The New York Times dropped a bit of a cannon ball into the internet with it’s report on the ultra-competitive, swift and brutal company culture at Amazon.
Since you have far less time than we do, we’ve summarized the three worst things about working at Amazon.
We guarantee it will turn you off to ever working with them.
1) Purposeful Darwinism
The Times describes a practice Amazon cals “purposeful Darwinism” a system meant to weed out weak workers so that company only has “the best” working. The practice is part of the company’s “annual culling” where workers are judged by management on their performances and peer reviews.
The Times reports: “Each year, the internal competition culminates at an extended semi-open tournament called an Organization Level Review, where managers debate subordinates’ rankings, assigning and reassigning names to boxes in a matrix projected on the wall. In recent years, other large companies, including Microsoft, General Electric and Accenture Consulting, have dropped the practice — often called stack ranking, or “rank and yank” — in part because it can force managers to get rid of valuable talent just to meet quotas.”
2) 80-hour work weeks
It’s not uncommon, it seems encouraged, for Amazon employees to work 80-hour weeks. There seems to be no such thing as a "work life balance" for Amazon employees. According to one former employee interviewed by the Times “The joke in the office was that when it came to work/life balance, work came first, life came second, and trying to find the balance came last.”
The work dips into employee’s evenings, weekends and even vacations. The Time’s reports that “one ex-employee’s fiancé became so concerned about her nonstop working night after night that he would drive to the Amazon campus at 10 p.m. and dial her cell phone until she agreed to come home. When they took a vacation to Florida, she spent every day at Starbucks using the wireless connection to get work done.”
3) The Anytime Feedback Tool
The Times described the Anytime Feedback Tool as a means for employees to praise or complain about a coworker’s performance to upper management. While Amazon claims that a majority of the feedback is positive, former employees of the company complain that it’s simply “a river of intrigue and scheming” and a means for employees to team up and drive out one employee.
One former employee told the Times that after having her child (Amazon does not have paid maternity leave), she arranged work hours with her manager that suited her new schedule as a mother. Employees however ganged up on her and pushed her out:
“She arranged with her boss to be in the office from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day, pick up her baby and often return to her laptop later. Her boss assured her things were going well, but her colleagues, who did not see how early she arrived, sent him negative feedback accusing her of leaving too soon.”
The employee reportedly left the company later that year.
Matt Lee is a Web producer for Metro New York. He writes about almost everything and anything. Talk to him (or yell at him) on Twitter so he doesn’t feel lonely @mattlee2669.