What Is a Dump Job?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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"Dump job" is a term that is often applied to situations in which an individual or a group of individuals take specific steps to avoid assuming some type of responsibility for an action or set of actions. The term is sometimes used in law enforcement circles, but can be applied equally in business settings. In any situation, a dump job involves a deliberate effort to deflect responsibility away, forcing someone else to take on those undesirable tasks.

As it relates to police work, the term is sometimes used to describe activities in which criminals make an effort to deflect suspicion away from themselves, and possibly on to others as a means of avoiding responsibility for their actions. For example, an embezzler may cook the books in a way that makes it appear that someone else has been dipping into the company funds. In like manner, a murderer may choose to move the corpse from the murder scene and transport it to a different area in hopes that law enforcement will never connect the crime with the perpetrator. In examples of this type, there is a deliberate effort to deceive as part of the plan for avoiding accountability for the act.


The same general concept of the dump job can also be found in business settings. Employees who do not wish to be tasked with certain responsibilities may take steps to either delegate those tasks to someone else, or even attempt to appear loaded down with other work in order to avoid being assigned a task. A work group may develop a number of rationalizations why a given task should be assigned to a different group, simply because they have no desire to become responsible for the successful completion of those tasks. For example, an employee may hide the fact that he or she is proficient in creating proposals in order to avoid working with a disliked salesperson.

With any type of dump job, the idea is to disengage from any association with something that is considered undesirable. At times, it is necessary to not only deflect attention away in order to accomplish this goal, it is also necessary to aim that deflected attention toward someone specific. When successful, the individual masterminding the dump job is able to move forward without experiencing any negative effects from the avoidance, and can often move away from the situation with little to no regrets for anyone else who is adversely affected as a result of their machinations.


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Post 1

I think I was the victim of a dump job when I first got hired at my current company. I had only been there two weeks when one of the account reps brought me a large box of papers and asked me to sort them by date. He said it was a very important project, and the boss wanted it on his desk by Friday. I didn't even question it, I just got started.

On Thursday, someone else walked by my desk and noticed the huge stack of reports. I told her it was my first major project and I was afraid I was never going to get it done on time. She looked at the papers and told

me they were routine reports that the account reps were supposed to get done by the end of the month themselves. They just dumped all of them on the "new guy". I have to admit I felt pretty stupid. She told me to put the rest of the reports back in the box and leave them in her office.

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