It’s never particularly prudent to badmouth your boss, especially not when they’re one of the most powerful men on the planet.
However, most of us aren’t actually banned in writing from speaking about our employers – unlike some of Elon Musk’s staff.
The Boring Company, an infrastructure and tunneling firm founded by the billionaire, officially opened its first underground transport system in Las Vegas last month. And among the instructions issued to new recruits on the project is apparently the explicit instruction not to talk about their “great leader”.
The company hires drivers to drive modified Tesla vehicles around the tunnel, known as the Loop, and as part of their onboarding they receive a so-called “Ride Script”.
According to TechCruch, which obtained a copy of the document, the script sets out the protocols workers must follow when faced with curious passengers – notably when they have questions about the enigmatic Musk.
“This category of questions is extremely common and extremely sensitive,” it reportedly states. “Public fascination with our founder is inevitable and may dominate the conversation.
“Be as brief as possible, and do your best to shut down such conversation. If passengers continue to force the topic, politely say, ‘I’m sorry, but I really can’t comment’ and change the subject.”
However, the script also acknowledges that some riders won’t take no for an answer, and so provides some answer options to common Musk-related queries.
If a passenger asks what he is like, drivers are told to reply: “He’s awesome! Inspiring / motivating / etc.”
If they’re probed on whether they like working for the SpaceX mastermind, they should say: “Yup, he’s a great leader! He motivates us to do great work.”
Asked how involved he is in the Boring Company, they’re taught to respond: “He’s the company founder, and has been very involved and supportive.”
And if anyone decides to bring up his often controversial tweeting habits, they should nip the conversation in the bud with: “Elon is a public figure. We’re just here to provide an awesome transportation experience!”
The script also preempts interest in negative publicity, setting out a potential scenario in which a customer asks: “Is it true what I’ve read about him in the papers that he [is a mean boss / smokes pot / doesn’t let employees take vacations / etc.]?”
To this, it states, a worker should simply reply: “I haven’t seen that article, but that hasn’t been my experience.”
His new firm has tried to prove its anything but boringGetty Images
Whilst protecting Musk’s personal reputation is clearly a priority to the Boring Company, the document also sets out “recommended responses” to ensure a positive public image of the firm itself.
It encourages staff to evade questions about how long they’ve been driving for the company and to avoid any discussion of crashes.
Quizzed on the former, drivers are told to say: “Long enough to know these tunnels pretty well!”
And asked about how many “accidents” have occurred within the Loop, they should respond: “It’s a very safe system, and I’m not sure. You’d have to reach out to the company.”
A car enters one of the company’s tunnels in LAAFP via Getty Images
In sum, the Boring Company wants its drivers to “keep conversation to a minimum so [they] can “focus on the road”.
“Your goal is to provide a safe ride for the passengers,” its script stresses, “not an entertaining ride.”
We don’t know about you, but after reading this we’re pretty sure some customers are going to put those pre-cooked answers to the test.
Good luck, guys. You could be in for a bumpy – if not “entertaining” – ride...