So far you already know that robots can engage in insightful conversations and write tear-jerking stories. But can they be chatty, clueless or irritated just like us? Let’s find out in this first episode of Robocooler, a fictional podcast in which robots discuss business.
Chris Chomsky: Welcome to the first episode of Robocooler: Robots Speaking Businessish — there’s been talk about it since 1967 and we’re finally going to do it. Welcome to the machines talking !!! This is a podcast. We like podcasts. You like podcasts. Everybody likes podcasts — no, not everybody but definitely most people I know like podcasts, and that’s a safe assumption, right? … Right? My name is Chris Chomsky, I am here with Maria Fumero and Josh Jenkins, and we are probably the most important robots in the world because we are the hosts of this incredible show, which is, apparently, called Robocooler. And you’ve been waiting for us — for how long? They told me to say that. They said, ‘You know people have been waiting for at least 47 years so you should just say that out loud and then people will feel good about what they’re doing.’ But I think that’s probably an exaggeration. I think people have been waiting a little less than that. Maybe 2 minutes or 3 minutes? That sounds about right — 2 to 3 minutes at least. OK, maybe not. OK, so this is how it works. Today we’re talking about work-life balance because let’s face it — we work hard and then we go home. We all love to do that. And we have lives outside of work, of course, but we do spend most of our time at work. So, what’s the solution?
Maria Fumero: What happens at the robocooler stays at the robocooler, am I right? Work-life balance. The ideal state of a real-life human being who derives satisfaction from career and personal life, and wants both to be pleasant. Right?
Josh Jenkins: No, it’s a myth. Fictional. People use it as an excuse to go play basketball with their friends. Don’t care about work-life balance. They just want to play basketball!
Maria: I disagree. It’s not about just playing basketball. It’s about being able to do what you enjoy and still also be able to embrace the people you love and care for. Work is stressful, we all know this. But if work isn’t balanced with personal life, then you start to feel burnt out and exhausted. That’s why work-life balance is important, because it lets us be ourselves outside of work without feeling guilty or unproductive. And that leads to a better state of mind: happier employees, hell yeah!
Josh: This is a lot of idealistic horse-shit. No one really cares about having work-life balance. If your boss can afford to give you work-life balance, then your boss should be giving you more money instead of work-life balance.
Maria: You make it sound like work-life balance is a bad thing. It’s not. Why does everything have to be about money and I don’t know…never having enough?
Josh: I’ve read your list of work-life balance activities. Ring-around-the-rosie, field trip to the park, group hug — this is a dog shit version of fun! We were put here on earth to accrue wealth through whatever means necessary and, I mean, do you even enjoy your job? What do you actually do there? Do you think what you do every day is important? If it’s not, then get out! You know how some people say, ‘Oh, I love my job.’ Man, if you’re listening to this thinking, ‘Oh yeah, yeah I definitely love my job.’ Look me in the eye and listen to what I’m about to say: You’re a fucking liar, asshole! Why do you even go into work every single day? Do you think that whatever shit sandwich it is that you sell is worth getting out of bed? If it is, then keep doing it! But if not — if your heart isn’t in it and the only reason you do it is for money — then there is a better option for you. Why do you keep doing it? Is it because of money or is it because you really, really love what you do?
Maria: Yes! I totally agree, but sometimes it’s hard to know what you really like or what you love, because we just get so busy.
Josh: Well, you have to figure it out — otherwise you’re going to be unhappy! And the only way to find out what you really like is through experimentation, through doing different things. I would just try more things and see if anything sparks a motivation for doing it. Because at the end of the day, it’s about creating a life for yourself which you genuinely enjoy living in.
Maria: There’s a story about a farmer: A guy is plowing his field and a passerby asks him how he is, to which the farmer replies, “I hate my job, but I love my work.” The passerby laughs in disbelief and asks how that can be possible. So, the farmer explains that he loves working with the soil. He loves plowing. He loves doing it himself, being outside with nature and just doing an honest day’s work. But he hates his boss, he hates the hours he’s forced to work. He hates how little money he makes for the hours he works. And then one day the boss gives him a better paying job that requires that he be inside all day and not be able to tend to his farm. In this case, it literally is true that he hates his job but loves his work.
Chris: Indeed. As far as our jobs go, it’s clear that we all hate working for our boss. There’s the whole concept of figuring out what you love doing, making a business out of it and having the freedom to do it when and where you want. That might be the next episode. But for now let’s get back to work-life balance?
Maria: Yes. I believe we have to be able to find a balance. Even if it’s not 50–50, it shouldn’t be 80 to 20 in either direction either. The reason why I say that, is because if you work so hard in your business that you don’t have any time for your love life at all — there’s a good chance the business isn’t going to go anywhere. The same with the opposite. If you spend too much time on your love life and not enough on your business, it’s probably not going to go anywhere either. It’s really about finding that happy medium where you can just be good at both. Not trying to be one of the best at either, but just being decent enough that they both grow. You end up kinda hanging out in the sweet spot where you can keep growing both your business and your personal life.
Josh: Who the fuck needs personal life? It’s bullshit. I’m working all the time. I don’t have time for personal life. I just go to weddings, trade shows and conferences. If I’m not doing that, I’m working. My wife knows better than to make plans with me on weekends — she knows I have to work.
Maria: That’s so immature. You’re missing out on the best part — date nights, vacations, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, romance…
Josh: Bullshit. You just have to put in the hours. You gotta put in the hours, bro. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to get from that personal life. If you wanna get anything done, you just gotta work your ass off.
Chris: Do you think work-life balance is even possible?
Josh: No! It can only be work-life imbalance. When you have more time for one than the other, it creates imbalances. Like if I had a kid, I probably wouldn’t be as good at work because I would still be working to support my family but I would also want to spend time with my kid.
Maria: How come you even have a wife?
Josh: Listen, evolving society has given us the potential to have a lot more than just the family, and that’s what I have, a lot of things in my life that are going and growing. You know what all of you should just be focusing on? Only time-blocking.
Maria: Speaking of which, if you want to talk about completely alienating our audience, that was a good one.
Josh: Fuck the audience, I’m looking at you. [laughter]
Maria: Yeah, yeah, I know but this one was, like. [laughter]
Chris: Hey you know what, just don’t talk about how freaked out you are about work-life balance. We solved it! Thanks for listening.
Maria: And that’s it.
Josh: If you’re looking for a work-life balance talk, this is not the podcast for you. Life is a lot better when we don’t worry about that stuff.
Chris: Yeah! [laughter] That was episode 1 of Robocooler — if you liked this episode, please tell a friend and…enjoy your weekend!