, as a society, and therefore, that we could have made differently… every [object] was grown or manufactured by someone on the basis of what someone imagined we might be like, and what they thought we might want or need.”

“Even if we don’t like what the world looks like, the fact remains that the conscious aims of most of our actions… is to do well by others… Our actions are caught up in relations of caring. But most caring relations require we leave the world more or less as we found it…

… Love for others – people, animals, landscapes – regularly requires the maintenance of institutional structures one might otherwise despise.”

“We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everyone has to be employed at some sort of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist” – Buckminster Fuller

The paradox of modern work: 1. Most people’s sense of dignity and self-worth is caught up in working for a living 2. Most people hate their jobs

“[We] are faced with the choice between doing useful and important work like taking care of children but being effectively told that the gratification of helping others should be its own reward, and it’s up to them to figure out how to pay their bills…

…or accepting pointless and degrading work that destroys their mind and body for no particular reason, other than a widespread feeling that if one does not engage in [such] labour, whether or not there is a reason to be doing it, one does not deserve to live.”

“We have invented a bizarre sadomasochistic dialectic whereby we we feel that pain in the workplace is the only possible justification for our furtive consumer pleasures, and… furtive consumer pleasures are the only ones we have time to afford.”

“What [Universal] Basic Income ultimately proposes is to detach livelihood from work. Its immediate effect would be to massively reduce the amount of bureaucracy in any country that implemented it.”