ABM is an abbreviation for Arbeitsbeschaffungsmaßnahme.

The word refers to work that is provided for unemployed people, eg. for social causes.  The idea being that unemployed people stay in the routine of getting up in the morning and going to work.

These days the abbreviation is used to refer to something that has to be done “for the sake of it”.  For example, if a company is to be restructured without any apparent reason, then this is often referred to by the employees as an ABM.  Another example is the filling out of forms, although the data is already available.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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