I’ve recently finished reading Player Piano, the first novel Kurt Vonnegut wrote in 1952 - a story of a world in which most jobs are automatized and society is divided in few engineers and managers and a lot of under-employed citizens that struggle to find a purpose of their days and lives.

There are two minor characters I found particularly interesting in the book. Rudy Hertz - an old worker of a welding factory, whose movements were recorded on tape to be endlessly repeated by the machines. Bud Callahan, a passionate inventor (or as we call it with 21th century lingo, a maker), who loses his job when also his machine making job get automated, therefore superfluous.

Lulu the tool - factory work

Lulu/Gianmaria Volonté in Elio Petri's "The working class goes to Heaven" - that's how I imagine Rudy the worker. And I couldn't miss the chance to make a gif and recommend that great film

In very different ways both share a common point, automatization - joy of making machines or the wonder of their super-human perfection - first seduced and than betrayed them. Their story reminded me of a recent one, of a developer who wrote code that automated all the tasks he needed to do

I got a job as a software developer working mostly on testing software, so mostly QA work. However I actually had to write some code as well. After around 8 months I had basically automated my own job by writing some programs to do it all for me. After that I would mostly just browse forums and do absolutely jack shit at work. My boss never really checked in on me and as long as the needed tests were taken care of he didn’t give a fuck.

Until they realized and he got sacked and got desperate because he thinks he’d be unable to find a new programming job. I actually don’t know how authentic is the story, but the post and comments are surely a great read. Here’s the link to the whole reddit post on the Wayback Machine (both the original post and the user had been deleted from reddit).

A special thought goes to you, that automatized yourself out of work and are still in the wild.