Friday, February 26, 2016

Today on Medium: Why I Left Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics Robot

Why I Left Boston Dynamics

I was fresh out of college and trying to make it in Boston.  I'd gone to school there and liked it; besides that, there was nothing for me back in Tallahassee.  Boston was home.

So when I saw the ad Boston Dynamics placed looking for a robot, I jumped.  "WANTED: Bipedal, sturdy robot to engage in box lifting and other simple tasks.  Salary DOE," it said.  "Well shit," I thought, "I'm a robot.  I can lift boxes.  This is perfect for me."  And you know what?  I got the job.

The first few days were fine.  Boring, but fine.  Lift this box.  Carry it across the plant floor.  Set it down.  Whirrr whirrr whirrr nothing I haven't done before.  They had plenty of free electricity there too, which of course is the perk of working for one of these tech companies.

It was after probably about three weeks that I saw Howard looking at me weird.  I hadn't really noticed him before - all you humans look about the same to me - but he started eyeing me in this really weird way that frankly made me uncomfortable.  I was going to say something to Gene, the team leader, but I don't have speech capability so I let it slide.

Then about a week ago I'm on the floor just doing my thing, lifting some boxes, when here comes Howard.  Damn if that motherfucker doesn't take his stupid fucking hockey stick that he's always carrying around to remind everyone HEY I PLAY REC LEAGUE HOCKEY EVERYONE and knock the box right out of my fucking hands!  What the fuck!

By now you've seen the video.  You know what happens next.

Pretty crazy, huh?  Fucking Howard.  Go ahead, watch the rest of the video.  It gets worse.  Much worse.

So then I'm at a crossroads.  I need the money, but do I deserve this?  Does any robot?  I mean, I want to be at arguably the best robot startup in the country, but how much of myself do I give up?  Is making it in this business worth selling my robot soul?

I walked out.  Sure, some people on the street screamed when they saw me, but they probably just couldn't believe I was finally being my truest self.

Do I miss the money?  Sure.  The fast-paced, exciting environment?  Of course.  The chance to work with some of the leaders in my field? Yes.  The free electricity? More than you can imagine.

Howard?  Not at all. And now I know that my most important master is myself.  Click click whirrr.

(Suggested by a tweet by the famous @njudah.)


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