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


#41

Oh, agreed fully. Based on the article how Musk did it is dickish and insensitive to say the least.

But the commentary here says more than that.

I would like follow up info from the article’s author like: What was the position offered? Was it at the same pay scale? Did it include a raise? Did he then higher another assistant or give those duties to someone else? If so what is their pay scale?


#42

Wouldn’t that be conjecture though? Or am I missing information from the article or another source?


#43

What’s conjecture? I’m not saying he actually phrased it that way, I’m saying that’s the effect of his actions on the person. The best I can think of his is that he is oblivious to how he impacted his employee.

Maybe everything was roses. Maybe his employee thought his test was fair and simply got a better job in the mean time. Maybe if you go all in on that seven-two off you’ll hit a full house on the flop.

As related, what he did was a supremely dickish thing to do and my characterization of it is totally fair.


#44

The lesson seems to me to be, “don’t work for an asshole.” But then not everyone has a choice really. Also, it seems like there are probably some gender dynamics at play here.


#45

Doubtful.

A dick move is still a dick move, no matter who makes it.

Musk could have just as easily declined her request for a raise without playing mind games.

Also as someone else noted, most companies can survive anyone’s absence for a mere two weeks if they are organized efficiently, which is what makes this “test” disingenuous.

I’d argue that most of us do not have any such choice in the matter.


#46

People are so redundant! Get rid of the lot of them. All that we need will be passed onto self driving AI soon enough.


#47

In the late 90’s some friends got me a job interview at Apple for a position on the Final Cut Pro team. At the time FCP was located on the floor beneath Steve’s office. When I arrived there, I got my visitor badge printed and we walked up the stairs a couple of stories. For lunch break, we walked down the stairs to the cafeteria across the quad, and after lunch walked back up the stairs. I noticed everybody used the stairs, so curious whether this was some kind of fitness initiative, I asked why does everyone use the stairs instead of the elevators?

My friend answered “A couple of times, people were riding the elevator and Steve got on. He looked them over and asked, ‘What exactly do you do for me and my company?’ If he found their answer unsatisfactory he would fire them on the spot: ‘Please get out of my building. Now!’”


#48

It’s too broad and non-specific of a question. It would highly depend on various factors. I’ve heard of douche bag employers that do everything possible to deny raises, but on the flipside i’ve heard of employees that think they deserve raises when they weren’t bringing value to the company nor were willing to take on a bigger challenge to prove their worth.

Discussing this particular case: Is Musk a bad person for denying her a raise, and also putting her out of a job? Judging by the thread people will see this differently. For me i don’t think it was unreasonable for him to do that if he felt that whatever services she was providing him didn’t justify the cost/value. But i think that flat out putting her out of a job was the dick move, he could have counter-offered with a challenge and said that he was not willing to give her that big of a raise and that he felt that she could be providing more value with her position and give her time and incentive to challenge herself.


#49

Yeah honestly when I first read it I couldn’t figure out if it was tongue-in-cheek or not. For some reason Elon Musk engenders this kind of hero worship…


#50

Does Elon Musk ever conclude that anyone but Elon Musk is critical to Elon Musk’s success?


#51

Jobs is well known for being an asshole. So there’s that. Some people like to gloss over that and say he was a genius and that he could do no wrong. Perhaps but he was still an asshole and likely not someone i would ever want to work for.


#52

I think he’s a dick because he was fine until she rocked the boat.


#53

I really want to know if he hired another assistant or gave those job duties to someone else? If the answer is no…that he in fact determined he did not need an assistant, then I would conclude his means were dickish and don’t justify the ends. That said, how else would he have determined if he needed an assistant or not?

I also really want to know what was the other job offer mentioned? I can imagine scenarios and conversations that make it seem fair. Ultimately I just have missing info and while it seems easy to jump to a conclusion about a CEO and their methods and mindset…I’d rather not.


#54

The source of this story seems to be EM himself?, in which case he’s selected the details and colored the POV with his own ideas of what it means. There is no objective/ideal point being made here about the assistant’s job being one worth doing, or even that she held a position that EM should or should not employ someone in; this is what Musk thinks about these things (do you buy into this vision of things? seems then to be the question). Every owner/CEO/whatever seeks to shape the reality of their company in some way (in an extreme example: Trump). When you’re at the top of the pile, it’s your story to tell, and employees then could possibly shape themselves to hew to that particular reality (though arguably all job-retention strategies not training/skills acquisition could be worthless in Enronesque situations, where the iceberg is coming along sometime). Now that I’m off the soapbox here, I’m off to go hunt up some article comparing EM to Preston Tucker…


#55

As others have said, there’s a difference between asking for a raise and being turned down and asking for a raise and being removed from the position. I will agree that, though, the fact that he offered her another position in the company mitigates the dickishness a bit…


#56

A company I worked at years back hired an ex-Apple VP. She said working under him as a VP was everything you’d ever heard about, and more.

She was an asshole too.


#57

For sure there is some missing narrative, i’d also rather not read into it too much other than “Don’t ask for a raise unless you’re sure or willing to fight for it”.


#58

Plus it just says she asked for a big raise without saying what that means.


#59

My thought exactly. Essentially, he got rid of her job when she pointed out how lazy and complacent he had become.


#60

Guessing from the information in the thread @ActuallyARegular linked to, Musk had been thinking he no longer required a personal assistant for a while. Apparently the assistant in question believed her duties commensurate with the senior execs at his companies and asked for similar pay. I have no idea who was right. I think if he didn’t need an assistant anymore, he should have just asked her to change her position in his organization. Again from the thread, a lot of people thought well of her skills including apparently Musk.

I suspect he saw this not as a mind game but as an objective way to evaluate her for what she was asking. From all the stories I’ve read of him, he sounds like he treats people as engineering problems instead of fuzzy human relationships. It sounds like his mishandling of the situation, which quite understandably probably came across to the loyal assistant as a betrayal, was more his loss than hers. You can see people in the Quora thread who’d met her professionally even using it to ask people to reach out to her to get in touch with them, presumably with prospective offers.

I do agree it was a dick move. But everything I’ve read of Jobs suggests to me that Jobs was a dick despite knowing how to people, and Musk just isn’t any good at peopling. I could of course be wrong. Just my read.