Elon Musk fired a long-time assistant who requested a raise.
When Mary Beth Brown decided to ask for a raise in early 2014, she had no idea that her 12-year professional relationship with Elon Musk would come to an end as a result of her decision.
Elon Musk, the modern-day Tony Stark, has employed Brown for the previous 12 years as a consultant and employee.
Every week, she would fly back and forth between Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, working late into the night and on weekends. She was very dedicated to her profession.
She used to manage Musk’s schedule across two firms (SpaceX and Tesla), as well as public relations and commercial choices, and she was often called upon to assist Musk in his judgments.
To her, Musk seemed to be an extension of herself — or at least, that was how she saw it.
Brown was described as follows by Ashlee Vance, who wrote about this in his book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future”: “Brown — or MB, as everyone knew her — became Musk’s loyal assistant, establishing a real-life version of the relationship between Iron Man’s Tony Stark and Pepper Potts.” Brown put in the same amount of time as Musk, which was twenty hours a day. Her responsibilities included bringing Musk meals, scheduling his business engagements, scheduling time with his children, picking out his clothing, dealing with press inquiries, and yanking Musk out of meetings as required to keep him on track.
So she would emerge as the single link connecting Musk and his many business interests, and she would prove to be a wonderful benefit to the organizations’ personnel.”
She also noted that Brown made a significant contribution to the development of SpaceX’s early culture since she paid special attention to every detail and helped to maintain a positive atmosphere in the company.
So Brown approached Musk and requested a pay increase. Specific compensation she desired was in accordance with the compensation package offered by SpaceX’s senior management.
Which of the following statements was made by Elon Musk in response? Brown was urged to take a couple of weeks off so that he could appreciate how difficult Brown’s obligations were. Brown did as instructed. Brown was essential to Musk’s success, and he wanted Brown to recognize that.
As a result, Brown took a two-week leave of absence and Musk took over her position.
Musk informed Brown that he no longer need her services after two weeks of her attendance at the office. Brown was completely taken by surprise. Everyone knows that asking for a raise will not result in a dismissal.
For example, Ashlee writes in the book that the unexpected event stunned employees at SpaceX and Tesla, confirming rumors about Musk’s callous stoicism and lack of emotion. “This unceremonious event rocked many within SpaceX and Tesla,” Ashlee writes.
Musk stated that he offered Brown another position with the same compensation, but that she rejected and left the firm, according to Musk.
Why did Musk terminate his long-time aide, who had done everything right for him over the years, is now a question. Do you think this is just about requesting further funds? Alternatively, did Brown, despite having worked for Musk for an extremely long period of time, fail properly assess Musk?
The view from Brown’s viewpoint indicates that she felt confident in her contribution to the firms Musk controlled, and as a result, she wanted Musk to treat her as if she were a top soldier on his squad.
Although Musk had a realistic point of view, she misread him on this particular occasion, as he had done so in the past, disregarding all of Brown’s earlier contributions.
After the end, Musk discovered that Brown’s position was no longer necessary in only two weeks. In other words, Brown did not succeed in making Musk unassailably successful.
“If you agree with Musk’s choice to discharge his assistant from her position, it shows you the significance of making yourself as necessary as possible before asking for a raise,” states an article on theladders.com. Alternatively, if you agree with the assistant, it serves as a helpful warning to avoid years of underpayment and undervaluation.”
Elon Musk, on the other hand, has called this narrative “complete rubbish,” and he has rebutted it. “Mary Beth was a wonderful assistant for almost 10 years, but as the company’s complexity developed, the function needed numerous experts rather than a single generalist,” he said on Twitter.
It doesn’t matter what the real motive was; the incident serves as a great lesson anyway. It’s also important not to take your work for granted, though.
Nobody is safe from being replaced, no matter how long they have worked for the firm or how close they are to the management. There you have it, the harsh reality. Preparing your mind for this is essential!
Remember to provide your manager at least a dozen (if not more) reasons why you deserve a raise before you approach him or her with your request.