I’m often asked where I come up with so much material and how I’m tied into the current zeitgeist of issues affecting people. I’d like to say that I’m so smart, but that’s not really the case. In my recruiting practice, I’m fortunate enough to come into contact with dozens of intelligent and accomplished professionals every day. They freely share their stories and experiences and many want me to write about them—so others could gain from their trials, tribulations and successes.
Today, for example, while discussing how he felt trapped in his job, an experienced professional who is in a high-level role at a reputable institution, turned me onto a concept. He told me about an anthropologist-turned-professor at the London School of Economics, David Graeber, who coined the term and wrote a best-selling book entitled Bullshit Jobs.
Graeber’s theory is that the vast majority of people, including office workers, administrators, management consultants, telemarketers, corporate attorneys, public relations and others are wasting their lives in meaningless, unnecessary jobs. He contends that the people in these jobs know that it’s bullshit and are professionally unsatisfied and spiritually bankrupt. Graeber contends that corporate lawyers and others feel that if their jobs no longer existed, no one would notice or care and the world would be a better place. He takes it a step further and argues that these people become psychologically damaged.
I think it’s a condescending theory crudely designed to capitalize on the scatalogical title. It’s presumptuous for an anthropologist-turned-professor to call out someone else’s pointless job.