6 current and ex-Tesla employees reveal the one thing customers should know about what it's like to work there

Ng Han Guan/Associated Press‘There’s a lot more convoluted stuff going on behind the scenes that I think a lot of customers don’t know about,’ a former Tesla sales employee said.

Tesla’s customers are an unusually enthusiastic group, sometimes going so far as to volunteer to assist the electric-car maker’s employees in times of need.

But, as with any company, it’s difficult to understand what it’s like on the inside unless you’ve worked there yourself.

Six current and former Tesla employees told Business Insider the one thing they wish customers knew about what it’s like to work for the company. Each was granted anonymity due to a fear of reprisal from Tesla.

Here’s what the current and former employees said. (The employees pictured below are not those interviewed by Business Insider.)

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on their responses.

Are you a current or former Tesla employee? Do you have an opinion about what it’s like to work there? Contact this reporter at [email protected]. You can ask for more secure methods of communication, like Signal or ProtonMail, by email or Twitter direct message.

It’s more chaotic on the inside than it appears on the outside


“There’s a lot more convoluted stuff going on behind the scenes that I think a lot of customers don’t know about,” said a former sales employee who left the company this year.

The former sales employee said the commission structure for salespeople changed frequently, which created uncertainty around compensation.

Some employees feel a larger sense of purpose


“You have more of a purpose,” a current mobile-service technician said about working at Tesla. “I wouldn’t be bragging that I’m a Ford mechanic. I say ‘Tesla mechanic’ and everybody’s like, wow, that’s cool.”

But some employees lose their enthusiasm

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

A former production worker at Tesla’s Nevada factory, where the company makes battery packs and drivetrains, who left the company in 2018 said coworkers and friends who have worked for Tesla told him their enthusiasm for the company waned shortly after starting their jobs.

“Everyone there very much feels replaceable,” he said.

The former employee said the disillusionment may stem from his friends and colleagues being instructed, like he was, not to look at CEO Elon Musk or any other Tesla executives when they came to the factory.

It’s not easy for some employees to find housing

Ng Han Guan/Associated Press

A former production employee at the Nevada factory who left the company this year said it’s difficult to buy a home in nearby Reno if you don’t make at least $US50,000 per year.

Tesla said in a regulatory filing this year that its median employee made $US56,163 last year, which means half of its employees made less than that.

Salespeople don’t always have all the answers

Hannibal Hanschke / Reuters

“When we say we don’t know things, we really don’t,” a current salesperson said.

If something goes wrong during the buying process, there are many possible explanations


“More often than not, I would find that any customer that was angry at me was due to a problem within the system and not from a sales problem,” said a former salesperson who left the company this year.

Sometimes, a customer’s frustration stemmed from a problem with the way a car was produced or a communication issue between the sales and delivery departments, the former salesperson said.

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