From the way
has described it, being the CEO of
is not easy. The job has at times required working
of the electric-car maker’s California factory.
But Musk’s most unpleasant job came years before
was founded. During an
with the “Third Row Tesla” podcast, Musk said the worst job he’s had involved cleaning boiler rooms in a lumber mill in Vancouver.
As a teenager, Musk wanted to move to the US from
, where he grew up, so he could work in the tech industry. Before making his way to the US, Musk moved to Montreal when he was 17 since he could get Canadian citizenship through his mother. After working on a wheat farm, Musk traveled to Vancouver, where he took a short-term job at a lumber mill.
The position required him to shovel “steaming” sand and mulch out of a wood-pulp boiler, Musk said. A worker outside the boiler would then remove the sand and mulch from a tunnel leading into it.
Musk said the job was dangerous, since each boiler had just one small tunnel as an entrance and exit. If the tunnel was full, it could spell trouble in an emergency.
“It’d be really hard to drag somebody out,” Musk said. “It does not seem safe because if the tunnel gets blocked, trying to unblock that tunnel would be very difficult in a short period of time.”
Musk added that the workers inside and outside of the boiler would switch positions every 15 minutes to avoid getting hyperthermia.
The job lasted just four days, and paid around double the hourly rate Musk’s other options offered.
a few years later to attend the
. After graduating, he would found the online mapping startup Zip2, an online banking company that became PayPal, and the rocket company
. Musk is now worth around $40 billion, according to
. In addition to Tesla and SpaceX, he is involved with the Boring Company, a tunneling startup, and Neuralink, an artificial-intelligence startup.
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