It Was Elon Musk’s First Job: He Explains Why He Demands So Much From His Employees


Elon Musk revolutionizes Twitter and, who knows, to the point of sinking the company. After another week of back and forth, we learned that hundreds of Twitter employees could quit after the new owner demanded “high sacrifice and commitment” in the form of long hours of work to build a “Twitter 2.0”.

always musk is known for his long self-imposed working hours and how he passes them on to his employees at Tesla or SpaceX, but this time he seems to have crossed the line.

However, to understand your work culture It is also acceptable to delve into your beginnings and your first jobs.

Before he got to where he is today, 17-year-old Musk traded his native South Africa for Canada and he arranged some works to advance.

Musk arrived in Canada, where he easily became a naturalized citizen thanks to the fact that his mother, Maye, was born there, and he stayed with his cousin, with whom he started working on the family farm. All this initial intrahistory of the current tycoon is told in the book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future”, by Ashlee Vance.

Cleaning boiler rooms, Musk’s first job

The book recounts that Musk left South Africa in part to avoid conscription, which he considered a waste of time. But this decision caused her father to refuse to pay for college.

His cousin’s farm was in a town of just 400 people in the province of Saskatchewan, in the center of the country. At the time, Musk tweeted a photo of him with 17 years on the family farm.

After a while, and with the desire to earn money, Musk asked the local employment office which jobs paid the best., who had to clean the boiler room of a sawmill. And took the job.

For $18 an hour, Musk says in his biography that he had to “put on this hazmat suit, and then go into this little tunnel that you barely fit in. Then you have to shovel, and you get the sand , mud and other debris. , which is still smoldering, and you must get it out through the same hole through which you entered.”

Thirty people started earlier in the week with Musk, according to the book. On the third day, there were five people left. By the end of the week, Musk was down to two more people as partners to get the job done.

Musk eventually quit manual labor and dedicated himself to technology. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in economics and physics in May 1997, then considered attending Stanford University in California for further education, but never made it.

Starting businesses based on spending many hours

It was the late 90s and he moved to Silicon Valley to apply for a job at netscapethe download program that at the time brought the music industry under control.

Musk didn’t get the job at Netscape. “Actually, I tried to hang out in the lobby [de Netscape], but he was too shy to talk to anyone. So I just stood in the hall,” he said. “That was quite embarrassing,” he picks up the book.

Despite Musk’s inauspicious start in the professional world, there is one change in his life that is not much affected and in 1999 he sold his first business, Zip2, to Compaq for approximately $300 million. Zip2 was software that provided local directories for Internet newspapers, originally founded with the help and financial backing of his brother Kimbal and Silicon Valley investors.

He used the money from the sale of Zip2 to found X.com, the online financial services platform that merged with Confinity in 2000 to eventually become PayPal. In 2002, eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion, and with that money, in turn, launched Tesla and SpaceX.

His first job, a heavy job, and the long hours invested in his first companies partly explain his obsession with work, which it is however clear that he does not always succeed in transferring his employees.

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