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Ask Slashdot: Does Your Job Need To Exist? 343

Posted by Soulskill
from the professional-soap-cleaner dept.
An anonymous reader writes "PBS has an article about the growth of jobs that really don't need to exist. It includes an interview with professor David Graebner, who's known for his 2013 article 'BS jobs.' The premise is simple: as technology has automated huge portions of work that used to fill the days for millions of workers, many jobs simply involve less work. How often have you sat at your desk browsing the internet instead of being productive? If your company is such that you can aggregate that lost time across a bunch of workers, you could probably reduce the headcount significantly if everybody just stayed on task all the time. But that's not even an expectation at a lot of companies. Graebner ballparks the number of effectively useless jobs at around 20%. (It's not that the individual workers are useless, just that there are, for example, 12 people doing the work of 10.) So, how about it: how much actual productivity goes into your 40-hour workweek? What about your co-workers? How many people could your company fire if everybody just paid attention all the time?"
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Ask Slashdot: Does Your Job Need To Exist?

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  • If (Score:2, Informative)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @05:02PM (#46968685)
    If my aunt had balls, he'd be my uncle.
  • by JimMcc (31079) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @05:14PM (#46968763) Homepage

    In the early nineties I was Director oif Development for a company that wrote and sold software to small telephone companies. We created a lot of automation into the process which allowed small companies to do much more than their staffing would otherwise allow. One prospective customer was a county owned telephone company. Their first response when we showed them all the features of our softwar ewas to ask if those capabilities could be turned off. Huh? Turns out that they viewed their primary role to be a provider of jobs within the county. Providing telephone service was considered secondary.

    So there's nothing really new about these finds. Just that he's getting noticed for writing about them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2014 @09:29PM (#46969959)

    Amen. For anyone who disagrees with parent's anecdote, I recommend you read "The Goal" for its clear illustrations of why slack time is a critical component of a smoothly flowing system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2014 @03:10AM (#46970875)

    The crime is called Constructive dismissal and varies by state. There are tight parameters on how long you have to file suit and what situation the boss forced you into that can be proven. A lot of times the case is that the employee quits and tells the Boss off, and that completely destroys their case, whereas if they had filed a complaint with their lawyer and stayed at the job for a few weeks and let the boss fire them, then they would have something closer to an open and shut case.

The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it. -- E. Hubbard

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