There are 168 hours in a week and most people would rather work as few of them as possible. Elon Musk, of course, has a different idea about the work/life imbalance. The billionaire has once again revealed the extraordinary length of his working week. In a chat with one of his fans on Twitter, Musk was asked if he really worked more than 90 hours over a seven day week – that’s almost 13 hours a day, every day. He replied: ‘In recent years, hours were much higher. ‘Don’t recommend though — bad for health & happiness. But no choice or Tesla would die. Hope to reduce to 80 hours next year.’
Last year, Elon spoke out about the ‘excruciating effort’ that it takes to keep his electric car company on track.He told the Recode podcast that keeping Tesla alive requires ‘hundred-hour weeks by everyone’ and confirmed he would sometimes work around 120 hours a week. That adds up to 17 hours a day, every day – leaving just 7 hours a day to eat and sleep. ‘There were times when, some weeks … I don’t know. I haven’t counted exactly, but I would just sort of sleep for a few hours, work, sleep for a few hours, work, seven days a week,’ Musk told podcast host Kara Swisher. ‘It is incredibly difficult to survive as a car company. Incredibly difficult. People have no idea how much pain people at Tesla went through, including myself. It was excruciating.’
According to Musk, the reason for the hectic amount of work was to do with ramping up production of the Model 3 in the face of increasing competition from the larger, traditional car companies. Beyond that, Musk says that Tesla’s mission is more important than just turning out an electric car. ‘Tesla cannot die. Tesla is incredibly important for the future of sustainable transport and energy generation,’ he said.
‘The fundamental purpose, the fundamental good that Tesla provides is accelerating the advent of sustainable transport and energy production.’ ‘This supersedes political parties, race, creed, religion, it doesn’t matter. If we do not solve the environment, we’re all damned.’ He also took a pop at other car companies and suggested that Tesla’s success is the ‘biggest forcing function’ in making them produce electric cars. Unusually for a suit-wearing, boardroom-based executive, Musk is an accomplished engineer and is constantly cited by his colleagues as being on the factory floor at both Tesla and SpaceX. Whether it’s electric cars or rocket science, Musk has an amazing grasp of complex technological issues. In fact, he revealed he often slept at the Tesla factory during his push to get the production line up to match his promise of delivering 5,000 Model 3 cars a week.
And while he says he’s open to someone else taking over from him, Musk also reckons that there’s no one who could do any better. Even in Silicon Valley – finding someone else willing to match Musk’s work ethic may prove tricky. Mind you, he is worth an estimated £15.7 billion. So you could argue he’s pretty well compensated for those extreme hours