Lots of people are looking for jobs these days, and if you're interested in seeing just how many work hours you can pack into a week, then perhaps you should apply at Tesla Motors. The electric vehicle automaker is hiring like mad – CEO Elon Musk told us recently that "we're at almost 3,000 people" – but they're only looking for people who dislike having time off.

Musk told us that he works seven days a week, and his employees, well, they have to work hard, too. Other companies might ask you to just work 40 hours a week, he said, but at Tesla, "the minimum is really a 50-hour week and there are times when it'll be 60- to 80-hour weeks." He said he recognizes that working seven days a week is not sustainable, but he does think that 50 hours makes "a good work week."

Musk, like all good salespeople, tries to make that extra work sound like a good thing. To wit: "The general understanding is that if you're at Tesla, you're choosing to be at the equivalent of Special Forces. ... That has pluses and minuses. It's cool to be Special Forces, but it also means you're working your ass off. It's not for everyone."

Tomorrow, we'll publish the full transcript of our one-on-one interview with Musk. We've teased a few things he said, but we've saved some good stuff, too. Stay tuned.


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  • 15 Comments
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      With all the productivity gains made in the past 3 decades, we still have to work 50-80 hour weeks? And we have how many working 0 hours? Yes it would be great to work for Tesla, but the red tape, regulations, and supply chain issues that they face is what really needs to be improved. I deal with that on a daily basis, it is amazing how complicated the government and other businesses can make doing what you want to do. Although it sounds like they need to hire more auto engineers, programmers, and designers for the other parts. We will see how many of them burn out after 5-8 years, but then get replaced by new people...
        Ashton
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        you wont get burnt out from 50 hour work weeks, but yeah, if you get a lot of those 60-80 hour ones...ur toast. Elon is a very hard working man...but don't forget that his hectic busy schedule doesn't involve physical labor. he's apart of the engineering & design and goes to meetings, and tons of other things...but there's a big difference between that, and actually doing the physical heavy lifting. I'm an electrician, last January a put in 3 consecutive 60+ hour work weeks...with one week hitting 68 hours. I was freakin shot. Cause I was constantly walking around, climbing up & down ladders, hammer drilling, bending conduit, pulling wire, ect ect ect. Physical labor will wear you down far quicker then board meetings.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ashton
          Perhaps the effort in continuously patting himself on the back does increase fatigue somewhat for Musk.
      BipDBo
      • 2 Years Ago
      A while ago, I read an interview with someone from Hyundai R&D boasting about how hard their engineering team works. They called it, "Hyundai speed." Sounds like the same marketing rhetoric.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      I had to break my Anti-Sebastian Moratorium to read this one. What would the comments be....Tesla, cool, yay! Or Robber Baron exploiting the American Worker Boo! Ownership of new businesses usually works long hours - starting a business can be difficult, and for each job they can work, they can put the money back into the business. 3000 employees, however, is not that small. One company I worked for that was 100 years old had that many employees. Generally, I would be a bit pissed, if it were me, EXCEPT if Musk hooks up the employees with deals like they did at Microsoft, or other startups. There, once the company made it big, the employees were millionaires. Secretaries, support persons, etc. all were hooked up from the beginning. Hook me up with early stock options, and this machine operator (or whatever my job was) would operate that machine, like it had never been operated before!
      purrpullberra
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sounds like Tesla is taking another, not so perfect, page from the Apple playbook. Work your core people as hard as they possibly can since they are all near-zealots for 'the cause'. It is brilliant in a way, each apple store employee averages $500,000 a year profit generated. But they wear out fast and many leave with a bad taste in their mouths, to say the least. Do any Tesla employees get paid enough to buy the product they build/sell like Apple employees can? Does that matter? Old Henry Ford's dictum that. Is there a downside to this? Probably. But they don't really have a choice. Tesla is a VERY attractive company to a large number of educated and motivated individuals who will want to work hard to achieve Teslas goals. Of course you are going to hire those folks so there you go. A workforce willing to work harder and produce better product than any other carmakers. And they are happy doing it, for a while at least. Just had my second visit with a ModelS tonite. I think my man is sold now too after his first visit to try it on for size and it fit. Microsoft bonuses come this month... I expect to repot with a reservation number by october
      dexbusy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow. What a sales pitch. Work extra hard because you're cool if you do. I work 7 days a week so should you. Yeah Elon, except you are becoming a multi millionaire while we get the crumbs off your plate. How do you find people dumb enough to fall for that yet smart enough to do the work? Brilliant!
        wtrmlnjuc
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dexbusy
        Actually, people who work for Tesla must first apply, and if you're below a certain skill/intelligence level, you're denied.
        Catello
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dexbusy
        In reality, he's far from becoming a multi-millionare... hes been worth over 2 billion for years (co-founded paypal) and puts multi-millions towards his businesses (check out the fat wad he's put toward space-x out-of-pocket)... great vision takes great sacrifice, and Elon knows that some people, like himself, are willing to strive toward that goal. Fortunately, he pays his workers more than crumbs... top level engineers cost money, and he isn't going to hire less than the best. Also, anyone surprised by these hours should look into the 80-90 hour weeks we regularly do in the film industry all year round. It makes these 50 hour weeks look like a vacation in comparison...
          MANARC100
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Catello
          50 scents of Musk?
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Catello
          I was thinking the same thing, Catello. Elon is inspirational in that he pours all of his wealth into his vision, instead of simply making more money. If I was as smart as some of his engineers I'd be happy to work for him. Also, I'm a girl and I find him very sexy, I guess I'm drawn to intelligence ;)
        Rob Mahrt
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dexbusy
        Plus, you are playing the long game, in all major start ups, work 50-60 hours a week now, as a young motivated, smart professional, get in on the ground floor, take slightly less pay, maybe some stock bonuses here and there, if the company takes off and you are loyal, essential to the growth, my guess is it will pay off with $$ in the end.
          Rob Mahrt
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rob Mahrt
          Now working as a cog in a machine of a multi national company that grows 2-3% a year, where the CEO makes 260 times the salary of an average employee, you will never grow out of you medium salary job.
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      Innovative companies typically pay above-average wages. Innovative companies have respect for their workforce. America would be better off with more Musk's who make money creating a better future, for himself of course, but for his workers as well.
      • 2 Years Ago
      California has a very strict "duties test" to determine exempt vs. non-exempt status. Virtually all of these new employees will probably fit non-exempt status and therefore will receive O/T pay. Of course, Tesla will propbably push the limits of CA labor law, as all cash-strapped companies do. They'd best be careful.
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