A former Tesla employee claims that billionaire Elon Musk is an incredibly focused and disciplined boss who seldom engages in conversation with his staff and fires those who don’t follow his instructions.
On the Aug. 7 episode of “The Iced Coffee Hour” podcast, Carl Medlock, a former Tesla area manager, talked about his experiences working with Musk and for the EV company.
“When Elon stands up at the end of a meeting and says, ‘This is the direction we’re going to go,’ you stand up from your chair, and you better head that direction. Because he’s not one for people back-talking — he’ll just let you go.”
Medlock first joined Tesla in 2009, amid the Great Recession. He was offered “a lot of perks,” including a six-figure salary and 40,000 stock options, which he had to sell during divorce proceedings.
According to the former territory manager, Musk was one of a few persons who interviewed him for the job. Musk questioned Medlock, a long-time auto salesman, and technician, about his customer service record and other real-world experiences throughout the interview.
“He’s actually a really good guy,” he added. “He’s incredibly smart, so he’s intimidating in that regard, but if you look at it based on his kids. The guy loves his kids and his family; he’s a good dad and easy to talk to. We just had a conversation, and I got the job.”
According to Medlock, Musk was “not social at all” at work and rarely contacted his employees unless he needed to handle a critical issue. Nevertheless, he continued, Musk was “very disciplined” in his approach to operating Tesla in its early days.
The ex-Tesla employee also corroborated Musk’s widely acknowledged preference for sleeping at work rather than going home.
“I actually saw him sleep on a desk once. I deleted the photo,” Medlock said. “I should have kept the photo, but I deleted the photo out of respect. I took the picture and thought, ‘Oh my God, you’re going to get fired for this.’”
Medlock also lauded Musk’s ability to analyze and hire talent, however, he highlighted that employees who fall out of favor with the billionaire are immediately fired.
“If Elon’s micromanaging you, you’re probably on your way out, ‘cause he hires good people and lets them do their thing. He’s smart, but he also knows how to hire smart people,” Medlock said.