Work more to change the world

One of the world’s most successful business leaders, Elon Musk, has said that people need to work from around 80 to over 100 hours per week to „change the world”. Mr Musk knowswhat he is talking about because he has his finger in many pies. He is the founder, CEO andlead designer of SpaceX; the co-founder and CEO of the car company Tesla; and the cofounder of PayPal. He works very hard on many projects that have changed and couldchange our lives. He said he is a workaholic but he loves what he does. He talked  about working hard in an interview with the technology news website Recode. He said: „There are way easier places to work, but nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week.”

It is not just Mr Musk who works hard. Workers at his companies also put in very long hours. Musk said „everyone” at Tesla has worked 100 hours per week at times this year. He said this was necessary to make sure the Tesla Model 3 car could survive. He said: „There wasn’t any other way to do this.” Musk acknowledged that some Tesla employees were unhappy with working so hard. He said some workers called the hours „excessive,” while others said they prefer to work 70 or more hours per week. Musk said the „pain level” of working hard increases above 80 hours a week, but he didn’t say what the pain was. The average CEO of a multi billion-dollar company works around 70 hours a week.
(adapted from breakingnewsenglish.com)



Ex. 1 Match the words in the list with their English equivalents from the text:

1. odnoszący sukcesy
2. założyciel
3. pracoholik
4. wywiad
5. pracownik
6. przeciętny


• average
• employee
• founder
• interview
• successful
• workaholic


Ex. 2 What collocations can you make with the words in these two rows?

business / car / lead / long / news / pain

company / designer / hours / leader / level / website

1. _______________________________
2. _______________________________
3. _______________________________
4. _______________________________
5. _______________________________
6. _______________________________


Ex. 3 Translate these sentences using words from the exercises above:

1. Czytałem ciekawy wywiad z założycielem Tesli.
2. Pracownicy w naszej firmie spędzają (spend) naprawdę długie godziny w pracy.
3. Nie musisz być pracoholikiem żeby odnosić sukcesy.


I know English idioms:

In this lesson’s text we can find this sentence: “Mr Musk knows what he is talking about because he has his finger in many pies.” It uses and paraphrases a common idiom:
• to have a finger in the pie = to be involved in something (maczać w czymś palce)
➢ John would never trust his colleagues about doing anything, he always has to have his finger in the pie.


Phrasals, phrasals…

Here ‘s another sentence from the reading text: “Workers at his companies also put in very long hours.” Let’s study the phrasal verb which it uses:
• to put in = to do work, make effort or spend time doing sth (wkładać, angażować)
➢ She has put in a lot of effort on this proposal.


Grammar corner…

One other of the text’s sentences reads: “There are way easier places to work (…)” The underlined part is a comparative structure which can translate “dużo łatwiejsze”. It uses the comparative form of the adjective “easy” and a modifying word “way” which makes the message stronger. Instead of “way” we could also use words like:
• a lot His job is a lot more interesting than mine.
• far She has a far better salary.
• much /many I have many more duties than the rest of my colleagues.




world’s  – światowy
successful  – odnoszący sukcesy
business leader – lider biznesowy
to have your finger in many pies  – chwytać się wielu zadań
(co-)founder  – (współ)założyciel
CEO (chief executive officer)  – prezes
lead designer  – główny projektant
car company  –  producent samochodów
workaholic  – pracoholik
interview –  wywiad
technology news website  – strona poświęcona zagadnieniom techniki
way easier –  dużo łatwiejsze
to put in –  tu: pracować
at times  – czasami
necessary  – niezbędne
to make sure  – zapewnić
survive  – przeżyć, przetrwać
to acknowledge  – przyznać
employee  – pracownik
unhappy with sth  – niezadowolony z czegoś
to call – nazywać
excessive  – nadmierny
while  – podczas gdy
to prefer –  woleć
pain level – próg bólu
to increase  – wzrastać
average  – przeciętny, tu: typowy


download lesson (pdf)


1. successful
2. founder
3. workaholic
4. interview
5. employee
6. average
1. business leader
2. car company
3. lead designer
4. long hours
5. news website
6. pain level
1. I (have) read an interesting interview with the founder of Tesla.
2. Employees in our company spend really long hours at work.
3. You don’t have to be a workaholic to be successful.