This is a review that I wrote for goodreads of this excellent book by David Graeber. With an open mind you will never look at your job the same way again.
Brilliant. I’m a big fan of David Graeber an anthropologist and anarchist. Having worked in a large corporation part of my job was bullshit but thankfully most of it wasn’t so I can identify with those who sent in their experiences on which David bases much of his book. John Maynard Keynes predicted that by now we should be working something like 15 hours per week and that technology would allow us to have much more free time but for some reason we aren’t. David puts forward the theory that the elite are scared of what the masses would get up to if we did so with the help of the finance industry have got many working in pointless jobs filling in spreadsheets and reporting on meetings all the while be paying a good salary to do so. Meanwhile those doing meaningful and what he calls caring jobs, nurses, road sweepers, teachers and the like get paid extremely badly are being squeezed further. We have all heard of nurses having to use food banks. How is this situation maintained? Well many more go into further education and come out with huge student debt. David uses the example of a lawyer who might want to work in the public interest field but can’t because of student debt. He also makes the point that even left wing parties in the US and UK have been taken over by the sort of people who are school or hospital administrators, those same people who create the bullshit forms and spreadsheets and therefore the majority of people are no longer being truly represented. In the last chapter he tells of his liking for universal basic income and describes the current industry to deal of claiming benefits where thousands of people are employed to make poor people feel bad. There are many other aspects of society and Bullshit jobs and how we got to where we are today that David covers. So you need to read the book and if you work in a large organisation look at what you do and ask yourself, “Do I have a bullshit job?” and take a long hard look at your colleagues and say to yourself, “That’s definitely a bullshit job”.