Bullshit Jobs and The Future of the Economy

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zbigi
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Re: Bullshit Jobs and The Future of the Economy

Post by zbigi »

ducknald_don wrote:
Tue Sep 20, 2022 1:44 pm
Bigger organisations are certainly harder to manage but I suspect there is something more going on. Modern work has evolved to be less physical and more mentally demanding. That type of work is much harder to measure. If someone writes 100 lines of code it's hard to tell whether that is efficient or wasteful. Could it have been done in ten or was it smart thinking that many would have used 1,000 lines for. Was it quick work or slow. Will it produce any value for the business. These questions have become quite difficult to pin down for management.

Everybody knows this so the obvious result is people engaging in politics in order to further their careers.
I agree, although I count it as a form of complexity. All software organizations just deal with things that are super complex (the software component itself is like a swiss watch times a billion, plus like you said they are questions of business relevance etc), and, complexity breeds inefficiency. A five person software startup usually is more complex than say 500 person sewing sweatshop in Asia. And once you get to larger software orgs, things get utterly hopeless quick (in terms of overwhelming complexity). That's why I suspect the management in software seems so performative - because actually grasping what's going on is basically impossible a lot of the time.

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Jean
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Re: Bullshit Jobs and The Future of the Economy

Post by Jean »

the fact that devs as a corporations are contributing so much for free to open project, and that some of them are even willing to pay for games in which the goal is to cide properly is probably a good sign that many dev jobs are bullshitish.

zbigi
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Re: Bullshit Jobs and The Future of the Economy

Post by zbigi »

zbigi wrote:
Tue Sep 20, 2022 2:43 pm
I agree, although I count it as a form of complexity. All software organizations just deal with things that are super complex (the software component itself is like a swiss watch times a billion, plus like you said they are questions of business relevance etc), and, complexity breeds inefficiency. A five person software startup usually is more complex than say 500 person sewing sweatshop in Asia. And once you get to larger software orgs, things get utterly hopeless quick (in terms of overwhelming complexity). That's why I suspect the management in software seems so performative - because actually grasping what's going on is basically impossible a lot of the time.
Not neccesarily, a lot of devs contribute to open source to learn a new technology/technical area, to improve their CV or to have a technical challenge (a lot of dev jobs in corporations are not very technically diverse or challenging after the first couple of years in the biz) and produce something they need at their job anyway. The devs contributing to OS I know (not many) are living and breathing their day jobs, and their OS contributions create tools which make their day jobs easier.

Regarding a lot of dev jobs being BS in general - it depends on how you look at them I guess. It's true that many projects or startups go nowhere and in hindsight look like years of wasted effort - but sometimes, the only way to validate an idea is to just implement it and see if it works in practice. We're just not smart enough to be able to tell beforehand. So, you could say, all those "wasted" years are necessary sacrifices at the altar of progress.
Now, there are also projects where it's sort of obvious from the early stages that they're mismanaged or don't make sense at all, and we're only doing them because it strengthens someone's position in the corporate Game of Thrones. However, this just falls under the general "large and complex organizations are hard to manage efficiently" phenomena and is not specific to software.

guitarplayer
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Re: Bullshit Jobs and The Future of the Economy

Post by guitarplayer »

jacob wrote:
Sat Sep 17, 2022 7:08 am
Perhaps BS jobs is the emergence of a quaternary sector whose function is yet to be established. One suggestion would be that it's actually preserve people's sanity or control them by giving them something to do. Bread, circuses, ... and adult daycare. Kinda goes with the idea that the self-actualization, which follows taking care of physical and social needs, requires imagination which many adults lost growing up.
This is quite an idea! To think of the fourth pillar of the economy like this. My positive psychology prof once said that he could not get himself to offer psychotherapy / counseling, claiming 'I just could not bear being paid to be [a surrogate of] someone's friend'.

guitarplayer
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Re: Bullshit Jobs and The Future of the Economy

Post by guitarplayer »

chenda wrote:
Tue Sep 20, 2022 1:15 pm
Maybe we should measure value in how little harm the job does.
I had this exact thought about life in general just one or two days ago. As in

'I hope I will get through it without causing too much damage. Leave the world a better place? That would be a bonus!'

Sort of along the lines of the Hobbesian side of our nature. Also along the lines of decentralizing power like Chomsky mentions occasionally when asked 'what would you do if I gave you absolute power'. Also along the lines of EREing - its hidden bonus is that without concentrated power in a narrow field, there is little chance for great personal corruption to occur. Decentralized power coming from ERE2 seems to be more benign.
chenda wrote:
Tue Sep 20, 2022 1:15 pm
My own post-apocalyptic plan is to become a priest(ess) which I believe would be in much demand. Funerals, rituals, talking to the dead, exorcisms etc. Economically it would be utterly useless of course but it would have perceived value.
You'll be building the fourth pillar of the economy as per @jacob's conjecture.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Bullshit Jobs and The Future of the Economy

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

- People at the highest ranks in society create useless tasks for themselves to justify their level of wealth (this sounds kind of marxist. Might be true though. idk). These highly-ranked people hire other people to help them accomplish their useless tasks, who thus now have BS jobs.
I think some evidence for this theory would be the fact that there are currently a lot of not-bullshit-job openings which are not being filled.

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