Working At Tesla Is #2 In Both Meaningfulness & Stressful Environment


It turns out that Elon Musk runs two meaningful companies, both of which offer a high-stress working environment.

Tesla board member, Model S and X owner, Steve Jurvetson, tweeted out an image from The Chronicle which highlights both SpaceX and Tesla.

The graphic shows SpaceX and Tesla as being tops in the “meaningfulness” category and tops in the less desirable “stressful environment” category as well.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted some clarification:

Tweets Via Elon Musk

Tweets Via Elon Musk

SF Gate provides some background on the graphics, stating:

“A strong urge to make the world a better place drives many employees, even when they’re working in high-stress and relatively low-paying jobs, according to a report released Wednesday by the company PayScale, which aggregates pay and benefits packages for millions of workers.”

Additional findings from the study are available here.

Categories: Tesla


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51 Comments on "Working At Tesla Is #2 In Both Meaningfulness & Stressful Environment"

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How is space X transforming world? O_o

Are they really aiming for practical space travel there ? Awesome.

Yes, they are. Perhaps you should check out their plans at their website.

Musk has it wrong. If humans are to leave Earth, we should work on transforming ourselves from meat bags to something more suited for space or destination (Mars?) We’ve had rockets for close to 80 years and it will always be wasteful to carry fragile meat.

My suspicion is that the energy and other resource budgets per capita for a (hypothetically successful) colonization of Mars would be beyond enormous, and sustainable only if the teeniest, tiniest fraction of humanity were to relocate there.

I can just imagine the last few remaining tickets-paid oligarchs struggling aboard, juggling their oxygen cylinders, only to be each handed a spade for their assignments in the Lithium (and – add your own list here) mines.

I don’t expect to be around to wave them goodbye. But good luck to them anyway.

Regarding the meat for the entitled gourmet meals; we could send along a few stray dogs and cats, and maybe a pig or two. A few chickens, maybe.
They say it’s a long trip, so the passenger would have to lend a hand with the on-board farm.

The parallel with Noah’s Ark is hard to miss.
Hey, if he could do it back then, our own advanced technology and incredible resourcefulness will surely pull us through this time!

You’re still thinking of carrying meat (our bodies). If we need to farm anything, it will never work. What’s needed is to adapt ourselves to the environment of the destination. If you’re a dualist, you might say the brain (~10 lb) is the minimum, but if you think life is just information, that can be stored in Bluray. Then the entire humanity can go whereever in space very cheaply.

If you “upload” the information in your brain into a computer, then you have not transformed yourself into a computer. You’ve just created a computer simulation of your mind. It’s not you.

We cannot shed ourselves of our bodies. If we do, then we are no longer “we”; that would be something rather different. Not even remotely human anymore.

If you’re a dualist, you’d think something magical happens in the brain, hence “uploading” is different. But even so, replacing all meat parts other than the brain with more suitable parts would be better for space. That could be made far more effective than “all meat” solution. Do you watch Futurama or Spock’s brain episode of Star Trek?

But brain will eventually die. The “kids” are nothing more than collection of genes, post conception (no need for embryo). Then “kids” can be preserved in bluray to be resurrected in more space suitable physical form completely without meat.

This topic is taking a turn for the worse.

SparkEV said:

“…replacing all meat parts other than the brain with more suitable parts would be better for space.”

There might be people willing to have their brain removed and put into a robotic body, altho I would question their sanity. I’m certainly not one of them.

“Do you watch Futurama or Spock’s brain episode of Star Trek?”

So… in support of your argument, you are — apparently in all seriousness — citing a satirical cartoon show, and one of the very few episodes of Classic Star Trek that’s laughably bad. I’m quite surprised anyone would seriously cite either in support of an argument, even one this far out.

I’m a huge science fiction fan, but I’m capable of recognizing the difference between actual science and science fiction. Especially really, really bad science fiction.

“This topic is taking a turn for the worse.”

Hmmm, well bringing up “Spock’s Brain” certainly didn’t elevate it. 😉


Getting there is the hard part once you are there it doesn’t take that much food species to feel comfortable and at home. Potatoes are obviously going to be on the trip, wheat, rice and vegetables but also cattle for milk and meat, some fish species and, as a Belgian, I would obviously like to take mussels as well. That could be a challenge since you need salt water, but then again, what’s more to feel home than some mussels with French fries!

If the idea is to truly make a Mars colony independent of Earth, so that our species can survive if some catastrophe renders Earth uninhabitable, then the Martian colony will need to be able to grow its own food. That means lots of organics to create fertile soil.

It will be easy to carry food animals and plants; they can be carried in the form of seeds and fertilized frozen ova. But providing fertile soil to raise the crops, to feed humans and domesticated animals, will require shipping many, many tons of organics with which to jump-start farming on Mars. Even greenhouses have to have soil. And even hydroponics require micronutrients, which is merely another way of feeding the same elements and organic compounds to the plants.

No rational planner would put live animals aboard a colony ship to Mars just to have them eaten along the way. Dried and/or frozen food would occupy much less space, and doesn’t need life support, water, or mucking out the pens.

The irony is that it’s much more likely that a catastrophe renders a colony on Mars uninhabitable. It would be 100x easier to colonize the seabed than Mars.

There is a lot of romance around Mars, but practically, living on Mars would be like living in Antarctica. Depressing and inhuman. And let’s not even think of what babies developing in the lower gravity would look like–if they could even be born at all.

I greatly admire Elon Musk’s vision, and I’m a strong advocate for space exploration. (I’m also a huge hard-science-fiction fan.) It’s good that we have visionaries looking to the future and talking about colonizing other planets, but realistically I think it’s far too soon to be planning for a permanent Mars colony. Heck, we haven’t even had a manned landing there yet.

When we have a space drive which can get us there in just a few days or weeks, rather than the planned six months there and six months back, and when we have figured out a better method of protecting astronauts or colonists from radiation hazards en route, then it will be time to start seriously talking about a colony on Mars. Until then, I simply don’t think it’s realistic.

It’s never too early to talk about it… If it takes 300 days one way and one finds colonists willing and capable of doing it then we can stick to the technical difficulties. To my best knowledge there are people crazy enough to leave for Mars without having a possibility to come back. Food will most likely be based on bacteria, algae, yeast and tough plant species Our (discussable) tendency to include meat on the list of necessities for life on Mars is ridiculous. Nutrients will have to be liquefied from atmosphere and fed to bacteria yeast algae. Hard but doable. On a side note that leads back to the anti topic of this site. One can grow yeast on crude oil 😉 What we need to bring to mars to survive there is tech not materials. Every gram of supplies brought there is a waste of time. Send micro robots to lay the grounds. (micro being few centimeters in this case…) once we can build (quasi) van neuman units Terra forming is in close proximity. Check eg for (private) progress on that topic. Bringing himself to mars is the second step for human. 1 billion into self replicating… Read more »
Colonizing Antarctica would be much easier but then again you are not on another planet so what’s the point? With Mars you are and if indeed organizing things there wont be easy, there are quiet a few safe ways to go. First and obvious is going underground for free pressurization, protection from radiation and even perhaps protection from the cold. Once there you don’t really need to bring a lot of materials since everything is available on the spot but you will need to bring high tech systems to transform the available materials. 3 d printers, chemical processing plants, steel and metal production units, plastics production units, fertilizer production units, textile production etc. Those will process co2, water, ores, nitrogen into organic molecules and metals. For the start, seeds, one or two female calf and frozen embryos, same with pork, and lam, some chickens, ducks, fish, mussels, prawns. A good start is about 500 tons on the Martian surface. But from there you can expend exponentially. No need to bring much more, just build up. Mars has all the carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, aluminum, lithium, iron, copper, and all the other elements, to build from, in more than large supply.… Read more »


…but -10 for the calves. They are as useless on Mars as biodefence mode in Norway.

I though T-bone steak maybe, or milk, cream, butter, yogurt, pastry, … or just for the fun of having a Dexter cow walking around in one of the greenhouse domes there. Ok we can grow synthetic a lot of things and Boston Dynamics could probably devise a drone Dexter cow look alike, but so far away on Mars people are going to enjoy some, even if less, of the real tasty things. We are not going to eat synthetic mussels are we?

Thanks for the +991!

Musk’s goal is to make humanity a multi planetary species.

We don’t need to transport more than a teeny tiny fraction of humanity to do that. Same goes for livestock and plants.

And radically altering our DNA to suit other planets leaves our humanity in question. Terra form planets instead.

I really loved the end of the movie CHAPPIE. Why are we not there yet?

Doesn’t Tesla outsource some manufacturing?

Found this:

Below is a list of some of the key suppliers for Tesla’s manufacturing production, along with the components they supply.

• AGC Automotive: windshields
• Brembo: brakes
• Fisher Dynamics: power seats
• Inteva Products: instrument panel
• Modine Manufacturing Co.: battery chiller
• Sika: acoustic dampers
• Stabilus: liftgate gas spring
• ZF Lenksysteme: power steering mechanism

Other suppliers include ADAC, ABC Group, Angell-Demmel, Argent, Gentex, Harada, Hitachi Cable America, Hope Global, MacLean-Fogg, Magna International, Methode Electronics, Multimatic, Panasonic, Plastomer, PSM International, Riviera, T1 Automotive and Zanini Auto Group.

You forgot nVidia for their on-board TEGRA powered computer:

Tesla is the most vertically integrated automaker.

Of course it is not 100%.

Making electronics,interiors,glass,tires etc in-house would be stupid.

Unlike Detroit, Tesla does not buy complete modules then just assemble them.

Give Tesla time to make their own computer hardware…

They have recently hired a couple big-league X-Apple chip designers. Rumor is, they want them to make some custom hardware for the next-gen AutoPilot system.

Tesla is not the most vertically integrated automaker, at least not yet. Nissan already manufactures their own batteries.

Whether one should vertically integrate is another question. In the manufacturing sector, the answer is likely no. Apple vertically integrates, but wisely avoids manufacturing.

I’m guessing they don’t make their own paper , either.

They don’t use paper. Everyone just tweets to each other.

You may be closer to the truth than you realize! I know a guy who worked in telecomm for many years and recently was hired by Google. His comment was they don’t have any printers. Literally not a single printer. And everyone thinks this is normal (though not so easy to deal with the permitting process).

I forget which company it was, but some special I watched a year or so ago, about how the CEO got rid of all email. Everything would be done verbally or via instant messaging. He said email was a waste of time. Apparently it worked well for them.

I don’t know how they dealt with the outside world.. but internally, no email.


Tesla/SpaceX pay bottom end of scale, yet highly stressful. But what kind of jobs are for under 5 year experience? Because they are very different from other companies, most of which are IT centric, such pay comparison is wrong.

Status and purpose motivates people more than money. It makes sense that Tesla can get away with paying much less.

I don’t know if Tesla getting away with paying less. In IT, you need couple of janitors, but mostly SW engineers. With cars, they would be ME (lower pay in general than SW) and technicians and others that typically get lower pay. As such, Tesla could be paying more than comparable industry, and this doesn’t do fair comparison.

“You guys are getting paid?”

For both SpaceX and Tesla, they have a large percentage of manufacturing employees. Unlike the other companies on the list.

Along the lines of what you are saying Spark, but it isn’t just different engineers or development teams. It is literally thousands of people assembling stuff at $25/hr – $35/hr.

Intel, Cisco?

Manufacturing employee in SF Bay Area aren’t cheap.

The article was rerun in a few places, the pay comparison does not include the stock options which are a major part of the compensation in a startup.

Quit talking about options and stock! This site is about EVs and not stock! Go post at yahoo or something.

(Sarc off — of course you are correct, which is why the share price of TSLA is crucial to their success.)

I think I’ll go work for Facebook 😉

Exactly what I was thinking … tops for pay, 3rd for meaningfulness, least stressful of this list of companies.

High stress yet meaningful work; sounds like the military…

How is Tesla highly stressful? Out of the companies lists, they received the lowest stress score (which I think means low-stress, right?).

You’re reading the chart wrong. Tesla is the second bar, not 3rd bar (no data for LinkedIn). 70% say it’s stressful; 44% of *Facebook* employees say their work is stressful. Only SpaceX is more stressful than Tesla.

Space X and Tesla are high stress places to work. You should be ready to work 12-16 hours a day and 7 days a week.

If you are interested in reading a good book about Elon and what it is like working for him, download this kindle book. It’s a good one.

“The graphic shows SpaceX and Tesla as being tops in the “meaningfulness” category and tops in the less desirable “stressful environment” category as well.”

And if you scroll down the list and compare that wage against the rest of Si Valley based Tech companies, you will see that Tesla and SpaceX also has one of the “lowest median pay” on that chart as well.

So, Tesla is depending on “selling its meaningfulness” to recruit and keeping people.

Sorry, as great as Tesla, Elon and JB Straubel (and I like them) are, the stress and pay ratio are just not worth it especially in the expensive SF Bay Area.

Obviously several thousand people disagree.

Obviously those are only few thousands out of millions of highly paid engineers in the SF Bay Area…

And isn’t it obvious what I said would at least apply to “several thousand people” if “selling its meaningfulness” would work to start with?

If it doesn’t, then you wouldn’t even have “several thousand people”…

Lifetime is a scarce resource and should be valued accordingly.

If stress reduces lifetime we end up in iteration.

Circle of life. Money for nothing. Chicks for free!