Almost everything you do in your personal life is useful, even if it's just relaxing or spending time with your family. But if you have a white collar job, almost everything you do for your so-called work will end up being a waste of time in the long run. Obviously if you are a carpenter, most of your nails serve a good purpose. But white collar jobs are mostly about wasting time, with the hope that sometimes, rarely, something good will happen.

If you have a white collar job, leave a comment telling me two things:
  • (1) What is the next WORK item you expect to do.
  • (2) Tell me why it's probably going to be a waste of time.

Resist the urge to say "Eat a donut" or "read Dilbert comics." Tell me the actual work item and why it probably makes no difference in the long run.

This will either be sad or funny. I'm not sure.

[My blogging software doesn't allow me to do numbered lists that don't look stupid.]

Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +11
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Jun 30, 2009
1) Sit here, and wait for editors to send in work other people will do just so I can mark that it came in, and move it to the appropriate boxes.

2) ...
Apr 14, 2009
1. (What is the next WORK item you expect to do):
Explain why providing flat files of our data warehouse to an internal business user is not a good idea.

2. Tell me why it's probably going to be a waste of time:
His boss will come down and say I'm wrong.
Apr 13, 2009
1) Prepare updated financial reports as part of a subcontracting agreement.
2) No one will actually read these reports, but merely check a box somewhere to confirm their existence.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 6, 2009
i see about 125 people that will be laid off in the next few months.
Apr 6, 2009
My next work item will be to get on a conference call for a global project where we all give our status. This call is held every day at the same time every day. Most of us are done our work and are just biding our time on this contract until the project is complete so our status is "nothing to do, everything is done" but every day we get called on to give the same status. What a waste of time, money, energy and brain cells.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 1, 2009
1. I have to review a list of comments from my client's technical adviser describing how everything is "beyond his scope", and tell him it should all be in his scope.
2. My client will have paid for the budget scope and therefore the technical adviser is probably right. But I have to make the point anyway to show I am doing my job as a financial advisor.

Actually, right before I do that, I am going to check my hotmail account to see if any of my job applications have come up trumps...
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 31, 2009
On the lines of Scott's rule of 12

Rule 1) Anything thats interesting, fulfilling and useful can not be called as "work"!!

in other words - all work is useless!!!

Mar 31, 2009
I spent a week doing annual employee performance reviews, which took a few weeks to put together.
The following month we announced layoffs and outsourcing to India.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 30, 2009
1) invent new advertising slogan for my filthy rich telecommunication client
2) flush it down the toilet after meeting with my creative director
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 29, 2009

In your example, the "information sharing" position can be replaced by a sign [[ DYING FOR A DRINK? WALK/CRAWL THIS WAY FOR 3 KILOMETRES ... ]]

So, while likely not intended, you have provided an excellent example of a fundamentally useless white collar office position. A position that can be readily replaced by a crayon and a scrap of cardboard glued to a stick. ;-)

Today's office workers are drowning in information -- most of it meaningless and trivial -- not thirsting for it.

-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 29, 2009
I can't tell if the article is trying to be funny, or not. But, to say that all white collar work is wasted time is just silly.

GONE are the days where the most important thing in the world was making something physical.

Let's say you have a job drawing water from a very deep well in the middle of the dessert. That's a very important job. It saves lives.

Now, let's say I have a job NEAR the middle of the dessert TELLING those who are about to die of thirst where your well is.

You're a blue collar worker -- drawing the water. I'm a white collar worker, providing information.

Without either of us, people are going to die. The time at my job is not a waste.

Read my blog about <a href="http://www.magictreasuremap.com">Personal Growth, Self Help, Health, Wealth and Happiness</a>.
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 28, 2009

The "white collar sector" is all about NO ACTIVITY, punctuated, occasionally, by useless activities -- in order to sustain the illusion that the white collar class is actually doing something productive. For supervising white collar workers and above, one would be lucky to look back on any given week and discover that one had actually done ANYTHING that a reasonable person would describe as "work", let alone something called "useful work".

A company (think any company with over 100 employees) is a bee colony. Regardless of product and apparent structure or organization, the vast majority of North American corporations, upon close examination, will fit with the following description of a bee colony ....

"A honey bee colony (a corporation) is comprised of a queen bee (a CEO), a few hundred male drone bees (the white collar sector), and thousands of female worker bees (the blue collar sector), varies its population in response to food sources (profit margin) and the time of the year (quarterly board meetings and/or shareholder meetings with the bee keeper)."

The white collar sector is not productive. It isn't bred to be productive. It is the 'drone' class ... whose only real purpose is as follows ...

"The drone (white collar worker) is not as large as the queen (CEO), although his wings (corporate reach) are longer and stronger. The drone's function is to mate (stroke/support/reinforce) "on the wing" with the queen (CEO) during her mating flight (flitting about the office). After mating, the drone dies (goes back to his or her office or cubicle). The drone (white collar worker) also has a personal scent (title) that he uses to communicate his needs to the worker bees(blue collar workers). Queens (CEO) on their mating flights are attracted by the scent of the drone (likely Bounce fabric softener). Drones (white collar workers) make a deep, loud buzzing sound (powerpoint presentations, etc) to announce their presence. Drones (white collar workers) do not leave the nest (cubicle/office) to forage and do not feed themselves (i.e. they are non-productive). By using their sense of touch (keyboards and keypads), drones are able to communicate (email, telephone) to worker bees their need for food (productivity, profit, honey)."

The truth shall set you free.

+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 27, 2009
I am the Senior Vice President, Marketing of a leading international manufacturer of men's dress shirts. Actually, we don't manufacture shirts, we design them; the actual manufacturing takes place in China. We used to manufacture shirts in America, but we stopped doing that because consumers began to move away from us in droves -- in favour of buying less expensive dress shirts made by half naked people in Pakistan.

On Monday, I have to do a i hour presentation on dress shirt sale trends. Among other things, I will be recommending that we drop the shirt line that features coloured or striped bodies with white collars. The President and CEO will over-rule my recommendation (again) because he blames the ongoing drop in sales on bad marketing (on my part) and poor salesmanship at the retail store level -- and besides, he loves striped dress shirts with white colours (he is a fat bastard and believes the stripes are slimming. A classic CEO Induhvidual)

How's that for a waste of time in a white collar job, eh?

Mar 27, 2009
I'm programming a query to automatically run without the user entering date parameters each time it needs to be run.

It's a waste of time because down the road the query will be useless because everything changes and it will no longer be necessary. However, it is saving the user time... but the ROI for my time to program against time savings is unknown.
Mar 27, 2009
I perform quality assurance chart audits for a non-profit working with mentally retarded and developmentally disabled adults and children.

Today, I spent the day finishing an audit report on a particularly complex client.

The case manager's supervisor will read it, the case manager will read it, and possibly, my boss might read it (although it's not likely).

Then, I will assign a due date for corrections that will be ignored and quite possibly never completed, just as suggestions about obtaining required documentation from other agencies was met with an attitude of "that's stupid, we should not be responsible for that, so we're not doing it" - never mind that those are the RULES according to the state.

Then, in six months when the state comes to perform an annual audit, the senior management team will wonder why we did not score higher and the board of directors will (again) discuss eliminating my position since it seems to benefit no one.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 27, 2009
I write training materials for a gov't defense contractor. I could tell you what I am writing about today, but then I'd have to kill you. Here's the thing about this work--In the one and half years since we started the program, no classes have been taught because no system exists to replace production workers who are off at training. However, we have built a very nice dynamic training facility. So we're ready.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 27, 2009
1) Prepare a computer for the new guy
2) The new guy quits before he starts
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 27, 2009
I work, as most of you nerds do, in IT.

I will have to update several documents outlying what computers we have, where they are, what is installed on them. Then, they will be not referenced probably for a year, at which point this will be done again.

Chances are slim that anyone but me will look at them, and when they do, sometime between updates, they will not be correct.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 27, 2009
(1) I am a respiratory therapist. My next work task will be to make a "round" and administer breathing treatments to people. Also, I will write down numbers from mechanical ventilators.

(2) The breathing treatments are totally unindicated in about 98% of cases. Doctors order them for non-respiratory problems such as kidney failure or a broken femur. We are literally giving people treatments so it "looks like" we're doing something. This is why medicine is so expensive. The numbers from the ventilators are useless because nobody, not even other respiratory therapists, will ever look at them. I could show up, clock in, go home, and then come back later and clock out, and it wouldn't make a lick of difference. The really scary thing is, most of what happens at a hospital is like this: we kill time while people heal themselves.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 27, 2009
For 22 years I worked in the same department. Most of my work was actually direct, useful tasks that either helped others do their jobs (i.e. enhancing word processors for dravidian or southeast asian scripts, or quality control on translation work for projects I supervised directly). The last three years I was put in a job where I evaluated document management systems that were never purchased, gave recommendations for system enhancements that were never implemented, or moved files from one place to another. At that point I took early retirement!
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