What about jobs that are just partly bullshit? There are very few jobs that don’t involve at least a few pointless or idiotic elements. To some degree, this is probably just the inevitable side effect of the workings of any complex organization. The problem is getting worse and Graeber calls this trend 'the bullshitization of society' - 'I don’t think I know anyone who has had the same job for thirty years or more who doesn’t feel that the bullshit quotient has increased over the time he or she has been doing it.'
For example, take the case of teachers in higher education. They spend increasing amounts of time filling out administrative paperwork rather than teaching. According to a survey, the amount of time American office workers say they devoted to their actual duties declined from 46 percent in 2015 to 39 percent in 2016, owing to a proportionate rise in time dealing with emails (up from 12 percent to 16 percent), “wasteful” meetings (8 percent to 10 percent), and administrative tasks (9 percent to 11 percent). It shows that (1) more than half of working hours in American offices are spent on bullshit, and (2) the problem is getting worse.
This increasing 'bullshitization' accompanied by technological changes has resulted in creation of jobs up with fancy titles with imagined roles. In an essay in the Guardian on corporate rubbish, André Spicer writes, “A century of management fads has created workplaces that are full of empty words and equally empty rituals… Consider a meeting I recently attended. During the course of an hour, I recorded 64 different nuggets of corporate claptrap. They included familiar favourites such as ‘doing a deep dive’, ‘reaching out’, and ‘thought leadership’. There were also some new ones I hadn’t heard before: people with ‘protected characteristics’ (anyone who wasn’t a white straight guy), ‘the aha effect’ (realizing something), ‘getting our friends in the tent’ (getting support from others).”
Fancy designations are just an extension of this phenomenon. Thus you have ’Chief Geek Officers’, ‘Dream catchers’, ‘Gold Miners’, ’Heads of Fire Fighting’, ’Omni-Maestro of Integrated Commerce’, ‘Curator of next-generation digital experiences’ and ‘Preserver of Experience’. You also have ‘Chief Tweeting Officer’, ’Chief Jolly Officer’ and ‘Chief Geeky Officer’. Apparently, a service technician at Apple is called “genius”. More impressive designations that I have seen:
- Chief Delight Officer (HR) - responsible for connecting people, building teams, reducing stress and promoting a happy work culture.
- ‘Social Birds’ - look after social media and connect people through various campaigns
- ‘Community Data Guerrilla’ - looks after data analytics.
- 'Chief of Customer Success’ - formerly known as Chief Operations Officer
- Crayon Evangelist - oversees all of the company's graphic-design needs
- Catalyst - executive assistant/office manager
- Creator of opportunities - SVP of business development
- Ambassador of buzz - corporate communications associate
- Digital prophet - attempts to predict trends
- Chief curator - chooses which items to be featured on homepage
- Head of global trends and futuring – progressive strategist
- Chief Amazement Officer - founder
- President and TeaEO - CEO of a tea company
- Director of First Impressions - receptionist
- Security Executive - A watchman
- Chief Hygiene Officer - a cleaner
- Chief Talent Acquisition Officer - An HR executive
- Vice President of Miscellaneous Stuff - in charge of everything nobody else is in charge of.
- Chief Cheerleader - ensures the morale of employees gets a regular boost
PS: — Bill Hicks comedy routine:
Boss: How come you’re not working?
Worker: There’s nothing to do.
Boss: Well, you’re supposed to pretend like you’re working.
Worker: Hey, I got a better idea. Why don’t you pretend like I’m working? You get paid more than me.
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