Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Bullshit Jobs!

David Graeber's article on Bullshit Jobs for Strike! magazine seems to be getting a lot of attention all of a sudden, and deservedly so. 

Though I'm a big fan of Strike! and was very flattered to be asked to contribute something to their Summer issue I was up to my eyes in comics and other stuff and so had to turn them down. Then Strike!'s editor cunningly dangled David Graeber's article in front of my face. I read it and couldn't say no. 

It's a thought provoking piece and, as someone who has more than once suspected that their current mode of employment was ultimately (whisper it) a bit pointless, it really struck a chord with me.

It's much better and more persuasively written than I can manage but allow me to quote one of my favourite passages: "A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It’s not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.)"

It's also really good on the 'psychological violence' that results from our situation, the frustration, boredom, anger and shame that comes from that niggling feeling that you are literally wasting your time on this planet. It was this aspect of the piece that led me down the route I took for the accompanying illustration, that sense of feeling trapped, helpless but also angry. (Appropriately, there's definitely some Francis Bacon in there.)

You can read the full article here and you can buy a copy of Strike! from the same website.

David's impressive looking tome Debt: The First 5000 Years is on my bookshelf and is next on my reading list.


  1. Great illustration!

    May I have permission to use it on my blog post which talks about this article?

  2. Thanks Sue, yes, that would be fine.