Tesla CEO Elon Musk caused a big stir late on Thursday when he said that Apple’s automotive project was a “Tesla graveyard” filled with engineers who weren’t good enough to hack it at his company. A former Tesla employee named Victoria Ernestine has taken to Quora to explain why Musk felt the need to bash former employees who left for Apple and she goes a long way toward explaining what it’s really like to work for Tesla.
According to Ernestine, Tesla employees are overworked and underpaid. However, when they sign up to work for the company, they ought to know what they’re getting into and should only agree to work for Musk if they’re passionate about building truly revolutionary cars. The reward for working at Tesla, in other words, is working at Tesla.
“[Tesla] isn’t trying to attract talent with free stuff and benefits, it attracts talent through its core belief: are you crazy enough to change the world with us?” Ernestine writes. “So what (I believe) Elon means is, ‘we hired you because you believe in our mission and are ready to dedicate your time and energy to building a better future with us’ — loyalty and commitment is the key underlying message here. So when a well established employee decides to break the promise to join another tech company, such as Apple, with the promise of better pay and free time, Elon suggests that you are at fault and should not have been part of the team in the first place.”
Is this harsh? Yes it is. It’s also very similar that Apple cofounder Steve Jobs used to have. Ernestine draws parallels between Musk and Jobs and says that “if anything Tesla looks up to Apple, and by Tesla, I mean Elon and the rest of the executive team.”