San Francisco: SpaceX workers affected by company-wide job cuts could check out another employer that’s hiring right across the street. On the same day Elon Musk’s rocket company was preparing to pare its ranks, the billionaire’s tunnelling start-up, Boring Co, posted a tweet for a batch of open positions.
Boring Co is soliciting applications for nearly a dozen jobs, which include tunnel engineering and software development. The start-up employs about 80 people. Space Exploration Technologies Corp, which employs more than 6,000, told staff last week that it’s cutting about 10 per cent of the workforce, including 577 positions at headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
Although Boring Co could hire multiple people for each job listing, the positions represent only a fraction of those lost at SpaceX. However, the near-simultaneous staffing adjustments signal the changing fortunes at two high-profile Musk ventures. While SpaceX has said it expects a slowdown in launches this year, Boring Co is making progress around the US. The company opened a test tunnel near Los Angeles last month, is in exclusive negotiations with the city of Chicago for a subway-like system there and is undergoing an environmental-review process for a tunnel in the Washington, DC area.
Musk founded Boring Co two years ago with the stated goal of circumventing LA traffic by tunnelling underneath it. The company’s tiny campus represents the more whimsical side of Musk. It’s composed of a group of trailers and Porta-Potty facilities. Standing guard over it all is a tower inspired by Monty Python, built with bricks made from earth excavated from the tunnel. The company goes highbrow, too. Its boring machines, parked nearby, are named Godot, Line-Storm and Prufrock, references to literary works by Samuel Beckett, Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot.
Despite the cuts at SpaceX, the aerospace company could keep recruiting. Tesla Inc, the electric carmaker run by Musk, went on to hire aggressively after dismissing 9 per cent of its workforce in June. SpaceX still lists dozens of job openings, including in some areas hit by last week’s cuts.
Musk’s ventures periodically overlap and share resources, in response to whatever is catching the chief executive officer’s attention. Boring Co promotional videos feature Tesla cars zipping around tunnels, and Boring Co events are often staffed, in part, by volunteers from SpaceX and Tesla. The operational chief of Boring Co, Steve Davis, is the former head of advanced projects at SpaceX, where he was an early employee.
At a news conference last month, Musk said he’d like to see this sort of crossover between his companies go interplanetary.
“I hope we’re one day building tunnels on Mars,” Musk said. “That would be a glorious day. It would mean we’re actually there.”