In a recent podcast episode from The Verge, former Tesla employees shed light on the challenging working conditions they faced during periods of intense production, referred to as “production hell,” under Elon Musk’s leadership. The workers disclosed the hardships they endured and the pressures they felt to meet demanding production targets.
According to The Verge’s podcast, these ex-Tesla workers recounted working long hours, sometimes up to 10 or 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week. They described instances of employees collapsing from dehydration and having to sleep on the factory floor after exhausting shifts. Carlos Gabriel, who worked at Tesla in 2020, spoke of the prevalent exhaustion and long hours he observed among his colleagues at the Fremont factory.
Huibert Mees, a chief engineer at Tesla from 2009 to 2015, expressed that the job demanded constant dedication, often extending into late hours and weekends. Another former employee, Denis Duran, who was with Tesla from 2014 through the 2017 Model 3 production ramp-up, recounted witnessing a colleague faint due to dehydration and even a raw sewage leak that workers were allegedly instructed to continue working through.
Duran and three other Tesla employees initially reported this sewage incident to Bloomberg in 2018, but Tesla’s spokesperson stated that the company was unaware of such occurrences where workers were instructed to walk through sewage. Duran also mentioned working through challenging incidents such as a fire and a serious injury on the assembly line during his five years at Tesla.
Melvin Berry, who was at the company in 2015 and 2016, recounted Musk’s demanding demeanor during the early stages of Model 3 production. He stated that mistakes could lead to immediate termination due to Musk’s high expectations.
Elon Musk has faced accusations of “rage-firing” employees in the past, although he has denied these allegations. Reports suggest that he has a reputation for giving direct and critical feedback to employees. Musk’s dedication and drive have been acknowledged by some former employees, like Huibert Mees, who credited his determination for the company’s success.
While some former employees expressed concerns about the intense work environment and practices at Tesla, others acknowledged the pivotal role Musk played in the company’s achievements. Tesla’s spokesperson did not provide a comment on these revelations.