Daniel Pietzsch

Bullshit Jobs

by David Graeber

Book cover of “Bullshit Jobs” by David Graeber

A good book overall and a fascinating – or shall I say “shocking” – glimpse into how many people are convinced they have bullshit jobs that do not contribute to society or are even harmful.

I read this in German, but since I already finished this in late summer, I don’t have too good a memory about details, and so I thought I might as well write up a few thoughts in English.

I have no doubt, that society’s current relationship to “work” is messed up. I know Graeber thinks the same, and this book tries to give weight to this argument. With success, in my opinion.

If you want a taste, maybe start with his original essay “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs”, that started all of this. It’s great. And it’s how I got to know David Graeber back a few years ago.

Strangly enough, though, one thing from this book that stuck with me in particular is kind of a counter-argument: That’s these bullshit jobs exist, because this method or system (somewhat) works. (Some) People can comfortable live from work that does nothing. It’s sort of like a (un)conditional basic income where you have still have to work. And – most importantly – it works within the current democratic and capitalistic framework.

Still, a lot of jobs – including bullshit jobs – are unfairly rewarded, unevenly distributed, or yes, just plain “bullshit” that even makes people that work those jobs sick.

Overall the notion of “jobs” is somewhat absurd and this book will tell you some aspects of how and how much. I recommend!

The book lying on a outdoor table at a cafe together with my camera and a glas of lemonade.