This question originally appeared on Quora: What do Apple employees think of Elon Musk’s recent statement that Apple is “the Tesla graveyard” and “If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple”? Answer by Victoria Danahy, Product Specialist at Tesla.
I worked full time for Tesla for a year while in school, and got headhunted from an Apple recruiter for a much more lucrative position (better pay, better title, etc.). I declined after long consideration. I have no regrets.
It’s not the ”I work for a sexy company” status at Tesla, but with the meaning it carries. Tesla’s mission statement, “Accelerate the transition of sustainable transportation,” isn’t taken lightly by the dedicated employees Tesla hires.
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 are the key underlying message.
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.
Tesla employees work long hours, and don’t get paid as well as other tech companies, but we aren’t taken advantage of because we know very well what we are in for before signing the dotted line. Tesla is still in a financial struggle. It cannot be compared to Apple or Google, and yet it is because of its exponential growth in demand and popularity.
The message Elon brings across so bluntly isn’t hate about Apple. If anything, Tesla looks up to Apple (and by Tesla, I mean Elon and the rest of the executive team).
Tesla is a rigorous company, it’s a marathon, and it’s a boot camp. There’s free cereal and that’s it. It isn’t trying to attract talent with free stuff or benefits, it attracts talent through its core question: Are you crazy enough to change the world with us?
And that is the recipe of its success: pure dedication.
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