Ex-Tesla employees who were laid off this week are surprisingly praising the automaker in LinkedIn posts

Peter Parks/AFP/Getty ImagesBillionaire entrepreneur and founder of Tesla and SpaceX Elon Musk.

  • Tesla is firing around 9% of its employees.
  • Some former employees have shared their experiences on LinkedIn, taking a mostly positive tone.
  • Like Instagram, LinkedIn encourages users to present an idealised version of themselves.

On Tuesday, TeslaCEO Elon Musk said the company is firing around 9% of its employees.

In an email to employees he shared on Twitter, Musk said Tesla had developed redundancies in some job functions that were no longer necessary.

“We made these decisions by evaluating the criticality of each position, whether certain jobs could be done more efficiently and productively, and by assessing the specific skills and abilities of each individual in the company,” he said.

Some employees who were fired have shared their experiences on LinkedIn, and their posts illustrate how the networking platform has come to resemble Instagram.

Social media encourages self-flattery

The original idea behind social media was to allow people to stay in touch with friends and discreetly learn information about casual acquaintances. Over time, photo-centric platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have come to serve a different impulse – the desire to curate and share an idealised version of your life.

Instagram, with its scrapbook aesthetic, has absorbed that idea more than any other popular social media platform. On Instagram, celebrities, influencers, and their followers compete to find the most flattering combination of filter, angle, and scenery, without letting the effort show.

LinkedIn is driven by a similar philosophy. The platform is designed for networking and job-hunting, and it encourages users to write posts that flaunt their accomplishments and highlight their personality traits that are most attractive to employers, under the guise of sharing advice or showing gratitude to people who give them validation. Then, colleagues and recruiters can leave compliments on those posts to both curry favour with the writer and signal that they, too, are desirable employees or employers.

So if you’ve just been fired, you might feel pressure to express how grateful you are to your former employer, rather than vent your frustrations. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a positive attitude toward adversity, but if you want to signal to potential employers that you’re on the market, LinkedIn doesn’t give you any other choice.

Former Tesla employees are being positive on LinkedIn

One former Tesla employee, who said he was fired a little over three weeks after his start date, said his month at the company taught him a valuable lesson about Tesla’s positive impact.

“Just over three weeks ago, I started what I hoped would be a long, meaningful, and challenging career at Tesla,” he wrote. “I caught a glimpse of what I had not seen as a contractor, the importance of what was being done and the genuine passion many have as we try to change the world … With an endeavour like this, change is to be expected and so I do not blame anyone and would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

Another former employee said the fact that other talented employees were let go at the same time made his firing easier to bear.

“Being laid off is a strange feeling but maybe it’s not so bad being let go as a part of a large group of very talented individuals including other software developers, managers, and VPs,” he wrote. “I’m a strong optimist and I’m looking forward to the next big challenge.”

Their posts have been flooded with comments from other users wishing them luck, complimenting their positive attitudes, and asking for their resumes.

If you’ve worked for Tesla and have a story to share, you can contact this reporter at [email protected]

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