A Lot Of “Knowledge Work” Is Just Performative Nonsense

… but we don’t discuss that openly.

Ted Bauer
4 min readJun 3, 2023

Good newsletter here from Paul Millerd, whose stuff is usually pretty good:

If you’re into new ways of thinking about work, definitely read through that. Basically Millerd is taking pull quotes from a Vox article about how a lot of people in “Knowledge Work” — offensive term, as most plumbers have more knowledge than “marketing managers” — don’t really work that hard. They jiggle their mouse a few times per day and they respond to fire drills. Otherwise, they’re streaming stuff, taking walks, spending time with their kids, or — and I myself have seen and done this many times — sitting at the bar with a beer and a burger.

This is the greatest “open secret” of modern work. Because of at-scale tech and SaaS and the automation of some platforms, plus over-hiring to prove growth to investors, a lot of jobs require, at most, 8–12 hours a week. And most of those 8–12 hours are the aformentioned fire drills.

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Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.