Another engineer working on automotive noise and vibration said he had quit in 2015 because of a mix of “ridiculous hours,” the birth of his child and a “very bad conversation with Elon” but returned after a year because he said the job made him feel “empowered” to fix big problems and change the world. (Tesla later characterized his conversation with Musk not as bad but “intense.”)
He tells his team now that “everybody should have more work than they can do, all the time, because that’s how Tesla works,” though he adds that it is their job to find a way to manage those ever-growing demands. “If you don’t reach that point, this place will steamroll you,” he said.
Cruising off the test track after a reporter ride-along, the engineer laughed and said hey to a passing driver — one of his employees who, having suffered his own massive burnout, had just returned from a six-month break. He smiled as he steered a Model 3 onto the test track, and within a few seconds he disappeared.