"My religion is very simple. My religion is
Bullshit Jobs, Review by Miki Kashtan
Published on Tikkun.org
When David Graeber posted an article in 2013 called “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs” he had no idea how much of a resonance his article would generate – millions of readers in multiple languages are still reading it. Four years later, Graeber published a book on the topic, based in part on a semi-formal research project he conducted during the interim years with hundreds of participants.
The basic question of the book is one so many of us wrestle with on a daily basis: “Is there any meaning to my job? Is what I am doing contributing in any way to other people, to society, or to life as a whole?” The answer for apparently close to half of the population, at least in the UK and in the Netherlands, where actual surveys were done, and of those in other countries who responded to Graeber’s request to hear about their
experiences, is a simple and resounding “no.”
Graeber’s book engages with a bouquet of challenging topics that all relate to this phenomenon: What is a bullshit job? Why are bullshit jobs proliferating? Why do we suffer when we have one? And, in the end: Is there anything that can be done about the phenomenon as a whole, beyond individuals aiming to exit such jobs?
For me, in the context of writing a review for Tikkun specifically, these questions take on more significance, because some of the insights and analysis that Graeber puts forth in his book are directly relevant to core themes that Michael Lerner identified through his research over 30 years ago through the Institute of Labor and Mental Health, and which he and others have explored on these pages for decades about essential and non-material
human needs, specifically our absolute needs for meaning, autonomy, and dignity. Before getting to the areas of Graeber’s analysis that touch on the significance of these insights, I start with the basics: what counts as a bullshit job and why we have more and more of them.
What Is a Bullshit Job?
Here’s Graeber’s definition, which he constructs carefully over many pages: “a bullshit job is a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence even though, as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case.” (pp. 9-10)
It is noted that 90% of employees across generations view empathy as important in their workplace.
Interestingly, millennials are expected to overshadow the Boomers generation in population in 2019 as their population rises to 73 million and Boomers decline to 72 million. On the bright side, because of Millennial growth, they have shifted culture to be more empathetic. Now new rise of businesses are embracing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, measuring financial, social and environmental impact. The idea of doing well by
doing good, is changing our corporate world view.
Employees prefer and are better retained when they feel they are working for organizations committed to CSR. Millennial study showed 81% will leave an organization they consider non-empathetic to their needs.
Generation Z, following Millennials are expected to take up 30% of US Workforce in the next 4 years. They are the first generation to prioritize purpose over earnings, take pride in their values, prize and embrace diversity, identify equality and environment as top causes, and view mental health and obesity as critical health issues.
"People take different roads seeking fulfillment and
happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost."
To Resolve Conflict, Durango Residents Reaches for Old Tool: Communication
By Brett Hauff, The Durango Herald
Durangoan Rachel Turiel said her children don’t get allowance. She doesn’t punish them when they do something to upset her or others, and she doesn’t reward them when they do something she thinks they should be proud of.
There’s something insulting about using positive and negative reinforcement to change or encourage behavior, Turiel said, and it doesn’t actually work. Studies have found that rewards or punishments do motivate people, but once extrinsic factors are removed, people aren’t motivated any more, Turiel said. So she tried a different approach.
“I don’t want my kids or anybody to live a life that is motivated by what they’re going to get. I want all of us to feel how good it feels to give, to contribute,” Turiel said. “So yeah, it was sort of like a family experiment.”
The family experiment that began when her children were toddlers – they’re teenagers now – has grown into a community effort to encourage people in Southwest Colorado to listen to each other, collaborate and peruse solutions to systemic problems that are most beneficial to everybody, Turiel said.
And she’s been recognized for that effort: The Durango Women’s Resource Center awarded Turiel with the 2019 Extraordinary Woman Award for her work in the community.
Turiel is working to educate the community about nonviolent communication. But it’s more than the name suggests, she said. Nonviolent communication is all about resolving conflict by listening to each other, recognizing the shared human needs that lead to certain behaviors and coming up with solutions that address the most shared needs, Turiel said.
It’s a radical thought, and one that requires a shift of perspective that took Turiel months to integrate into her own life, she said. Turiel said she began to realize the effectiveness of nonviolent communication first in her own life – she had to shift her thinking to try to understand why people acted a certain way, what needs in their lives were they trying to fulfill with such behavior and how can those needs be met in a different way that benefits the
Love is a cross-cultural phenomenon and if classic films are to be believed, it is considered a many splendored thing. It is almost an aggregate of so many positive emotional states. “I would have to say that, to me, trying to define love is like trying to define other ineffable concepts like truth or God,” states Dr. Melissa Bayne of UC Berkeley’s psychology department in an email interview.
Our contemporary society has witnessed an almost rampant commercialization and exploitation of love and relationships for profit. The results can be seen in the mad rush to buy more and more expensive gifts for a significant other. But perhaps there is a fundamental underlying need in us that drives us to engage in this buying behavior in the first place. Bayne draws attention to Gary Chapman’s best selling book “The Five Love
Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” which suggests that receiving gifts is one of the ways people feel loved and considered. “This, partnered with a cultural addiction to consumption and our desire to meet and exceed the expectations of our love(s) may relate to why we invest so much in physical gift-giving,” clarifies Bayne.
"The mind is everything. What you think you
Your Own Childhood Can Stop You From Feeling Joy in Motherhood
by Sarah Aswell, Scary Mommy
There’s so much to learn about parenting that you can really only learn once you have kids. But for millions of parents, becoming a parent also necessarily means reflecting on your own childhood. And if your childhood was traumatic, parenting can be overwhelming, scary, and painful until you you can process your past and look toward the future.
In a new, brutally honest and breathtaking documentary, Wrestling Ghosts, director Ana Joanes follows one mom over five years as she struggles to make peace with her past so that she can be present for her kids and her partner.
"Understanding the other persons' needs does not mean you have to give up on
your own needs."
~Marshall B. Rosenberg
Become a Social Aikido Master
by Anthony Simeone, The Good Men Project
I’ve long been intrigued by the martial art of aikido. While I’ve never sought to become formally trained in the art, for years I’ve heard people occasionally reference its philosophy of redirecting an opponent’s energy. For me, this was always the most interesting and appealing concept.
Side note: I must admit I’ve indulged in the guilty pleasure of watching Steven Seagal utilize a more aggressive form of the art in his films (though in real life he’s apparently a high-level aikido practitioner). But that embarrassing detail is not really relevant to this article.
Do No Harm, Even to Those Who Seek to Harm You
Diving deeper into the history of aikido, I discovered more about its founder, Morihei Ueshiba. Referred to as “Osensei” (“great teacher”) by aikido practitioners, Ueshiba created his martial art in the early 20th century. Osensei said he was inspired by a series of spiritual revelations. These experiences convinced him the true way of the warrior is to prevent violence. This is reflected in the word aikido, which means “way of spiritual
"We are never angry because of what others say or do. It is our thinking that
makes us angry."
~Marshall B. Rosenberg
How Microsoft Is Reclaiming Its Crown
by Nis Frome, CIO Drive
Microsoft's latest earnings report is a stark reminder of how quickly product lines become irrelevant these days. Sales of its historically lucrative and dominant Windows operating system actually declined by 5% year-over-year. It wasn't long ago that such a trend may have spelled an oncoming disaster for the organization, putting it on a collision course with the likes of Blockbuster and Kodak. But as anyone in tech knows,
Microsoft is doing quite well and has re-emerged as one of the largest companies in the world. Let's not take their impressive performance for granted — it was only 2013 when the company acquired Nokia with aspirations to conquer the already conquered mobile device industry. Here are some of the key drivers of Microsoft's transformational success along with lessons other companies can apply to sustain innovation in the future economy.
Don't be a know-it-all
One key barrier to innovation for companies is maintaining a know-it-all mindset. Just because a business is on top doesn't mean it will be forever; what is successful today may not be tomorrow. Companies that exclusively focus on optimizing existing successes and regard "the next big thing" as a passing fad often stifle innovation. In the past, it was Microsoft's primary business objective to put all of its eggs in its most
profitable and reliable basket: Windows.
This is a report from a nine day NVC IIT intensive. There are several each year throughout the world. Visit www.cnvc.org to learn more. We thought you might be interested to read about a recent one from Korea.
On behalf of the trainer team from Korean IIT Jan 2019:
The Korea IIT of 2019 has officially came to completeness on 1/20/2019.
This email will attempt to convey our celebrations and mournings, along
with some observations to connect you with the experience.
The atmosphere created by the participants made it all so easy and flowing. We appreciate every participant who came with their specific gift to create the IIT event, and would like to thank each one.
This IIT was held at Dongguk University Manhae-maeul, a site dedicated to Han Jong-un - Korean poet and Buddhst monk. The organizing team were a wonder and celebration to us. All staffers of Korea NVC center, they accomplished the work to be attended to behind
the scenes with a sense of willingness and harmony. Hyunjoo was the lead organizer, and she and her team (Seunghee, Daesoon, Stephan, Suji, Sungil, Harin, Soonho) The organizers team were on top of every conceivable need and strategy, (at least, from our perspective). Marianne commented that this organizational support allowed the trainer team to work in a way where we could balance our activities with self-care and connective time outside our sessions in a very enjoyable
Number of participants -81
Number of those from outside Korea- 5
Training team consisted of Giacomo Poleschi- Italy, Shona Cameron,
Scotland, Kristin Masters USA, Chris Rajendram, Sri Lanka and Marianne
Göthlin- Sweden. With hosting, translation and much more support from Katherine Singer. We enjoyed the ease and flow of working together and the variety of input offered- and yet with a strong core of presence and following life.
Translator team- This was an area of massive celebrations and tender
Suenghee organized a team of translators from Korea NVC circles that had one another's backs and hearts strongly. The training team shared the vision, value and celebration of having translators who already connected with the spirit and skills of NVC, instead of opting for professional translators. The training team and translators met several times to attune to one another, to set intentions about how to work well together.
This set up allowed everything to slow to an intentional level, so everyone got to hear messages twice, even if one of the languages was unknown, the pacing felt very human. The mourning wasn't universal, but for a few translators there was significant challenge to the process when participants corrected translations, stimulating big jackals that needed support and healing. Thankfully, that support existed, yet our
hearts hurt for those challenged. A great sense of humanness about "being me and willing to contribute the best I have" -. was there at the end.
The team felt strongly that leaving an open 4th session for participants
would allow for an easier choice to offer evening sessions without MMS
about trainer offerings. As a result, we had a number of folks step
forward to offer in the evening, with strong attendance.
On day 6, we changed the schedule to allow for an integration afternoon,
and encouraged organizing within home groups to support getting off campus, rest, play and more connection outside of the regular forms. It also allowed us trainers to learn more about Korean culture, while visiting
different interesting places.
Giraffes around the World had an abundance of offerings #13. It gave
participants and visitors a tour of applied NVC in Korea and beyond, (in
their countries, in villages, in schools, restaurants, etc).
One thing we’d love to add is to celebrate we had one participant of 17
years old with her mother and how much we enjoyed to have “a teen”, who mc’ed our No Need for Talent Show, and participants as a family at the IIT.
Finally we sat in wonder at our Social Change session as a very inspiring
time emerged where the participants listed 26 areas where NVC can
contribute to social change, and the very engaged work in groups around
that. We left with a huge wave of hope and trust in the NVC process and how participants took and made plans together for social change and how fully a part of their journey going forward.
Kristin Masters, Shona Cameron, Marianne Göthlin, Giacomo Poleschi, Chris Rajendram
Learning, Living and Sharing NVC: The Path Towards Certification
The next USA event is in 2020.
As we are now offering a CALFING event in Europe(June 24th to July 4th Terzo di Danciano Italy), For more information about CALFING Italy, please visit www.nvccalf.com.
Our next Calfing North America will be in 2020.
Stephanie Bachmann Mattei, Ph.D. Certified Trainer and Assessor with The Center for Nonviolent Communication Qualified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction -MBSR- Teacher
Learning, Living and Sharing NVC: The Path towards Certification
I recall with joy and gratitude the time I walked the certification path under the loving guidance of my assessor, Penny Wassman. I still treasure the companionship, growth, and support I received from her during our journey together.
Several years ago, Sylvia Haskvitz, on behalf of the assessors’ community, invited me to consider undergoing the training to become an assessor with her mentoring. As I hold dearly Marshall B. Rosenberg’s vision to touch “a critical mass” with NVC, supporting candidates who are committed to learning, living and sharing NVC to become certified with CNVC, was a no-brainer for me.
And now, imagine gathering candidates only, from all over the world, committed to learning, living and sharing NVC, together with 4 international assessors (Rita Herzog, Sylvia Haskvitz, Michael Dillo, and myself) for 9 days and immersing ourselves in NVC consciousness, touching depth and vulnerability from day one!
We chose to call that event “CALFING”… Giraffes give birth standing tall. The calf drops from a certain height, yet that 6 feet fall helps the calf break the umbilical cord and take the first breath on its own. Within the first hour of its life the calf begins to stand, walk and nurse. An incredible story of interdependence.
As one participant put it: “9 days of breathing NVC, laughing and crying, discovering and sharing, full of opportunities for self-reflection and enjoying nature.” S.L.P India
That is what we focused on during our CALFING 2018 in Virginia: interdependence. We shared not only moments of learning together following Marshall’s curriculum as at IITs, we also cooked all of our meals together. One participant -who expressed strong resistance to serving in the kitchen offered to give massages instead, only to find herself, after a few days, joyfully chopping vegetables, once she was sure she was fully at choice about how to contribute
to the community life.
“My experience with the CALF Team and retreat participants transformed my intellectual understanding of NVC, gently and persistently leading me to an entirely new awareness of both what it means and how it feels to exist in NVC consciousness. “ writes A.P. from the U.S.A.
To creatively embody interdependence, we carried out together a “room dance” and a “money dance” where everyone’s needs (not preferences) were held with equal care. So, rooms were not pre-assigned, nor requests for tuition contribution fixed. Every day and every moment was a co-creation. As one of the participants shared:
“Calfing Virginia was for me a first-hand experience of exploring, learning, investigating what it means to do this journey of certification as power-with, as co-creation.” YH South America
“My need for integrity was met in seeing how the leadership facilitated and made space for authentic expression, and it brought home for me that this process is a journey that can change moment by moment.”
N.C. North America
As Marshall left us with the legacy of Community, Spirituality and Social Change for the path towards certification, as a community we investigated together the spirituality of NVC and how this transformation of consciousness liberates us from “the cultural crap” Marshall used to talk about.
In the words of another participant: “The CALF retreat gave me an unexpected opportunity to reconnect with my spiritual process.”
“The community, the leadership, and the environment opened me up to be filled with the awareness of my triggers, and to be filled up with the memnoons, the reception of blessings when it is not possible to distinguish who is giving and who is receiving.”
N.C. North America
Two of the participants underwent the assessment process while at the CALFING event, choosing their focus from the topics of Marshall’s curriculum. One of them celebrates the gathering event as:
"An opportunity to discover my own goodness, a time for deep learning and sharing, and a place where I could be held in warm accompaniment." S.J. North America
The candidate from Africa, F.O., shared how her sharing of NVC contributes to social change, healing and peace in her country.
One of Marshall’s sayings was “Not to do anything that isn’t play.” Michael Dillo took that quote very seriously when he chose to play and prepare this video for us to enjoy.
As we are now offering a CALFING event in Europe, we would like to invite candidates to join us in this new co-creation. Together we may discover some new pearls:
"Attending the CALF retreat in Virginia was one of the best choices I made in 2018! It felt as though my heart and mind opened to the new wisdom and beauty, and I discovered the pearl inside myself and everyone around me." LF. North America
"When we understand the needs that motivate our own and others behavior, we have
~Marshall B. Rosenberg
Talk-It-Out Radio - February 10, 2019
Somatic Approaches to Social Justice and Empathic Leadership
Host Nancy Kahn talks with guest Kelsey Blackwell, a writer, embodiment facilitator, and coach specializing in wellness, racial justice, mindfulness, meditation, and natural living. Nancy and Kelsey discuss how they view embodiment practices as essential to the important work of Nonviolent Communication, Social Justice and Movement Building.
Listeners are invited to call in to the show at 7:30 pm (510-848-4425 or 1800-958-9008) to ask focused questions or provide comments related to the show’s topic.
That’s Sunday, February 10, at 7pm on KPFA 94.1 FM. If you miss the live show, listen on the archives at kpfa.org/program/talk-it-out-radio or on iTunes. Nancy Kahn has more than 20 years experience as a skilled facilitator, consultant and mediator in Nonviolent Communication Across Differences in organizations and with private clients.
Kelsey Blackwell is a body intellectual, writer and dancer who works at the intersections of spiritual practice, social justice and creative expression. As an embodiment facilitator, Kelsey offers mindfulness and embodiment practices for exploring power and privilege. Kelsey teaches the class InterPlay for Artists, Activists and Dabblers in Oakland, California, which offers body-wise tools for more expression, health and
resiliency. She holds an MS in Magazine Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow her on her blog: themarvelouscrumb.com.
"NVC requires us to be continually conscious of the beauty within ourselves and
~Marshall B. Rosenberg
Compassion in Action
Onlookers Start Filming Moments of People Making Sacrifices for Others
Prepare to have a warm heart and moist eyes! This video contains 8 acts of kindness that will make you feel a little bit better about the world.
Homelessness is rife in large cities, especially New York. If you live in a city like this you have to put up an emotional barrier or you won’t survive there, as awful as that is. That’s just one of the reasons the first video will move you to tears.
The person behind the camera is clearly just another passenger who saw an opportunity to record the act of kindness. A frail old man who looks as though he’s been through some tough times, and honestly, should be in a care home, is sat on the subway. He has no shirt on and another passenger just can’t sit by. He’s wearing a vest top beneath his t-shirt so he removes it and tries to give it to the man.
"The most dangerous of all behaviors may consist of doing things 'because we're
~Marshall B. Rosenberg
The Compassion Course Online 2019
"For anyone who wants more compassion, understanding, and harmony in their life and in our world"
Weekly Messages, Monthly Conferences, Exercises, Global Community and More
With Thom Bond
As we humans have developed other technologies, the technology of compassion has been developed too. This course provides the “how to” of creating more connection, understanding, and compassion in our daily lives – a way to create a world we will be happy to leave our children’s children. The work is challenging, at times confronting, and with perseverance, practice, focus, and dedication, it works.
For the last 8 years this course has served more 19,000 participants from over 110 countries in 4 languages, making the skills of compassionate living available to anyone, regardless of time and money constraints. For eight years running, this course has proven to be “life-changing”, “fun” and “transformational” (check out the quotes below).
A Newly Updated Version of Words That Work in Business 2nd Edition
Regular Price: $15.95
Sale Price: $9.95
Addressing the most common workplace relationship challenges, this manual shows how to use the principles of nonviolent communication to improve any workplace atmosphere. Offering practical tools that match recognizable work scenarios, this guide can help all employees positively affect their work relationships and company culture, regardless of their position. This
handbook displays proven communication skills for effectively handling difficult conversations, reducing workplace conflict and stress, improving individual and team productivity, having more effective meetings, and giving and receiving meaningful feedback, thereby creating a more enjoyable work environment.
Stay Connected to the Values of Compassion With the Free 366 Daily Peaceful Living Meditations. Read one sample
Day 285: Conflict Resolution
Anytime you’re in conflict, it is likely you are arguing for a particular strategy, rather than connecting to the underlying needs behind it. This simple fact is important to recognize.
The first step in conflict resolution is to remind yourself to look for needs, not strategies. Even simply recognizing this will help bring resolution.
Step two is reminding yourself that you truly value everyone’s needs and that you do not want to get your way at someone else’s expense.
Step three is looking for the underlying needs behind each request. If your partner wants to visit family for Christmas and you’d like to stay home, look at your needs. I’d guess his needs are for fun, connection with family, and contributing to their lives.
Your needs might be for rest, ease, and fun.
Step four, then, is brainstorming other alternatives that will value everyone’s needs. Rather than focus on just two options - spending Christmas with family or at home alone - are there other options that you could consider? It is so easy to get stuck in
our strategies if we don’t acknowledge the actual needs we want to meet. Once we acknowledge them, we become more open to looking at other options.
Notice today how conflicts stem from arguing a particular strategy instead of focusing on discovering and meeting everyone’s needs.
We hope you enjoyed this meditation!
If you would like to receive 366 free Peaceful Daily Meditations please sign up here. Your subscription is
absolutely free, and you can unsubscribe from the series at any time.
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