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The risk of thinking of your job as a higher calling

Founder and CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk
Reuters/James Glover II
Shooting for the moon (and Mars).
  • Lila MacLellan
By Lila MacLellan

Quartz at Work reporter

Published Last updated on This article is more than 2 years old.

In a memo announcing that Tesla will lay off 3,000 workers, or 7% of its employees, CEO Elon Musk outlined his reasoning, explaining the mounting financial pressures the company faces in its quest to build an affordable electric car.

The memo also included a noteworthy emotional appeal. Musk essentially asked employees— those who have already survived a brutal work schedule and will stay on to survive more of the same—to remember Tesla’s mission. Segueing from details about the company’s financial picture to the news of the layoffs, Musk writes:

There are many companies that can offer a better work-life balance, because they are larger and more mature or in industries that are not so voraciously competitive. Attempting to build affordable clean energy products at scale necessarily requires extreme effort and relentless creativity, but succeeding in our mission is essential to ensure that the future is good, so we must do everything we can to advance the cause.

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