Do I have a bullshit job?

"[...] what about those people who are themselves convinced their jobs are meaningless? (Graeber, 2013)"

Well, I'm employed as a so-called "Senior Sales Engineer". When I first started at Cognigy in Jan. 2019, I didn't even know such a job title exists. As a German kid from a small town that grew up as a son of a doctor and a nurse, honestly, this was American movie stuff for me. So, what does it mean? According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics "Sales engineers sell complex scientific and technological products or services to businesses. They must have extensive knowledge of the products’ parts and functions and must understand the scientific processes that make these products work."

Moreover, it says that Sales engineers typically do the following:

  • Prepare and deliver technical presentations explaining products or services to existing and prospective customers
  • Talk with customers and engineers to assess equipment needs and to determine system requirements
  • Collaborate with sales teams to understand customer requirements and provide sales support
  • Secure and renew orders and arrange delivery
  • Plan and modify products to meet customer needs
  • Help clients solve problems with installed equipment
  • Recommend improved materials or machinery to customers, showing how changes will lower costs or increase production
  • Help in researching and developing new products
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Nice, in short, I help my company to sell their products. Got it! But is it now meaningful? Is it relevant to the system? Would the world end if I stop working tomorrow? Puuuh, I guess not?

However, that doesn't directly mean that everything is bullshit. I ask for a little optmimism, please.

I have a lot of contact to people from around the globe, prepare and present fancy demo -- I learn new topics every day. I would not call this bullshit, would you?

Let's take a look into the company I am selling stuff for, Cognigy. On the website it says:

Cogngiy.AI Agents for your business

Okay, if I get Cognigy.AI, I can support my customers, which means normal people like you and me, and my agents who answer all these contact requests. Sounds promising, right? Moreover, the website talks about "AI Agents [who] power a brighter customer service experience, cutting response times, fueling customer loyalty and reducing costs". All in all, quite positive aspects that could help an enterprise to improve customer and employee satisfaction in their contact service organization.

Taking a look at this from 30,000 feet, Cognigy is part of a so-called Conversational AI market, that uses artificial intelligence for creating human-like conversations. Hence, I don't have to wait for a human agent anymore in peak hours but can help myself by having a chat with their artificial colleague. This virtual colleague acts as buddy alongside the human workforce and aims to reduce stress and pressure in contact centers. Thus, both parties, the agent and contacting customer don't have to start the conversation with a bad mood and can get things sorted in a friendly and aggression-free zone.

Indeed, it's a luxury problem we can solve as the world we're living in is so advanced. However, I personally don't wanna miss a utopia in which service quality is the main topic leadership teams are talking about in their board meetings! What about you?

Therefore, let me try to conclude this.

It's a bit complex for me to be objective in this case, I know. I have no clue if I even can. I am working at Cognigy for almost 5 years now and did my part to make this company what it is today. I travelled the world, got promoted and freaking enjoy what I do every damn day. However, would I really still be here if my job would be a list of unnecessary, coffee-driven, stamp tasks? I doubt it, honestly. I think the point for me with these bullshit jobs Graeber is talking about is that it completely depends on the company you're working for. I know, obviousness incoming! But, let me take Cognigy as an example. A group of brilliant people is developing a software platform that, in the end, makes my life as private dude easier and more convinient. Companies that decide to become our customers, get rid of waiting queues, provide their service in every language out there, everywhere, always, and they even know me when I am calling! Isn't this so cool and relevant?! Yeah, the world keeps existing with bad experiences in customer service but is this a world we want to live in? Don't you hate waiting 20 minutes until someone takes your call who doesn't know you even if you're a customer for 10 years already?

If my job is to explain this service utopia to yet uninformed business people and start the journey with them together which results in a more joyful life for my fellow human beings, then I definitely call it guinessness!