What Would David Graeber Think?

There’s a lot of Bullsh*t Jobs out there and I’ve had my fair share. 

In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century’s end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

David Graeber (1961-2020)

So, reading about the theory of bullsh*t jobs as termed by David Graeber, I began to think about jobs that I have had over the years and have divided them into two groups. The first group of jobs are those which lasted more than a fortnight…and there have been a few which haven’t! And then the second list details a few of the more random things which I have done. I know which ones are bullsh*t jobs and which weren’t but sometimes my memory of an activity doesn’t completely fit with David Graeber’s description.

Group 1. 

1992 – Steamroller driver, BC, Canada

1993 – Dog’s body in a mountain resort and gardener, AB, Canada

1994 – Dog’s body in a mountain resort, AB, Canada

1995 – Receptionist and office worker in a safety deposit company, London UK. 

1995 – English teacher, Kiev, Ukraine

1998 – Fruit and Veg salesman, London, UK

1998 – Auxiliary teacher, Guatemala City, Guatemala

1999 – Bartender, Guatemala City, Guatemala

2000 – Journalist in Central America, Costa Rica

2001- 2002 various journalism jobs including on the social pages, sports pages and international news pages. London, UK and Lima, Peru. 

2002 – 2003 Press Officer at an NGO, Godalming, UK. 

2004 – 2008 High altitude and jungle expedition guide and social projects coordinator, Quito, Ecuador, La Paz Bolivia, Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Lima Peru. 

2004 – current, Freelance journalist, South America 

2008 – current, small hotel owner Mompós, Colombia

2009 – tour company, Colombia

2009 – Translator for the Colombian Red Cross

2010 – International Relations consultant Alcaldia de Bogotá, Bogotá, Colombia.

2011 – Author, Bogotá, Colombia

2011 – creative writer for Bogotá-based production company, Bogotá, Colombia

2013 – current, host of the Colombia Calling podcast.

2019 – Senior Political Analyst, Bogotá Colombia 

2019 – current, Small hotel No2 owner Mompós, Colombia.

2019 – series researcher for a Netflix show with Sue Perkins.

2020 – Author, Bogotá, Colombia 

Group 2.  

1998 – Advertised forklift trucks dressed as a gorilla, Leighton Buzzard, UK

2001 – Father Christmas in La Concepción, Panama. 

2001 – More magazine model for “Boyfriend of the Week.”

2002 – acted as Italian footballer Ivano Bonetti in a Sky Sports program, When Managers go Mad.  

Anyway, that’s what I’m bringing to the party. Please consider tuning in to and supporting the Colombia Calling podcast, available wherever you get your podcasts.

About Richard

Anglo-Canadian resident in Colombia. Journalist, Writer, Hotelier, Expedition Guide
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