In an email, Elon Musk demands that Twitter employees make a clear decision: commit to extreme performance or leave. He expects the decision by Thursday.

It’s a clear statement. “If you’re sure you want to be a part of the new Twitter, please click the link below.” Anyone who does not do so by 5 p.m. New York time on Thursday will be automatically dismissed with three salaries in severance pay. This is what it says in an email from the new Twitter boss Elon Musk to his employees. And they should have to ponder quite a bit about their step.

Because the boss does little to make staying attractive – on the contrary. He believes Twitter will have to get “extremely hardcore” to meet the challenges. “That means long working hours with high intensity.” That’s why he doesn’t need half-hearted workers. “Only exceptional performances are rated as sufficient.”

extreme pressure

The mail, sent around midnight, adds to the intense pressure on the employees. Over the past two weeks, Musk has fired more than half of Twitter’s workforce, some firing them personally on Twitter after they criticized him. The cutback was also applied to external service providers. In addition, the boss had decided to return to the office immediately, and anyone who did not show up was also considered dismissed.

He now expects the remaining employees to create a gigantic feat with him. Musk wants to rebuild the service with a focus on developers. Bloomberg claims to have learned from an internal meeting what kind of performance he expects. Accordingly, Musk demands from his employees an 80-hour week and an “urgency bordering on manic”. The necessary changes cannot be made otherwise.

Hard times on Twitter

At least part of the high pressure is homemade. Musk borrowed heavily to buy Twitter, and the company has to pay $1 billion a year in interest. And that’s after doing badly for the past two years with sales of almost $5 billion. Because Musk’s plan for virtually unrestricted freedom of expression also scared off advertisers and because of the economic crisis, advertising spending had already fallen beforehand, revenue is more likely to fall. Musk is therefore fully committed to a paid subscription and cost reductions, for example through the layoffs.

For Twitter employees, the change is a shock. The group had allowed people to work from anywhere in the world during the pandemic, and many employees don’t even live near one of Twitter’s offices. The culture of criticism, which previously allowed extremely free expression of views that differed from management, is gone. On the other hand, Musk’s announcement is unlikely to do much to attract new talent.

After all, one cannot say that the boss does not set a good example. He now works about 120 hours a week, he explained at a conference this week. “I sleep, get up, work, sleep, work, and do it seven days a week.” He now seems to expect the same from his employees.

Sources: Washington Post, Bloomberg, Observer