“The best part is, I never have to do bullshit work.”
Sitting on my couch last week, I balanced my phone between my knees so that I could continue to gesticulate wildly to my cousin on FaceTime and share my newest realization.
Over the past two years in my journey from sabbatical to creator, I have realized that I never have to participate in one of my least favorite activities.
I define bullshit work as work you are required to do to show that you are working. If there are any positive outcomes from bullshit work, it is completely by accident.
The whole purpose of bullshit work is the ability to point to it and say, “See? I’m working!”
When I was in sales, these tasks were obvious. Everyone knew about them even though it was taboo to admit they were useless. Anyone who dare call it out would be on a performance improvement plan before the quarter ended.
“Did you hit your 60 calls?” my manager would ask everyday, as she packed up her bags at 4:58pm.
In sales, the general belief is that the more output aka cold calls you make, the more conversations you will have, the more deals you will close and the more money you will make the company.
And you can never make the company too much money!
In theory, more output resulting in more business opportunities makes sense, but it was overvalued and everyone knew this.
To make a bunch of phone calls every single day to close deals is a cute “hustle” mentality and maybe a good way to start building a list of clients, but it’s not sustainable over the long term.
Once I had built up a list of spending clients, I had relationships with them and would take care of their questions, send them proposals and work on upselling them. Sales becomes a lot more strategic once you move past the initial cold call.
No matter how much time all those activities took though, I still had to hit the arbitrary minimum number of calls each day. During the strictest years at my workplace, we risked being fired if we didn’t hit those numbers.
My pet peeve in the corporate world was doing something for the sake of looking productive, especially because it prevented me from actually being productive.
Now I realize, there’s no place for bullshit work in my life.
These days, I record a podcast, write and help out in different online communities and there are things I do to keep improving each week.
My sister and I read books to help us with our storytelling on our podcast.
I write weekly, partnering with writing friends to give and receive feedback.
I host events, engage with my peers online and manage community platforms.
There is not a single thing I do for the sake of looking productive.
I can’t even imagine what my sister would do if she came home and I was maniacally dialing random numbers on my phone while simultaneously keeping a tally in a notebook.
The thought of going through those motions today seems ludicrous to me.
While there are ups and downs when it comes to leaving the corporate world, I will always appreciate the fact that I no longer have to do any bullshit work.
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Right!? Now I get to make up my own bullshit 😂
When I worked in software, the BS work equivalent would be our daily standups. We all went around and shared what we did the previous day, (even if we only worked for 1hr because the other 6hrs were filled with mandatory meetings). It was the most colossal waste of time ever. Like sorry, I don’t care if you went to this meeting or that meeting yesterday -- it has no impact on my work. And people would try to pad things to look good (plus our team was 14 people), so our meetings would always take unnecessarily long. Not to mention we used a tool that made us present “popcorn style” so we had no choice but to pay attention for the full duration. 🤦♂️