If you don’t have a great working environment quit, quit now!
In addition to being brilliant, Dr. Gray was an iconoclast. Speaker after speaker fondly told stories that reflected his disdain for bureaucracy and his independence. Shankar Sastry, dean of the college of engineering at UC Berkeley, noted that when organizers were planning the Saturday tribute, they felt the attire should be business casual; Dr. Gray, however, rarely wore anything but jeans and was once thrown out of the I.B.M. Scientific Center in Los Angeles for failing to meet the company’s dress code.
While working at I.B.M.’s Thomas J. Watson Jr. Research Laboratory in New York, Mr. Gray asked his boss if he could relocate to an I.B.M. laboratory in San Jose. When he was told that he couldn’t, he said, “All right, then, I quit.”
He then got in his Volkswagen, drove across the country and was rehired by an I.B.M. laboratory in California.
“We had a research group in San Francisco because Jim lived in San Francisco, and if he’d wanted to move to Monaco, we’d have a research center in Monaco,” said Rick Rashid, senior vice president for research at Microsoft.