Amazon.com
3.3 of 5 3,216 reviews
www.amazon.com Seattle, WA 5000+ Employees

Amazon.com Reviews

Updated Jul 11, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.3 3,208 reviews

                             

85% Approve of the CEO

Amazon.com Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos

(2,244 ratings)

64% of employees recommend this company to a friend
2,220 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    It's intense but I learned alot

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsAmazon has its leadership principles. Leadership principle is not only the guide for interviews but also the guide for internal ratings of current employees. This principle demonstrates good company culture.

    ConsCondensation is good according to other tech companies. Benefit is rather week. Amazon promotes frugality. Working extra hours at work is a demonstration of hard work. However I am sure for all companies, everyone will be particularly busy during launch times.

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Very labor intensive.

    Warehouse Associate (Current Employee)
    San Bernardino, CA

    ProsDecent pay, could be better.

    ConsApply directly through Amazon. Do Not go through a staffing agency, it takes forever to get converted.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLearn to delegate and stop flexing up every single shift, it is really uncool to have a scheduled shift where you may have to work an hour more or less everyday. Most sane people like to go home when their shift is scheduled to end.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Mostly good experience

    Senior Product Manager (Current Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    ProsOwnership, high impact, fast moving, innovative, lots to choose from, not as political as other cos.

    Conspay and promotion, lack of training opportunities

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Big impact work, great team, no work life balance

    Technical Program Manager III (Current Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    ProsSmart, highly motivated team, initiatives that have direct customer impact, high visibility in the organization. Own your product end-to-end from conception to implementation to delivery to maintenance.

    ConsVery aggressive goals, no work life balance. Boss works harder than me because boss has more agressive goals. Company expects to work hard, work smart and work long hours. All teams own online services and you are never off work if you are the manager. Need to invest in a support org for live issues that pop up in the middle of the night.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Sales

    Senior Product Manager (Current Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    ProsNice environment but insensitive people

    ConsPoor management and lack of responsibility permeates the system.

    Advice to Senior ManagementBring it up the game

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    A lot of work, but satisfying for those who enjoy it.

    Warehouse Associate (Current Employee)
    Phoenix, AZ

    ProsGreat cardio workout if you're on the floor. people have been fun and enjoyable for the most part. If you get a blue badge the opportunities are seemingly endless.

    ConsHours during peak season can be a bit much, I hardly saw my family over the holiday season last year. I've heard a lot of things that are said will happen to better the working experience but are nowhere in sight.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    working experience at amazon.com

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    Prosvery good working culture
    pretty good opportunities to move into better roles

    Conssalary
    work-life balance depends on the team and project you are working for

    Advice to Senior Managementtake care of employees in the same way you take care of your customers

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Amazon: A great place to work very hard!

    Technical Account Manager (Current Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    ProsThe company does all the right things for employees. Mediocre salary, but the equity shares make it worth while. Can't say enough about all the perks, such as Zip car, dogs at work, fun culture.

    ConsAmazon owns you 24/7/365. That is the way it is, and I found little apology for it. The interviews are brutal, but you are glad that they take time to build a company of owners who care enough to drive the right projects.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAmazon's philosophy is, and has always been: Your career path is your problem. I'd have liked a manager who might have took time to help more with the big picture to help me plan my advancement better.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Brutally Fast-paced but Also Full of Amazing Opportunities

    IT (Current Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    ProsThe best benefit of working at Amazon is the amazing array of coworkers. You meet everyone from MIT graduates to post-military special ops (and all folks in-between). Most of the people at Amazon are no BS types who don't like office politics. Those are the people I love working with the most. Amazon's technical environment offers experience and learning opportunities you cannot get anywhere else. Server management, ruby/perl programming, Cisco, Linux, network cabling, project management, etc - all in one job.

    Cons"Day 1 Basic Training" atmosphere. From the moment you walk into the door, it's "Go! Go! Go! Go!", and man does that burn you out after a few years. I've seen really good people get burned out, and either quit or get canned because they can't sustain double-speed 40-60 hrs a week. Amazon isn't for everyone. Read through the reviews here. It's not for whiners or folks who want a "cruise control" job. There's no cruise at Amazon - only full throttle every moment of every day.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop burning people out. Stop micro-managing.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    13 people found this helpful  

    Recipe for Burnout

    Senior Business Manager (Current Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    Pros- Many smart people who are good to work with
    - Opportunity to work on interesting projects, at scale

    ConsMy review is about what it's like to be a business contributor at Amazon. This could be a marketing manager, category leader, product manager, project manager, etc. I will begin with the assumption that great business contributors want to do two things: 'Produce New Ideas' (better ways of doing things, new initiatives), and 'Drive Change'. Now I'll explain why Amazon's environment is essentially hostile to both. The consequence for many business contributors is burnout.

    "High Standards" has devolved into Endless Fault-Finding
    --
    Amazon suffers from a somewhat unique culture of "high standards". Never have I seen a supposed corporate value become so abused. There is precious little innovation in Amazon retail over the last 5 years and much of this owes to the endless nitpicking masquerading as "high standards". Amongst executives especially, there is a competition as to who has the highest IQ. This is demonstrated by who has the most effective takedown of a proposed idea, which is usually distributed in the form of a document read during meetings. In this warped culture, an executive would expose himself as a "naif" by praising a proposed idea. Instead, "clarifying questions' and critiques rule. A Simon Cowell impersonation contest ensues. What does this mean for new ideas? It means that to merely suggest a better way of doing things means to be attacked - "Why didn't you propose this earlier? You've been working here for X years already", "Why isn't the team already doing this?", "You could do A, B, C, D differently; your analysis on ___ is sloppy and incomplete".

    ….Or their favorite- "Get MORE data". Executives don't understand how convoluted the process is of getting accurate data at Amazon because they always have someone to fetch it for them. Amazon not only does not use 3rd party analytics packages, they don't even have an effective proprietary system for dashboarding data or pulling metrics. Most of the requests are done by hand through SQL across a myriad of poorly documented tables in which the data fields are not well understood. Trying to understand what different fields means, requires you to file a ticket - which is sometimes never responded to. Once you prepare the data set, any minor variance in the data is justification, according to executives, that "you don't understand the underlying dynamics of what you're proposing". "High Standards" has become a tour de force of fault-finding and needless perfectionism that totally deters new idea development at Amazon. Why suggest a new idea or better way of doing things? You know you are signing yourself up for data pull after data pull, document after document, harangued at meeting after meeting. After the initiative is actually implemented, you will never be thanked for the contribution the initiative makes. Instead, other stakeholders will find fault with it, and complain to your manager, who will be all too receptive and that they "have been concerned about these same issues for some time". Sadly, this gives a glimpse as to why many business managers at Amazon end up doing bare minimum because being a change agent is filled with pitfalls and very few positives.

    Executives do not Engage Business Mangers in Ways that are Productive
    --

    Although mileage may vary on different teams, I believe, in general, Amazon values executives and engineers. Executives mistakenly assume they have all the judgment thats required, and all underling business managers are good for is supplying them with data so they can apply their "brilliant minds". Of course, they lack context for all the categories and channels that these decisions require, but that doesn't bother them. They respect engineers because engineers have a kind of knowledge they know they don't; and engineers can always retreat into arcane aspects of tech that are impenetrable to executives. I have never seen a company where executives so totally engage their subordinates at the wrong level. What I mean by this is executives are told to "dive deep" and understand the details- an impossible task when they manage dozens or hundreds of people. So what ends up happening is they attempt to micro-manage teams in areas of the business they simply DO NOT have command over. What they do NOT do, unfortunately, is take the time to ask questions of their various business manager to better understand the business, or engage at a high level and try to ascertain if there are significant business opportunities we are not addressing. That might add some value, but they don't do that. Instead, absent context, they launch into highly opinionated monologues on what we should be doing; or play "gotcha" with minor errors they spot in the document. You will quickly find out these are not mutual conversations but rather 1-way statements. The other favorite thing to do during business reviews is to not discuss the business, but discuss the layout, formatting, and descriptions in the document itself -- as though that is best use of people's time. Amazon executives enjoy raising their voice at subordinates and are the worst at listening I have ever seen at a major company. Listening is apparently not a valued skill. What transpires is Micro-Management without context. It is a pointless kind of engagement that adds no value. Worse, it squanders entirely the domain expertise of business experts that Amazon has brought on board. There could potentially be excellent synergy between the domain knowledge business contributors have and strategic mindset that executives have -- but that won't happen the way current interactions take place at Amazon. Managers are often indifferent towards major issues confronting the business but lash out in anger at seemingly minor details; a haphazard form of review that leave subordinates unable to understand exactly the priorities of the business.

    Politics and Consequences
    --

    Business contributors burnout at a blistering place at Amazon. In my group alone, almost HALF of the business headcount have left the team in ONE year. At the same time, most of the engineers and executives have remained. Business managers often don't have the tools to their job; with inadequate analytics and few methods to improve an ailing part of the business. One of the more unfortunate aspects, which further deters action, is that Amazon can be very political. Most teams are "2 pizza teams" - meaning they are self-sufficient. You can easily spend 90% of your time with your own team. But this means that other teams become RELUCTANT to collaborate. They have their own priorities and often don't need you for anything. Let's say you have a Project X which had a dependency that another team owns. When you approach them to make modifications to aid your department, they may well resent this attempted shift in priorities. Now the very manager who told you to deal with a dependency that another team manages, who pushed you to get this other team to change, also is the one who finds fault with you when the other team objects that your intervention is not appreciated. The manager will tell you to orchestrate change WITHOUT anyone balking; which I suppose is easy enough for a manger who himself does not orchestrate change, but largely reviews documents. Given that much has been written about Amazon's "gladiator culture", it is silly to think rank and file can go out into the environment and make change happen without ruffling a few feathers. Without adequate support of subordinates, employees will simply stop attempting to drive change with other teams. And many have. When I first joined Amazon, I was surprised how many business contributors avoided the inter-department negotiations necessary to move things along; now it's all too clear (note sometimes this push-back will come from one's own team- and management will be indifferent to the hostile team dynamics). Management has created a no-win situation for that kind of activity. One reason for this disconnect-- Managers themselves often focus on 'strategic initiatives' which have S-team buy-in so different teams have already prioritized that work. Managers who work on these initiatives experience harmony across teams, but can't seem to understand that other initiatives (which are not prioritized by the consumer leadership team company-wide) don't have the built-in support. So when they see there is tension, this contrasts with the smooth cross-team relations they are used to seeing. It's a kind of myopia that hampers cross-team collaboration, the kind that really requires teams to collaborate when it's not dictated from above.

    Accomplishments are Lost in the Noise
    --

    The emphasis on fault finding at Amazon culturally prevents the opposite at Amazon - to celebrate an individual or even a team's job well done. The consequence however is that there is little difference between a business manager who treads water versus one who swims a 100M record. Provided a business manger works effectively on a few projects that are deemed important by senior management, that is sufficient. The lack of recognition by management and executives for standout work has become the undoing of morale at the company for business contributors. This may be stereotypical, but engineers can often subsist on challenging work and peer recognition by other engineers. When business contributors go above and beyond, if their accomplishments are simply seen as another bullet point on a document or a brief mention at an annual review, there simply isn't enough incentive. You will always have some % of contributors who will plough forward regardless, but even for them it's a matter of time before the lack of recognition will have them seeking greener pastures.

    The reviews saying Amazon is cheap with its employees are true. But they suggest Amazon withholds perks from employees which cost money such as snacks, or events, or bonuses. In truth, I feel like this matters, but not nearly as much as the fact that Amazon is stingy with things that don't cost money -- like recognition and support (support might be your manager vouching for your work rather than undercutting it at every opportunity when criticism is received from other teams or executives). Instead, Amazon goes to great lengths to diminish people's accomplishments, ignoring their successes, attempting to diffuse individual achievements across a team so as to prevent individuals from receiving credit (and critique the individual as "selfish" if they try to claim a hand in that success).

    What would Valuing your Employees more Mean?
    --

    Amazon's position in the market has allowed it to develop a sub-optimal culture; one that henpecks people for suggesting better ways of doing things, which goads him or her to "prove it" using inadequate tools, endlessly faults them, and then ultimately is indifferent towards the resulting improvement. It has management that, all too often, is unaccountable - that does not participate in collaborative exchanges with its team, but rather reads documents and directs "feedback". Management is largely indifferent to team progress that doesn't align with S-team goals, but much of the company's success owes to progress in these other areas.

    I don't think the answer is "free beer" or company lunches. It may one day dawn on Amazon leadership that finding ways to SUPPORT promising ideas and efforts are just as important as critiquing them. That it's management's job to ensure employees have what they need to do the job: that means adequate analytics and tools, assistance in gaining cooperation of other teams, ensuring effective dynamics on the team itself, ensuring quality processes and removing obstacles… even something trivial like making sure that is actually possible to book a meeting room without 5 days notice. That management has value to add to the team, and there is more to do than disappear and work on 'strategic' initiatives. Ultimately, I think valuing employees means respecting that business managers are domain experts and it is their expertise that you are hiring them for; their knowledge and judgment, that the value of that team comes from matching executive strategic insight with it. That requires management & executives to be humble enough to ask questions and have collaborative exchanges and God forbid, ask what a business manager's judgment is on a particular issue when there are different options available. To recognize that business contributors are there for more than simply providing details or fetching data. Great workers may want compensation, but I think they want recognition of their contribution and their abilities more than anything. Providing that costs nothing; only a shift in mindset.

    Absent any change, Amazon's environment is a recipe for burnout for business contributors. The company will keep hemorrhaging quality people, having them leave not long after they've begun to master the learning curve in the organization, replacing them with new people who will follow the same cycle- preventing the company from benefitting from its mid-level personnel. More work for recruiters I'm sure. Lack of executive concern towards attrition of business contributors will have a cost- one they may find out too late. The tragedy is the situation is reversible - but indifference, owing largely to Amazon's dominant position in the marketplace, will likely prevent it.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSee above

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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