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  1. #1


    Jobs where there's no or almost no actual work to do (ones you've had, and potential ones)

    A while back I read this long piece about a guy's experience with an office job—probably a decently-paying one—where he did basically nothing for long stretches (because his boss was a severe workaholic and would do work that he was supposed to do):

    http://marcschoenfeld.com/SadJob.htm

    If I remember right, the guy says something about how he eventually had to quit because the situation was driving him a little crazy, and he wasn't sure how much longer it would continue before someone other than the boss picked up on it and he got in trouble.

    But if we assumed that somehow, through whatever circumstances, a situation like this could be sustained for an entire career—is that something that would appeal to you at all? Or if not the same situation, then one where some other cause would lead to a similar lack of work?

    And then have you ever experienced anything comparable in the past? Or currently?

  2. #2
    miss queen pax's Avatar
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    When I worked as a meat stocker for late night shifts, everything was already done by the morning crew... so I'd throw away boxes as slowly as possible or mop the not-at-all-dirty floors just to pass the time. And when there was meat to stock there weren't many spots to fill so it'd only take like an hour

    It was so damn maddening that one time I was determined to stare at the clock for a full hour before my lunch break... that lasted like two whole minutes

  3. #3
    Breathtaking Nitsy's Avatar
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    I used to read magazines when I worked at a small branch library. The tasks I had to do were usually done after 2 hours or sometimes even 1 hour out of 4. I'd spend the rest of the time reading National Geographic or talking with the other guy at the desk. It was pretty bad knowing that city funds were paying for me to do nothing.
    Last edited by Nitsy; 04-18-2018 at 09:40 AM.
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  4. #4
    I'm a real user of women hutz's Avatar
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  5. #5


    My student worker job at my college was basically a do-nothing job until my new boss came in about a year later. I can't complain as I've gained a lot of experience and fun from it.

    You're BoJack Horseman, no cure for that.

  6. #6
    الذهاب المغيرين Two-Bit's Avatar
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    mooching off the government on unemployment, been a great last few months
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    Pin Pal Andre's Avatar
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  8. #8
    d=(^_^)z kupomog's Avatar
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    When I started at this company, I was only helping a tech as an extra hand for a few weeks. For the next 2 or 3 months after the project ended, I sat at a spare table in the office I currently have now. I did nothing while I sat there. I played Angry Birds on my Kindle HD or whatever. Stared at the wall. Ate food and stared more. Drew pictures, got tired of drawing. Got tired of sitting, tired of existing to do nothing.

    I became extremely depressed and worried I wasn't needed and would be let go. It led to me actually falling back into depressive habits of playing hooky like I used to in HS. It was just minor torture to sit there doing nothing but small pockets of "training" for 9 hrs a day. Eventually I had a heart-to-heart with the Help Desk manager as well as my boss and they assured me they'd find work for me somewhere. Then not long after, I replaced the Dispatcher at my desk and he went to Help Desk where he preferred to be.

    Thankfully it all worked out, but I could not stand being at a job where so little happens that you become aware of how much time you have left stuck there. I wouldn't want to work myself to the bone either, but I'd rather be doing something productive.
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  9. #9
    الذهاب المغيرين Two-Bit's Avatar
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    my last station in the navy was great though, 12 hour shifts of manning the phone. the thought was that if someone needed us for something they'd call, but the equipment didn't break that often, so most of the time I sat there on a computer watching netflix or sleeping or trying to find something on tv. one shift I had I binged nearly the entire season of orange is the new black(a couple seasons back). hell sometimes I'd disappear for a couple hours and tell the other people there to call me if they needed me and drove around aimlessly, or went and parked by the beach and smoked a few cigs and stared out into the blue abyss. I knew it was a waste of my capabilities, but I didn't care, I was pleased to have a duty station that laid back after being on a ship for 4 years busting my ass.

  10. #10
    الذهاب المغيرين Two-Bit's Avatar
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    it did suck however when they knew we were doing nothing and decided "hey we need insert random hallway here painted". fuck I hate painting

  11. #11


    A lot of these job situations sound pretty good to me. But that uncertainty over whether or not I would be fired because I wasn't needed, like kupomog talks about (or getting reprimanded or demoted, as the guy in my initial post seemed to be wary of) would take a lot of the fun out of it. I would ideally want to feel that the lack of much work wasn't a concern for anyone higher up than me, or at least for anyone who would potentially find out about it.

    In my case, so far, the closest I've come to having a job like this that could turn into a career was when I taught middle-school English in Asia for a little under a year. I typically had to be in the classroom (either assisting the main teacher, or teaching my own class) for a couple hours a day, but for most of the rest of the time I was able to just go on the internet, watch stuff on Netflix, read a book, walk around in the woods near the school, etc.

    Part of the problem though was that I would have had at least several hours fewer per week of this time where I had nothing to do, on average, if I had put more of an effort into my classes—I got a little better in my last few months there, but even then I think I wasn't putting in an adequate amount of effort. And then on top of that, I never or almost never liked the actual teaching; so there would be this strong swing in my enjoyment and stress levels on most days, between the time when I wasn't teaching and the time when I was teaching.

    Overall, then, it wasn't really close to being the ideal scenario I'm imagining, where you could adequately do whatever work was required while still being able to not work for the majority of the time.
    Last edited by Man; 04-19-2018 at 09:37 AM.


  12. #12
    Junior Camper JoeyShabadooJr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Man View Post
    A lot of these job situations sound pretty good to me. But that uncertainty over whether or not I would be fired because I wasn't needed, like kupomog talks about (or getting reprimanded or demoted, as the guy in my initial post seemed to be wary of) would take a lot of the fun out of it. I would ideally want to feel that the lack of much work wasn't a concern for anyone higher up than me, or at least for anyone who would potentially find out about it.

    In my case, so far, the closest I've come to having a job like this that could turn into a career was when I taught middle-school English in Asia for a little under a year. I typically had to be in the classroom (either assisting the main teacher, or teaching my own class) for a couple hours a day, but for most of the rest of the time I was able to just go on the internet, watch stuff on Netflix, read a book, walk around in the woods near the school, etc.

    Part of the problem though was that I would have had at least several hours fewer per week of this time where I had nothing to do, on average, if I had put more of an effort into my classes—I got a little better in my last few months there, but even then I think I wasn't putting in an adequate amount of effort. And then on top of that, I never or almost never liked the actual teaching; so there would be this strong swing in my enjoyment and stress levels on most days, between the time when I wasn't teaching and the time when I was teaching.

    Overall, then, it wasn't really close to being the ideal scenario I'm imagining, where you could adequately do whatever work was required while still being able to not work for the majority of the time.
    I'm actually teaching English in Korea now, but I envy that situation as I'm teaching at a private school where I'm basically a glorified babysitter for 2/3 of the day. Which country did you teach in?

  13. #13


    I was also in Korea, but I taught at public schools there (two different ones, on different days of the week).

    I remember that the general perception was that people at those after-school academies—I don't know if that's what you meant by private school—had to work harder, but they made more money. In my case, as you can probably guess, I was happier to be paid less and have more time to waste.

  14. #14
    Junior Camper JoeyShabadooJr.'s Avatar
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    Yeah I work at a Hagwon, which is an academy. My school also functions as an English Kindergarten for half of the day before it becomes that after-school academy. I think I get paid about the same as my friends at Public school. Where in Korea were you?

  15. #15


    I'm currently working in Customer Operations for a fairly well respected financial institution.

    I'm only in my current role due to basically having continual 'temporary contract extensions' after my initial 6 month internship there.

    For most of the time, I'm doing fairly minor Admin tasks and try to get away with doing as little as possible.

    My laziness, and lack of getting as much sleep as I ought to, means that I don't have enough energy to gain specific knowledge about the company I work for or even about the role I'm in.

    On the one hand my dream is a decently paid office job with decent perks, for instance I'm on flexi time, whereby I can get away with doing as little as possible. On the the other hand I find that lack of engagement & dynamism quite depressing.

    Part of the problem is I'm essentially a classic Inbetweener. I've got decent academic qualifications (Honours degree at university) but not prestigious enough or with high enough grades to place me above others with such credentials.

    Plus my qualifications are in social sciences, which have nothing to do with Admin/Finance/Business related job-fields, which puts me at a distinct disadvantage. I've got too much ego to settle for working at a call centre or in a restaurant or something.

  16. #16


    Could you ever see yourself researching careers that would on the one hand allow you to have a decent income, a nice-sounding job title, and maybe eventually your own office, while also letting you get away with not doing that much a lot of the time?

    It's something I've definitely considered looking into more deeply—you'd feel like there might be some way to put together a list of a few specific, attainable, mid-level office jobs that wouldn't involve that much work on average.


    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyShabadooJr. View Post
    Yeah I work at a Hagwon, which is an academy. My school also functions as an English Kindergarten for half of the day before it becomes that after-school academy. I think I get paid about the same as my friends at Public school. Where in Korea were you?
    Maybe I'm misremembering about the higher income, then; it was over five years ago now that I was there.

    I lived in far northwestern Korea, on a large island off the coast. Technically the county was part of the city of Incheon, but I would take the bus to Seoul much more often than to Incheon proper. It actually may have taken less time to get to central Seoul from where I was (about an hour and a half, or maybe a little less late at night).

  17. #17
    :gatorpee: jim's Avatar
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  18. #18
    Hired Goon
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    I worked at Asurion, the company that does cell phone insurance for most of the major carriers, for 5 years. Most of those 5 years were miserable and soul-sucking and surely shortened my life, but there were very brief periods where I got to do stuff other than taking phone calls. For 7 weeks I did system testing where all I did was test computer programs to make sure they worked. No customers, no nothing. It was fucking SWEET. And then eventually I got promoted from the call center to the online chat department, and for a while there the job was SUPER cushy and easy. Didn't last long though unfortunately, and became even more stressful than the call center.

    Going further back, working at GameCrazy was pretty nice. We weren't that busy of a store and the only real stress was having to meet a quota of membership cards/warranties/scratch protection/preorders. When the company went bankrupt and started closing down, we were in liquidation for about a month before shutting down. I literally sat in a chair playing my DS all day, only standing up when a customer was ready to check out. Best part was no longer having to meet quotas or worry about the stupid retail niceties.



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