“Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk"


#9

You’re right on the money with the Walmart commentary. I don’t know why it gets a pass though–maybe it’s because of the strictly online presence hides a lot of the flaws–the old adage, “on the internet no one knows you’re a dog” perhaps holds true with Amazon. And they do a good job kissing customer’s rear-ends–which Walmart doesn’t do.

The obsession with metrics trickles down to us too.

I know someone who interviewed there recently for a senior position and said the process was the most f-d up thing she had ever experienced–total miscommunication, disorganized–she got to the end and was given an offer but turned them down because of all the red flags raised during the recruiting process.


#10

Similar to how Ford motor company treats its workers. Everyone is just a number and they care nothing about the actual people that make the items or do the things that make them money.
>

It’s interesting that you mention Ford, because that’s not how Ford started–they actually were pioneers in cutting worker hours and raising hourly wages which raised productivity, reduced labor turnover and worker’s could actually afford the product they made.

I’m sure that’s not the Ford of today, but it is the Costco of today.


#11

I think we’re finally approaching a tipping point especially since the rewards are not commensurate with the productivity output.

We work more hours these days and make less than our parents did, and I think folks are finally waking up.


#12

Do you expect any less of Amazon. One hand has no idea what the other hand is doing. That is why so many counterfeits can be sold here. And so many things are run by bots.

Companies dont have to run this way, and Im not sure why anyone would want to work longterm, when you have to put work first above all else.

Many companies are like this, and a few arent, and they are the ones that people want to work at. When Amazon took over zappos it was the same thing. The people around here loved working at Zappos, they took care of all employees treated them like people
and did lots of things people liked.

Now Amazon owns zappos and its a entirely different culture. No one actually wants to work there now, and all the perks and things they used to do to take care of the employees are gone. Proof that Amazon just likes to take over and treat people like a number. Similar to how Ford motor company treats its workers. Everyone is just a number and they care nothing about the actual people that make the items or do the things that make them money.

Edited by: StoptheMadness on Aug 15, 2015 9:46 AM


#13

Good article. The bit about “Amabots” was particularly disturbing.

I think it’s significant that as worker productivity has increased, this hasn’t led to shorter work weeks (as people once imagined), but to ever greater demands on our time — and for what, really? Drone delivery? Smartphone upgrades every couple years? We have all that we need, but we’re trained to want more than we have, so the treadmill we’re running never slows down.


#14

The article says the good Amazon employees are referred to as “Amabots”.

Well, I guess that answers my question about who is sending all those “canned” emails and suspension notices. Couldn’t figure out if was people or bots. Guess it’s Amabots.


#15

I know people who work and worked there, and the common wisdom is that it’s a place you work for two or three years, work insanely hard and make a lot of money, then get burned out and move on with a nice section on the resume and some war stories. Since people are no longer joining companies, especially tech companies, with the plan or expectation of staying for 30 years, their system makes some sense.


#16

That’s an interesting read - thank you for posting.

Honestly, it’s like I expected it would be. I have never worked in a corporate environment and never will. I tend to think outside the box too much for such a job, or most hourly wage jobs for that matter. The employees that cry should seek different work. Simple stuff to me. There’s lots of options out there.


#17

Amazon is no different than Tesla, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, or Google.

Similar articles have been printed for each of those companies. Apple managers treat their departments exactly the same. You will not last long at Facebook if you only work 60 hours a week.

When you work at any of these types of jobs, you are owned by the company. If you don’t want to be owned by them, you won’t do well in the culture.

The corporate culture in highly innovating companies is cut throat. 80 hour work weeks are the norm and those that don’t work enough get pushed out.

Similar reactions have happened too. If you read the responses to this or any similar article, you will see people say they will stop using that company’s product and people are offended that others are treated that way.

If you look closely at the article and the types of people who were complaining about the culture before they quit, you can tell that the writers got their sources from forums they solicited ex and current employees. Of course those that respond will be disgruntled and the writers will focus on them.

I know people that work, worked, or were recruited by these companies. I’ve also met recruiters while on my travels. When asked, they describe their environments in similar ways. However, the extreme examples given in this article are not the way every department at any of these companies works.

A friend who works at Boeing said when she was hired as an engineer, she was told that the minimum work week is 60 hours until the 777 was complete. She worked 60-90 hours a week for three years.

I know someone who was recruited by Facebook, Apple, and Amazon because she had a PhD in artificial intelligence. She did the famous walk with Zuckerberg. She was offered five times her university salary by Apple. She was offered a high position at Amazon. In the end, she turned them all down because she was the primary caregiver for her parents and even the three hour drive from Seattle to Vancouver to see her parents was not worth the money. She chose family over career.

Many choose career over family and soon regret it. Those are the ones who were featured in the article.

The ideal candidate for the management jobs are high achievers who are psychopaths or score high on the PCL-R. When a psychopath gets into the management position, they are the ones that cause havoc described in the article and would be the ones emailing at midnight then sending a text message 15 minutes later to ask why there’s no response to the email.

Psychopaths would have a hard time working at Amazon because they don’t like to be manipulated. But if they can hold out until they become a manager, their department will achieve more than one managed by someone who scores low on the PCL-R. However, if there are other psychopaths working for them, they won’t last long.

It’s estimated that 27% of CEOs are psychopaths and without a doubt, Bezos scores high on the PCL-R. This would explain why he developed a real time performance reviews: It’s about manipulation.

I’m not defending this work environment. However, it’s this type of push that makes a company achieve more than anyone else.


#18

> I’m not defending this work environment. However, it’s this type of push that makes a company achieve more than anyone else.

But it may not be the only way for a company to achieve as much. It’s an extreme version of the Taylorist scientific management that dominated the 20th century, with its assumption that workers are inherently lazy and need to be pushed and measured at every step. Naturally, they’ll do better than similar companies who also push and measure, but less effectively. However, more democratic, worker-driven models are, at least, conceivable.


#19

Insanity at it’s best, a 12 step program may help, however it maybe too late.

Most companies that have a management style that is based on fear, doubt and insecurities
will start too decline on this path.

I’ve yet to ever buy anything on az and probably never will.


#20

I agree 100% that this is why we third party vendors are treated lower than swamp dirt, this is a corporation that places zero value on human beings


#21

If you think that article is ridiculous, try looking up the security screenings that warehouse employees undergo at the end of a shift. It’s appalling.


#22

What a sad place to work. Explains a lot about how they treat 3rd-party sellers.


#23

I think you mean 19th Century management style. But the article does explain the way 3rd party sellers are often treated. It is this sort of culture of worker abuse that resulted in the rise of the Labor Unions in the 1930s. The long work hours are the least of the problems with this management style - it is the dehumanization and culture of fear that is the shame of it.


#24

Yeah–you’re right–it’s more like Scrooge’s Accounting Firm.


#25

I’ve read about those horror stories, but what’s worse are the productivity metrics the FC employees are held to which is why I think there are so many problems with FBA and damaged and ‘lost’ merchandise and haphazard packaging.


#26

I agree 100%. The ridiculous (and Amazon is evidently proud of that) work loads cause errors that only have to be fixed later with more effort. It’s false efficiency.

For a video report on FC working conditions see:

+BBC Panorama: The Truth Behind the Click+


#27

This is not a typical corporate environment.


#28

Thanks for posting this Petri, it was a very thought provoking article.

Regardless if you love or hate Amazon, there is a lot one can learn from them regarding business. Both what to do and what not to do to reach your own definition of success.