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Help Wanted: B.S. Jobs

Help Wanted: B.S. Jobs

Tuesday, 26 June 2018 11:07 AM Current | Bio | Archive

That BS does not stand for Bachelor of Science.

In this case, the abbreviation arises because David Graeber, identified in The New Statesman as a “U.S. anarchist,” listed his top seven BS jobs recently for the NY Post’s business section. (Yes, it has one and a fine one it is.)

The piece got my attention because Number Two on Graeber’s list was "Student-paper writers." They were indeed jobs I lusted after and got often without an interview or résumé but with verbal recos from satisfied previous employers.

This was all back in the misbegotten ‘60s so the gigs were temporary positions. The benefits did not include healthcare, life insurance, and vacation time, but you did learn to write on deadline on subjects you knew nothing about before reporting for duty. Those assignments proved even more valuable than attending class, which I only did periodically, never bothering to hang around for one of those degree things.

My clients were a mixed bag of people who all went on to great success at school and later in the real world. They had the discernment, though, to divvy up their time and leave the tiresome chore of writing and researching to me.

One went on to head sales at a major brokerage house; one became CFO of a subsidiary at a Fortune 100 company; one was an OB/GYN in Connecticut; another taught for years in high schools in California, Pennsylvania, and Arizona; the other became a city manager of a middling metropolis in the Midwest.

The CFO’s and the high school teacher’s papers were graduate school assignments I did while working as a Temp Sub Clerk-Carrier in the U.S. Post Office, Woodhaven, NY 11421. The grad stuff was each at least 20 pages and the guys got A’s and I got (I confess now that the statute of limitations has passed) tax-free cash.

I realize too that no job ever prepared me better to make a living and doing this blog piece, pieces of cake compared to writing about "The Wealth of Nations" without having read it.

The other jobs David Graeber, U.S. Anarchist, looks down his snoot at?

  1. Compliance workers. People who help people comply with the rules Elizabeth Warren and Company conjure
  2. Student-paper writers as noted. Saintly creatures, for sure
  3. Telemarketers. For me, sales people using current technology; for him a job with “no social value”
  4. Middle management. Lower and upper, I guess, are key. But the spot just under or just over should be eliminated, he must figure
  5. Corporate lawyers. He argues that the more inefficient they are the more money they make
  6. Movie executives. I object to this one since I really admired Jack Warner for looking at the first day’s dailies of “Rebel Without a Cause” and saying: “throw it out. Re-shoot in color and take the glasses off the kid” so James Dean could go on to become James Dean
  7. Academic administrative staff. Seems to me this is how schools turn a buck what with loans and grants and fellowships, but I am a little out of it even more than I was back in the 60s

If given the chance, I would add an 8th one for sure. In fact, I’d move it up and place it in the #1 Position.

That occupation would be, of course, “U.S. Anarchist.”

Tom Messner worked forever in advertising. In politics, he avoided the predictable negative bent and did positive ads for Reagan in ’84 and for Bush in ’88 along with Bush’s convention film. The agency he co-founded created NASDAQ’s first branding, Volvo’s comeback, and Fox News’s "We Report. You Decide." Then learning from the pols he partnered with (Roger Ailes in particular), they brought attack ads to such formerly benign areas such as telecom (MCI). At 73, he’s doing two things he never did before: Blogging here on wildly unconnected subjects coming on the heels of last year’s adventure: the writing of his first play, a musical "Dogs" destined now for either Broadway or The Pound. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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That BS does not stand for Bachelor of Science.
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Tuesday, 26 June 2018 11:07 AM
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