flunkies and goons

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As the germ ravages the land, and we stay safely in our homes, now is the time to prepare for a better future at work. Improve your skills for the post pandemic reality. Lots of useless jobs if you’re interested as David Graeber shows us in his book, and which are excerpted below.

Here are the skills – update your LinkedIn. Flunkies appease, goons oppose, duct tapers patch up, box tickers distract, and taskmasters obfuscate and abuse.

What about jobs that aren’t bullshit? Let’s take the opposite skills as a possibility: provoke, promote, resolve, clarify, and act.

The optimist sees hope for substantive change after a pandemic. Less bullshit jobs would be something to rally around.

  1. 1. flunkies, who serve to make their superiors feel important, e.g., receptionists, administrative assistants, door attendants

  2. goons, who oppose other goons hired by other companies, e.g., lobbyists, corporate lawyers, telemarketers, public relations specialists

  3. duct tapers, who temporarily fix problems that could be fixed permanently, e.g., programmers repairing shoddy code, airline desk staff who calm passengers whose bags don’t arrive

  4. box tickers, who use paperwork or gestures as a proxy for action, e.g., performance managers, in-house magazine journalists, leisure coordinators

  5. taskmasters, who manage—or create extra work for—those who don’t need it, e.g., middle management, leadership professionals

David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs

Jack’s a dull boy
July 26, 2011, 6:17 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , , ,

In America employers are not required to give their employees paid days off which is a minor scandal when you consider that Greece, Italy and Spain have 20 or more paid vacation days.  Well those economies are nearly defaulting, you may feel inclined to argue.  Except that Europe’s economic powerhouse economies also get much more paid vacation:  France gets 30, Germany 24 and the UK 20.  Where’s the line to trade in passports?

Following are a few more scandalous details from the chart:

  • 86% of executives say their company expects more time from their employees.
  • 59% of employees say more time is demanded of them.
  • one in three employees report feeling chronically overworked.
  • 33% worked more than 44 hours per week in 2009.
  • 36% of employees don’t plan to use their full vacation days.
  • 37% take less than a 7 day vacation, when they do take time off.

The Overworked American, Good

20 crazy questions
June 27, 2011, 2:45 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: ,

Interview questions from large corporations:  do they say more about them?

Procter & Gamble:Sell me an invisible pen.

Facebook:Twenty-five racehorses, no stopwatch, five tracks. Figure out the top three fastest horses in the fewest number of races.

Citigroup:What is your strategy at table tennis?

Google:You are climbing a staircase. Each time you can either take one step or two. The staircase has n steps. In how many distinct ways can you climb the staircase?

Capital One:How do you evaluate Subway’s five-foot long sub policy?

Gryphon Scientific:How many cocktail umbrellas are there in a given time in the United States?

Enterprise Rent-A-Car:Would you be okay hearing “no” from seven out of 10 customers?

Goldman Sachs:Suppose you had eight identical balls. One of them is slightly heavier and you are given a balance scale. What’s the fewest number of times you have to use the scale to find the heavier ball?

Towers Watson:Estimate how many planes there are in the sky.

Lubin Lawrence:If you could describe Hershey, Godiva, and Dove chocolate as people, how would you describe them?

Pottery Barn:If I was a genie and could give you your dream job, what and where would it be?

Kiewit Corp:What did you play with as a child?

VWR International:How would you market a telescope in 1750 when no one knows about orbits, moons, etc.?

Diageo North America:If you walk into a liquor store to count the unsold bottles, but the clerk is screaming at you to leave, what do you do?

Brown & Brown Insurance:How would you rate your life on a scale of 1 to 10?

Jane Street Capital:What is the smallest number divisible by 225 that consists of all 1’s and 0’s?

UBS:If we were playing Russian roulette and had one bullet, I randomly spun the chamber and fired but nothing was fired. Would you rather fire the gun again or respin the chamber and then fire on your turn?

Merrill Lynch:Tell me about your life from kindergarten onwards.

Susquehanna International Group:Five guys, all of different ages, enter a bar and take a seat at a round table. What is the probability that they are seated in ascending order of age?

Define the Ratio of People to Cake, The Morning News, 20 Craziest Job Interview Questions, CBS