Your Job Probably Achieves Nothing (Bullshit Jobs)

Your Job Probably Achieves Nothing (Bullshit Jobs)

Book Review of Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber

Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber is a must-read if you’re seeking a book that will have you rethinking everything you thought you understood about employment. Graeber, an anthropologist, and activist, examine closely how bullshit jobs—unneeded, unsatisfactory, or both—proliferate in our society and how they consume it. He presents a convincing argument for why bullshit occupations rob us of our time and dignity and fuel social instability and inequity. This book is guaranteed to challenge your preconceptions and give you a lot to think about, whether you’re stuck in a bullshit job yourself or just intrigued about the phenomena.

Here are five types of bullshit jobs the author describes in his book:

  1. The Flunkies: Flunky jobs exist only or primarily to make someone else look or feel important.
  2. The Duct-Tapers: ” Employees whose jobs exist only because of a glitch or fault in the organization; who are there to solve a problem that ought not to exist.”
  3. Box-Tickers: “Employees who exist only or primarily to allow an organization to be able to claim it is doing something that, in fact, it is not doing.”
  4. The Goons: Graeber describes goons as “People whose jobs have an aggressive element, but, crucially, who exist only because other people employ them.” Some examples include lobbyists, PR Specialists, telemarketers, and corporate lawyers.
  5. The Task-Masters: They come in two distinct flavors: The ones who tell their underlings what to do and those who actively invent bullshit work for those underlings to do.

Book Summary

In his book “Bullshit Employment: A Theory,” anthropologist David Graeber contends that many people work in fruitless and unsatisfying jobs. Graeber investigates why so many of us work in positions that seem to offer no actual value or service to society in this thorough examination of the labor market. He asserts that forced activity has permeated society and identifies the sociological causes at work, including employers determined to uphold hierarchical systems and governments scrambling to placate unruly people. Importantly, he promotes a different course of action in which genuine human connection is reestablished and reinforced by fruitful employment for everyone. It’s an ambitious idea, but if we can just put it into practice, it might significantly impact how we work and live.

Bullshit jobs are the ones that feel pointless to many who work them and meaningless to those that watch others do them. A real job is one that directly creates, designs, or directly sells a product. Other real jobs manage a business’s direct operation or deal directly with customers’ needs. This explains why massive layoffs are so easy in corporate America, as they increase unneeded jobs at an alarming rate.

10 Signs That You May Have a Lousy Job

Whether or not a job is lousy is subjective and affected by people’s personal experiences and personality types. One person’s bullshit job may be another person’s treasure. But some factors stand out when it comes to bad jobs, boring work, long work hours, or too little compensation.

It’s essential to stay aware of the signs that indicate you may have a lousy job so that you can be proactive about taking action if things start heading in the wrong direction. Here are ten surefire ways to tell if your current job is not meeting your needs:

  1. Long hours with no increase in pay – If you find yourself regularly clocking in more hours but seeing no compensation improvement, this could indicate that your job is not providing enough rewards or recognition for your hard work. This applies to salaried people that have bosses that put no boundaries between work and personal life.
  2. Poor or nonexistent benefits – Without proper benefits, such as health insurance, retirement, sick leave, or vacation time, it’s not easy to maintain balance and good health while at work.
  3. Lack of career advancement opportunities – When there isn’t enough genuine effort being put into helping you grow professionally within your position, it might be time to move on to another opportunity where you can continue progressing.
  4. Unsupportive coworkers or management – Feeling unsupported by those around you at work can lead to burnout and low morale; keep an eye out for any lack of respect or tacit encouragement from colleagues and supervisors alike.
  5. Inadequate resources available – Regularly taking shortcuts because of limited resources can become frustrating and often lead to low productivity over time.
  6. Frequent company policies and procedures changes – Is there ever-shifting ground regarding rules? If so, it could be because the employer doesn’t place value on investing in stability—a sign of a potentially dissatisfied workplace.
  7. Stifling environment with no room for creativity or innovation – An atmosphere like this is rarely conducive to success.
  8. Unrealistic expectations placed upon employees with unrealistic deadlines – This indicates poor management strategies and sends a warning sign that this may not be an excellent place to build a career long-term.
  9. Low wages compared to equivalent positions at competing companies – Maintaining motivation is difficult if the salary isn’t commensurate with industry standards, leaving many feeling they should move on even if they enjoy what they do.
  10. No feedback or recognition given by management – Not receiving positive reinforcement will make any employee feel unappreciated and eventually discouraged from going above and beyond their duties.


‘Bullshit Jobs: A Theory’ is a thought-provoking book that explores the causes and effects of what has become a worldwide phenomenon — pointless, often soul-sucking jobs. By examining why this class of work exists and its consequences on those who perform it, author David Graeber provides a multifaceted look into an issue too many modern workers can relate to. It’s an essential read for anyone looking to gain insight into a critical aspect of our economy today and should be required for all decision-makers.

According to David Graeber’s book, a lot of jobs are “bullshit” that serve to enrich others. Although I found myself in agreement with him on a lot of topics, I also thought the book was a little biased. Yes, there are a lot of lousy and pointless jobs out there, but there are also many excellent ones, especially if you can combine your passions with your work and go into business for yourself. I found this book to be well-written and eye-opening—a very fun and thought-provoking read.

Your Job Probably Achieves Nothing (Bullshit Jobs)