Mind the Gap


Thanks to friend Nicola for telling us about these brilliant subway hacks.

Yesterday, activists pasted quotations from Dave Graeber’s Bullshit Jobs essay over existing adverts on the London tube.

They did this specifically yesterday because Monday 5th is the first day back to work after Christmas for many Londoners, and tube commuters are probably the ones who will benefit most from a dose of Graeber wisdom and mischief.

Among the quotations used are:

It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs for the sake of keeping us all working.

Huge swaths of people spend their days performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed.


How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labor when one secretly feels one’s job should not exist?

Ugly, idiotic Vice magazine has an opportunistic interview with Graeber about the posters in which he rises to the occasion to say:

over the course of the 20th century there’s been a huge effort to re-imagine the world; it’s the imagination of these great entrepreneurial geniuses that create all these things—workers are just robots, working in the factories, doing what they’re told, extensions of the minds of these quite great people. It seems there has been an increased emphasis on work as of pure value unto itself.


A job that isn’t bullshit should have concrete benefits to other people. But we can’t do jobs that aren’t bullshit because of debt. That’s a great dilemma from which that movement actually started I think. I would say to unions and organizers, think about that, redefine what is valuable about work—work is valuable if it makes other people’s lives better. It would be nice if we were rewarded for making people’s lives better, not punished. From an individual point of view, think about the way that you can navigate that with your own conscience.

All of this happened while I was sleeping.

★ Tired of the everyday grind? Pre-order the New Escapologist book today.


Robert Wringham is a humorist and the editor-in-chief of New Escapologist.

2 Responses to “Mind the Gap”

  1. Arthur says:

    Thanks for pointing us to that essay. I’m going to read it now. Seems like a similar view I held which lead me to leaving my job. I enjoy everyday and haven’t missed my job since. I cringe when I think of my ex co workers still doing the same routine ever single day. I don’t know how they did it…some have been there for over 20 years. I was going crazy with just 3 years lol.


  2. Mark says:

    Awesome and inspiring.

Leave a Reply

Latest issues and offers


Issues One to Seven

A bundle of our first seven issues. Featuring minimalism, Houdini, Leo Babauta, Bohemianism, Alain de Botton, Sartre, and Tom Hodgkinson. 567 pages. £35.


Issues Eight to Thirteen

A bundle of our last six issues. Featuring Luke Rhinehart, Flaubert, Mr Money Mustache, part-time work, Will Self, home life, Richard Herring, and E. F. Schumacher. 593 pages. £30.

Issue Thirteen

Our final issue. Featuring an interview with celebrity mortician Caitlin Doughty; Matt Caulfield on zen fool Ryokan; and Reggie C. King on David Bowie and Sun Ra. 122 pages. £7.

Escape Everything!

A hardback guide to scarpering. Essential reading for wage slaves and slugabeds alike. Published by Unbound. 230 pages. £12.