Handiwork against bullshit jobs

This article is a part of the room: Bullshit Jobs

Neoliberalism has created a historic increase in meaningless work tasks – also called bullshit jobs. New occupational titles such as brand ambassador, goal achievement coach and competitive tendering consultant have popped up like toadstools. These jobs are also the ones being best payed and therefore many choose to keep these jobs rather than take a job in a meaningful, but often underpaid profession. Strike a blow against bullshit jobs and complete this lovely embroidery in timeless colour.


Handiwork differs from handicraft in that, unlike the latter, it is not work, but rather an unpaid women’s activity – preferably a textile one – such as the production and repair of clothing. Now that clothes are made for cheap in countries to which we mostly travel on cheap holidays, handiwork is increasingly carried out as pure diversion and relaxation, when one has time off from e.g. the type of occupations that the social anthropologist David Graeber has described in the book Bullshit jobs. However, these must not be confused with so-called crap work – i.e. heavy, low-paid and strictly necessary work.

Critics of Graeber’s theory argue that bullshit jobs only exist in the public sector, as the smooth market forces of the private sector would have quickly eliminated such redundant positions. Graeber’s research and the statistics he relies on show that this is wrong. There are probably as many bullshit workers in the private sector as in the public sector. It is unclear whether New Public Management (NPM) can take full credit for this. But with its requirements for control of target-setting and competition management, the system has contributed generously to the creation of a wide range of new types of bullshit jobs in both the private and public sectors. Read more about NPM in Coloring set against neoliberalism.

Here we see a dedicated seminar participant getting started with the embroidery.
No bullshit!


Embroidery canvas, needle, yarn (black, light gray and red)


Strike a blow against bullshit jobs and complete this beautiful embroidery in timeless combination of colours. After the main motif has been completed with black thread for the text and light gray for the background, the work is fully finished by sewing a final full-covering cross stitch with red thread across the entire canvas. Frame it nicely and hang it up at home or in a public space, or skip the framing and sew it onto a bus seat.


Read more about David Graeber’s theory here >>

Read about the Antiwork movement here >>