Twitter Employee Health Will Be Compromised by ‘Long Hours at High Intensity’

Working under Elon Musk’s new “hardcore” demands will be awful for physical, mental and emotional well-being

Robert Roy Britt
4 min readNov 16, 2022

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Image: Pexels/Anna Shvets

Twitter employees who agree to stay on and work under their demanding new boss, Elon Musk, will put themselves at higher risk for serious physical, mental and emotional health problems in the near-term and long run, based on what Musk just said he expects of them.

In an email to remaining employees — about half the headcount that existed prior to Musk slashing staff in a mass layoff — the new boss asked that they fill out an online form to state whether they wished to stay on board. His conditions for continued employment included this motivational gem:

“In an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore,” he wrote in the email, according to The New York Times. “This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

Working long hours at high intensity and striving for unparalleled excellence have long been perceived in American culture as good and noble pursuits, particularly in the high-tech industry.

But at what cost?

The more hours a person works beyond 45 per week, the higher level of depression symptoms they experience, on average, according to a study last month of first-year medical residents, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. The symptoms increased on a sliding scale, with 60 hours a week generating more depression symptoms than 50, and so on up to 90 hours a week.

While any job can be stressful, piling on more hours robs workers of the opportunity to recover, the researchers concluded.

“You can more effectively deal with the stresses or frustrations of your job when you have more time to recover,” said study leader Amy Bohnert, PhD, an associate professor and mental health services researcher at the University of Michigan.

Separately, an analysis last year from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization reached far more comprehensive conclusions about overworking:

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Robert Roy Britt

Editor of Aha! and Wise & Well on Medium + the Writer's Guide at writersguide.substack.com. Author of Make Sleep Your Superpower: amazon.com/dp/B0BJBYFQCB