Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Punching the clock

"Our society values work. We expect a job to serve a purpose and to have a larger meaning. For workers who have internalized this value system, there is little that is more demoralizing than waking up five days a week to perform a task that one believes is a waste of time.

It’s not obvious, however, why having a pointless job makes people quite so miserable. After all, a large portion of the workforce is being paid—often very good money—to do nothing. They might consider themselves fortunate. Instead, many feel worth- less and depressed....

The make-believe aspect of the work is precisely what performers of bullshit jobs find the most infuriating. Just about anyone in a supervised wage-labor job finds it maddening to pretend to be busy. Working is meant to serve a purpose—if make-believe play is an expression of human freedom, then make-believe work imposed by others represents a total lack of freedom. It’s unsurprising, then, that the first historical occurrence of the notion that some people ought to be working at all times, or that work should be made up to fill their time even in the absence of things that need doing, concerns workers who are not free: prisoners and slaves."
-David Graeber, "Punching the Clock"

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