In 2014 there was a transit strike when London’s mayor threatened to close perhaps a hundred London Underground ticket offices, leaving only machines. This sparked an online debate among certain local Marxists about whether the workers threatened with redundancy had “bullshit jobs” […] Asked to respond, I eventually referred my interlocutors to a circular put out by the strikers themselves, called “Advice to Passengers Using the Future London Underground.” It included lines like these:

Please ensure you are thoroughly familiar with London Underground’s 11 lines and 270 stations before traveling . . . Please ensure that there are no delays in your journey, or any accidents, emergencies, incidents, or evacuations. Please do not be disabled. Or poor. Or new to London. Please avoid being too young or too old. Please do not be harassed or assaulted while traveling. Please do not lose your property or your children. Please do not require assistance in any way.

[…] What tube workers actually do, then, is something much closer to what feminists have termed “caring labor.” It has more in common with a nurse’s work than a bricklayer’s. It’s just that, in the same way as women’s unpaid caring labor is made to disappear from our accounts of “the economy,” so are the caring aspects of other working-class jobs made to disappear as well.

Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber