Readers' Bulls**t Jobs
Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 at 10:14pm
Readers sent in hundreds of bulls**t jobs. Below are the top 20 favorites - jobs that are the most satisfying, lucrative and least useful. Here, in readers' own words, are the best bulls**t jobs.
1. Communications manager
Essentially you're getting paid well - in the six figures up to 50 percent of your base for bonus - to write e-mails, memos and articles for senior management that their employees have no interest in reading. Oh, and through these written communications we're supposed to inform and engage employees so that they're proud of the company they work for.
2. Software quality assurance analyst
Good job... make sure everyone else is doing their job up to some standard - using some methodology, employing some practices that only you know of and can decide whether are appropriate for 'this project' or not.
Review how other resources are performing their job vis-à-vis methodology they are following and picking fault with an appropriate number of things they do and can `improve.'
Guru of methodology; guru of some internationally recognized operational standard (to which everyone seems to aspire to and eventually gain some of the benefits everyone else apparently has gained); guru of management practices.
Comfortable existence; low stress; $125k per year.
3. Professional clairvoyant
I read energy and can accurately identify health issues and locate missing people and pets... Telling the future however, is a paradox. Since the future is a result of your beliefs with what could happen based on your past experiences, you can change the outcome by changing your beliefs. Some things are predestined, but how you experience it is up to you.
It is a bulls**t job because people want you to indulge them in what they want to hear instead of realizing their reality is a composite of what they believe can come true consciously and subconsciously.
4. Technical analyst for state government
Provide in-depth technical analysis for decisionmakers to base their decisions on. Their decisions rarely if ever match the recommendations of your analysis and if there is a way to squeeze efficiency and save taxpayers tens of thousands, if not millions of dollars a year, you will watch the government decisionmakers go in the exact opposite direction to justify inflated budgets and to protect their turf.
The good: You get to watch government in action and get paid a buttload of money and world-class retirement benefits.
The bad: You get to watch government in action burning your tax dollars under the guise of a competent management decision-making when you know in your gut it should land them in jail for fraud, waste and abuse.
The dark: Take ownership of anything and you will be politically tossed under the bus as it will be your decision. Try to make all decisions as a group so that no one person can be held accountable.
The future: Pina Colada and Margarita sipping in Belize, Panama or Costa Rica just about as far away as anything technical as one can get.
5. Mechanical engineering intern
Upside: Ride the bureaucracy wave, take more time than necessary to do everything, because nothing truly important is given to you to do because only real engineers are allowed to do actual engineering work. Copy data from one form of spreadsheet into another. Repeat. Gain immense entertainment from people who've decided to dedicate their adult life to having meetings about the size, shape and color of stupid things like electrical connectors or wires and spend hours brooding over such things.
More $$ than any other intern or college student, and most entry-level teachers as well.
Downside: Learn nothing, dread coming to work, immense boredom, stare at a computer monitor all day.
Darkside: Depression over career choice, occasion casual pressure from higher-ups.
Where you go from here: Anywhere. No one knows you've done nothing, both at this company and any other company that views your resume. Continue earning massive $$ for doing nothing, at least until you graduate.
6. Robot operator
Sit and watch the robot do all the work, record statistics of the work and every once in a while, call maintenance to come fix it for you.
Upside: You get to sit on your butt and do nothing all day
Downside: Sitting for eight hours a day for a couple of weeks straight hurts after a while, plus it is incredibly boring.
Darkside: You get lots of time to think, you start plotting ways to actually do some work.
7. Quality engineer
Get paid to post "Quality First" stickers in manufacturing plants all day, espouse how Quality really saves instead of costing money, and write procedures that no one cares about or follows. Then get yelled at when something goes wrong and customers are unhappy.
8. Problem manager
This involves "taking the initiative" to investigate IT system outages and to identify their root causes. This sounds like a necessary position, but it's more like the fifth - or sixth - wheel. You are the middle-man in a situation where the actual analyst could do the work himself. This is all talk, conference calls, paper, audit-talk, beauracracy, and general nonsense.
We are told to use "tools" to do problem solving, such as "the five whys", and other mystical approaches which appear more like a trip to Oz than to real problem solving, which requires just some basic and rock-steady detective work. I miss the days when I did some real work.
9. Base fitness advisor for US Air Force
My job while in the USAF was to sit in the weightroom and watch men sweat. I assisted new members on how to use some of the equipment, made sure there were enough towels to mop up the sweat and try not to drool on the guys as they are pumping iron.
Downside: Late night sweat smells yucky.
Upside: Watching all the hot military guys work out. My military uniform was a pair of shorts and golf shirt. Plenty of time to study college courses.
10. Relay operator
Relay is supposed to be a service for the deaf, hard of hearing, and speech disabled where a person using the Internet, cell phone or text telephone reaches an operator, I dial a number for them and relay conversation between a text and voice user.
90 percent of the calls we get are from people who are not deaf, most of them are scam calls or prank calls, so for eight hours a day, 40 hours a week I relay bogus conversations. The benefits are good though. The turnover rate is extraordinary. A few weeks of Nigerian scam calls and teenagers with nothing else to do can take a toll on some people.
Pay: 10.00-10.50 starting with the availability of a promotion after 6 months.
11. Director of implementations
In this job, all you have to do is set up a e-mail forwarder to your managers for all your e-mail. A co-worker sent this director a e-mail for an outside-of-work activity and got instantly an out-of-office reply for the director's managers. Then all you have to do is have your group cause issues and figure out ways to fix those issues and just write up how your group fixed all these issues.
12. System engineer
I am a "System Engineer" on a project for a major defense contractor. Although my scope of responsibility has yet to be defined, I can say one thing for certain: I'm paid a very nice salary, most of which comes from your tax dollars.
As a former military officer with a graduate degree in computer science from a top-notch school, I was supposedly hired for my software engineering background, project management skills and overall technical domain knowledge. To date, however, I have yet to participate in any form of system or software design; my daily tasks consist mostly of attending directionless meetings, typing up the resulting "meeting minutes," and sending them out via e-mail. For the remaining 95 percent of my time, I take long lunch breaks and surf the Web (as I'm doing now).
Of course, this should not be trivialized. I would not be able to perform these tasks without having achieved the ability to log into a PC, type a Microsoft Word document, and send an e-mail to multiple recipients. These critical functions require essential cognitive and motor skills that could otherwise be overlooked.
13. Academic advisor for student-athletes
Basically, what I do is find the easiest classes on my college's campus and enroll my student-athletes in them. Then, if one of my students stops going to class, I call up the professor and beg him/her to give Star Jock the benefit of the doubt and pass them with a `C'.
If the prof isn't immediately cooperative, I happen to notice we have some decent seats to a couple home football/basketball games available for the upcoming season.
14. Payphone account manager
Monitor the number of collect calls made from payphones.
Amount of time per day required to accomplish: 15 minutes. Why? Because there are 150 million cell phones in the country and only 300,000 payphones. Plus, when was the last time you made a collect call from a payphone?
Pay: $50,000/year. Why? Because a 3-minute collect call cost $25 and someone is still making them! Also get to spend plenty of time staring at the wall.
15. Research budget analyst
Monitor medical research budget. If the researcher spends more money than budgeted, notify the NIH grant manager to get more money for said budget. If the researcher doesn't spend enough, notify the researcher to spend more money or risk losing future money to said budget.
Work: 1 hour a day -- the rest surfing web and ocean.
16. Aviation maintenance structural engineer
Shuffle paper between aircraft mechanics and the real engineers who are somewhere far away.
Main skill required: Talking on the phone.
Pros: Some days there's nothing to do.
Cons: Lots of pressure to get the airplane fixed even though you have no power over when that happens.
17. Door monitor
For a few months, I had a wonderful part time gig as a "door monitor." My job was to sit in a building just inside the door from 5-8, after the receptionists went home, and occasionally look up from my reading to let in people who knocked (usually fewer than five per day).
I could have been replaced by a buzzer. And I made more than minimum wage! (It was either eight or ten bucks an hour, I forget which.)
18. Mission assurance/mission excellence for aerospace industry
The ability to look over and criticize the work of others with no real expertise in any field. The ability to generate belief and fear that this function is needed at all costs and the job can't be done without it. To further bilk the government for millions of $$ in the process.
19. Management coach
Teaching executives how to do their jobs. In every organization, you will rise to your level of incompetence and stay there. These executives get a promotion to a level they cannot do, so they need a coach to help them. Over-paid private tutor for wealthy adult students, no definable product and no way to judge the coach's performance... what could be better!
20. Production support analyst
Get paid to evaluate the data associated with a computer application problem. Then determine that it was a network error, and pass the problem back to the help desk.