On Bulls***

little digger

proper job – Leonardo da Vinci

One of my favourite essays is on the topic of bulls*** jobs. The thesis is that a certain proportion of workers in the Western World (and probably elsewhere) are engaged in work of one sort or another which they believe has no value. Their job is, in their own estimation, bulls***.

Oh dear. Now new research, or should I say, new ‘research’, suggests that people with a high tolerance for pseudo-profound bulls*** are also blessed with a low IQ, and are more likely to subscribe to conspiracy theories. I am surprised that ‘research’ was needed to establish this – surely a mere extension of logic would have been sufficient? – but I am quietly satisfied nonetheless with the conclusion, especially since I had a brief conversation with a colleague yesterday on the subject of job interviews, which left me more convinced that ever that job interviews, like so much else in life, are mostly bulls***, and that, consequently, people who excel at job interviews have a low IQ and probably subscribe to conspiracy theories.

Well, perhaps not. But the job interview, like the appraisal process, is a particularly adapted to those on either side of the equation who have a high tolerance for bulls***. Both are a game, the requirement of which is that players on each side quickly learn what is expected of them and then provide it. The quick-witted interviewee will read and reflect the needs and prejudices and expectations of the interviewer. (And yes, I am aware that some bright students might be doing the same to me in my lessons. Although not at the time).

Some people – conspicuously clever people, I like to think – are uncomfortable with this; others – those with a low IQ who also subscribe to conspiracy theories – are not very good at it. And those who are good at it – moderately clever and probably a bit world-weary – end up getting jobs which then turn out for the most part to be bulls***.

Not that I have done any ‘research’, of course.