Elon Musk gave assistant 2-week test when she asked for raise, and she failed

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/08/09/elon-musk-gave-assistant-2-wee.html

Another moral of story: Elon Musk seems to be something of a dick.


I would say that Elon was being a dick about it. If after 12 years her job title was not one in which justified a big raise, I don’t know put her in a position that she could do and make more money.
Without paying games. Great way to instill loyalty from your staff Elon.


So Musk paid someone for twelve years to do nothing? I’m not sure that’s the assistants problem. . .


I don’t know about the conclusion here. Mr Musk has given the world ample evidence that he has a brilliant engineering mind, combined with an almost total lack of understanding of the value of human relationships that allow us to live in a society together (look at articles exploring end-game for private, high cost self driving car-enabled suburbs, and combine this with de-localization of electrical grids via his solar shingles. Throw in any of his visions for colonizing space.).

If I was his assistant, I would probably expect this kind of cavalier disregard for the fact that he is an employer, now merely some chief optimizer of efficiency of the company.

Sorry to be a grump, this just seems like it will make a bunch of go-getter computer and mechanical engineer types say “Yeah, of course”. Right before they go read James Damore’s memo again :confused:


To be fair, if he truly didn’t feel that he needed a personal assistant, is he obligated to continue to employ one?


If he didn’t know he didn’t need one until she asked for a raise, then he’s a dick.


If I had a personal assistant for 12 years, I would probably rely on them to understand the business from the top on down, and offer a second perspective on a lot of decisions. Not just that, trust them to handle delegations of sensitive matters.

But apparently, she’s just a secretary. Who undoubtedly has been now hired by a competitor.

Good thread here, which hints slightly at there being more to her firing:


The article does suggest that she was a lot more than just a secretary, as I’d have imagined a person like that must have been.


Wouldn’t the lesson to to fire the really high priced guy who’s been wasting money & talent?


I guess I don’t follow that. He’s a dick because he thought he needed a personal assistant, but when he tested whether or not he really did he realized he could do without?


If the salary is low enough, it’s easy to just pay it and think about it. Low cost probably means low expectations.

If you ask for a big raise, you are asking your employer to consider your value. In this case, that was a bad idea.


I worked for several years as a personal assistant to a high-end real estate agent. It was my job to take the little things off his hands so that he could do the big things. Car needs an oil change? Me. Need to spend an hour on the phone chasing down a signature for escrow? Me. Book his travel, pick up that book his kid needs for school, drop off “open house” signs, restock stationery, unjam the printer … all me.

I’m sure Musk CAN do all those things for himself. But why would he want to? That’s WHY you hire a PA. And after 12 years, I’m sure she anticipated his needs so some of that stuff was done before he even knew he wanted it done. If I could hire someone to handle that shit for me, you bet your ass I would.


It’s fair. He’s running a business, and she raised the question of what her worth is to him. When he found he didn’t need her in that role he offered her another. Thats better than most business will do.


Hope she didn’t have a non-compete clause in her contract.


Business Insider: Think about what would happen if your boss were to assume your duties for two weeks! You better step up your game!

Administrative Assistants Everywhere: Haw haw haw haw…cough cough…Uhh Haw! Haw Haw Haw! Stop it! You’re killing me!


This is some pro-boss bullshit in this post.


My boss was totally computer-illiterate (this was around the year 2000-ish). He wasn’t an old guy; just in his 40’s. The only thing he knew how to do on the computer was: use AOL and eTrade.

He couldn’t even upload his own listings to the MLS. He sent me to the training. Which was honestly a waste of my time because I could have figured out how to do it myself in about 15 minutes.


Fairly sure non-compete clauses are unenforceable in California. Otherwise Silicon Valley would never have been a thing. Such contracts are more common in other states, which stifles the private sector


Especially since he seems to have enough time to do his assistants job for a two weeks.


It seems to me that the important question isn’t whether he could do that work himself, but rather whether it was worth it for him to do that work himself. I’m sure Bill Gates could have emptied his own wastebaskets and shopped for his own office supplies when he was running Microsoft but both he and his shareholders probably concluded that wouldn’t be the best way for an extremely high-paid executive to spend his time.