That is the problem, because it's significantly less fun playing "Guy with Sword," "Guy with Spear," and "Guy who Punches" as opposed to jobs with some sort of personality and character behind them. A Pugulist is a Monk without the more interesting abilities.
So what makes Monks more than "guys who punch" that Pugilists are lacking? Personality?
Consider, Pugilists are hand to hand fighters that fight dirty. They're bar-room brawlers, boxers, street fighters, thugs and rogues. They take cheap shots, they hit below the belt, they sucker punch, they exploit weaknesses. They're rough and tumble DD's, light on their feet and fast with their fists. Look at their abilities, yeah, a lot of them are similar to ones Monks get, but some are derived from Thief, and some are new to the class. All in all, it gives a very rougish feel to the class that has nothing to do with the austere aeseticism of Monks and the strict focus and discipline of Black Belts. Pugilist is it's own class.
Lancer is another one that can't be boiled down to "Guy with Spear." They strike hard and fast, relying on the adreniline rush of battle to carry them through. They drain hit points, haste themselves, generate TP, focus their strength behind a single blow, and do all of this from behind the defensive line. They're something of a mixture of Dragoon and Samurai.
Gladiator is really a fun job, I think. People see it as bland, but I look at it as having worlds of potential. On the surface, it's "Guy with Sword" but I think it simply has broad thematic options. As I said before, throw on Thaumaturge abilities and you have a Red Mage. Conjurer abilities and you have a Paladin. Pugilist abilities and you have a Theif. Lancer/Maurader abilities and you have a Warrior. But when looking at the job's own theme, I think this is one case where the name conjures enough images for us: Gladiators are swordsmen, pit fighters, soldiers perhaps, or street thugs. This is one place where I have to admit that the name Warrior or Fighter could easily be applied, but I think with the Armory system being what it is, Gladiator was a good choice of name.
Maurader is another good one: they're part Warrior, sure, but also have roguish elements with their dirty fighting techniques, making them part Pirate as well. You could see them as sort of a non-nordic version of the Viking: sea faring warriors who pilage and raid. Either way, they have more personality to them than "Warrior" brings to mind.
Thaumaturge and Conjurer have more personality, I feel than the names "White Mage" and "Black Mage." White Mage is basically "Cleric" with the religious trappings removed (and then reinstated through gear and abilities in FFXI). Black Mage is, of course, your Black Magician, but where as Black Magicians generally make pacts with spirits (which is more Summoner's perview), Black Mages are evokers of elemental forces. Now consider the names Thaumaturge (miracle or spell worker) and Conjurer (producer of matter and energy from thin air). In both cases you have a clear definition of what it is the class is doing: Thaumaturges cast spells through complex rituals, chants and incantations. Conjurers produce effects by channeling natural forces.
In any case, I don't agree with the notion that these jobs don't have personality. What they don't have is the gravity of 20 some-odd years of tradition behind them.
The armory system fails on so many levels. It's tedious, illogical, and in my opinion, boring as ****. There is no sense of identity, no cool factor. Just a mish-mash of generic abilities and a lot of leveling.
I'll give you tedious. Something needs to be done about macros and job changing, ability setting, etc. But illogical? How so? If anything this system is more logical than "I'm a Corsair, so I buff party members with gambling cards and dice" or "I'm a Blue Mage, so I steal monsters abilities." The old jobs have flavor because
they don't ascribe to logic in so much as the creativity of the developers. That's not to say the logic of the Armory system necessarily detracts from the flavor of the jobs, just that you haven't come to associate anything more than "guy with sword" or "guy with big axe" to these jobs, despite the various abilities, gear, and flavor text available on each. It's not what your used to, and that contributes to it being boring... for you.
I'm not sure I see where this "mish mash" of generic abilities I see everyone talking about is coming from. In FFXI, was there any real functional difference between Wild Carrot and Cure II besides aesthetics? More than say Cure and Sacrifice? I've leveled Lancer, Pugilist and Gladiator a bit, and I can honestly say while there's some obvious overlap (Provoke and Taunt), and some weaponskills are similar in function, the jobs have completely different feels to them, and I enjoy both playing straight jobs (all PUG abilities, for example on PUG), as well as mixing and matching abilities from all three. I think the problem isn't that the system is boring, but that people are looking for more solid ground to stand on as far as how to assemble their characters to perform certain roles. It takes an extra level of involvement when you have more choices to make than simply "what job am I going to set as main, and what job as sub."