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My MBA Career: As Studies Reveal, Several Individuals Experience a Lack of Meaning in their Work

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Last Updated on August 4, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

New Study Confirms Many People Believe Their Jobs are ‘Bullshit’

A recent study conducted by Simon Walo from Zurich University has provided quantitative support for a theory proposed by American anthropologist David Graeber in 2018. The theory suggests that many people believe their jobs are socially useless or “bullshit.” Walo’s study is the first of its kind to offer solid evidence supporting this claim.

Finance, sales, and managerial roles were found to be more likely than other occupations to be considered useless or unhelpful. Previous research indicated that people felt their jobs were useless due to routine, lack of autonomy, or poor management. However, Walo’s findings reveal that this is just a part of the story.

The study analyzed survey data from 1,811 respondents working in 21 different types of jobs in the US. The American Working Conditions Survey conducted in 2015 unveiled that 19% of respondents felt their work had no positive impact on society and was not useful. However, Walo adjusted the data to compare workers with similar levels of routine work, job autonomy, and management quality and found that the nature of the job itself had a significant influence.

Workers in business, finance, sales, and managerial roles were found to be over twice as likely to consider their jobs socially useless compared to others. This supports Graeber’s argument that some occupations are objectively useless and highlights the industries with a higher likelihood of being socially useless.

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The study, published in the journal Work, Employment and Society, not only strengthens Graeber’s argument but also identifies law as the only occupation cited by Graeber as not being socially useless. Additionally, the research discovered that the private sector had a higher percentage of workers who considered their jobs socially useless compared to the non-profit or public sector.

These findings shed light on the perception of job usefulness and the impact certain industries have on society. It opens up discussions on how to redefine roles, improve job satisfaction, and ensure that individuals feel their work contributes positively to society. As more people question the purpose of their jobs, it becomes crucial for employers and policymakers to address these concerns and promote meaningful work experiences.

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Robert is a talented writer and educator with a focus on MBA courses. He has years of experience teaching and writing about the intricacies of business education, and his work is highly regarded for its depth of insight and practical application. Robert holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from a reputable institution, and his academic background gives him a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing MBA students. He has a talent for breaking down complex concepts into easy-to-understand language, making his writing accessible to a wide range of readers.

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