Amazon.com

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Amazon.com Reviews

Updated December 17, 2014
Updated December 17, 2014
3,947 Reviews
3.4
3,947 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Amazon.com Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
2,673 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • You can definitely learn a lot in short spam in Amazon as they make you work a lot (in 118 reviews)

  • Density of talent: Some really smart people spoiling their careers here (in 352 reviews)


Cons
  • Company is not at all sorry to screw people's work-life balance for itself to excel (in 636 reviews)

  • There is literally no work life balance inside this company (in 145 reviews)

More Highlights

972 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 347 people found this helpful  

    Make sure you know exactly what you're getting into

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Marketing in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Marketing in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Amazon.com full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The name will precede you. This company can legitimately be called a "Disruptor" and perhaps even a world-changer. Customers love it and it's amazing to watch it all unfold at times. It's a pleasure to be even a small part of that.

    Even low-level employees are given some ownership, more than they might in some other places. Processes like the customer service andon cord demonstrate this.

    Pay is mostly good, with some caveats (see the Cons section).

    You will learn a ton. You'll be put through the ringer, but will emerge stronger for it. It's been said that a year at Amazon = two years elsewhere. That's definitely true. You'll learn business, supply chain, tech, retail, you name it. You're surrounded by smart people who challenge you to grow constantly. That was one of my favorite parts about working here.

    You can bring your dog to the office, dress code is casual, and South Lake Union is a fun neighborhood to work in. Seattle is stunningly beautiful in the summer, too (if you have time to enjoy it, that is.)

    Bezos is one of the few CEOs I've seen who earns the glowing reputation. He's a genius and a visionary. It's exciting to work in his company, though the thought of what will happen when he moves on is also a bit frightening.

    Cons

    "Work-life balance" means different things to different people, so I'm not going to say it's bad here per se. That said, long hours are the norm at all levels across the company, and usually that's required and expected just to keep up. Expect 60 hours as your baseline year round and 70 or more during Q4. You should expect that your time and mental energy for kids, hobbies, etc. will be extremely limited. Plan accordingly. Whether this is a negative will depend largely on the individual; just ensure you know where you stand on this before you sign an offer letter.

    That Amazon is a massive company with tons of smart people at all levels can actually be a huge negative. You might be a solid individual contributor, but so is absolutely everyone else - and you're all fighting for the same attention. It can be very hard to stand out, and you have to ensure your manager and your manager's manager know what value you bring at all times or you're toast. (You may still be toast regardless.) That means politics, backstabbing, and stack ranking do occur, despite some claims to the contrary. People definitely look out for themselves and themselves alone here; it's not a collaborative environment. It's also very easy to get the sense that you are a highly expendable cog even if your contributions bring significant value to the company. Plan to fight for yourself hard here, and be prepared to not get much acknowledgment or praise. Even if you do prove yourself well, know that advancement opportunities are limited. Most transfers in my observation were lateral, with big new hires being external. I've heard that the strategy of many people is to do a few intense years of lateral moves which can then be leveraged into a higher position at another company.

    Compensation is a mixed bag. Salaries are just average, but you get a huge signing bonus and stock which vests in strange increments over four years. Since the average employee lasts less than two years, you will not see most of that stock and you may need to repay some of that signing bonus (usually awarded over two years) if you leave or are pushed out. Raises are very, very small each year - your salary will not substantially increase even with a good review. Most people work startup hours, so their effective pay rate is pretty low. Additionally, the company espouses frugality as a core value. While this can be a positive, it also means they're downright cheap on some things, including hardware. Employee perks are pretty much nonexistent, and that's compared to most big companies and not just the Googles of the world. Benefits like health insurance and 401k match are mediocre at best. No free Prime accounts. No paid parental leave; moms get disability and dads get zip. (As in zero. None.) I did mention earlier that this isn't the most kid-friendly company to work for.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's great to work at a place that highly values customer experience, so please keep that up. Work on your compensation - it's not competitive when compared to other tech giants. If I'm going to work as hard or as much as I did, at least I'd get free haircuts and food and massages at Google. Hell, even some paid paternity leave would be a start.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 7 people found this helpful  

    High salary and low everything else

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Amazon.com full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Amazon pays well. You will also learn how to be assertive (aggressive) about your opinions, how to work type-A politics, and how to debug difficult code.

    Cons

    Amazon has some insane turnover. A little more than 1 year after I left, most of the people I knew there on LinkedIn have switched companies. It's not because those companies are great, or pay well - it's just because when you've been at Amazon for a year or two, your attitude tends to be "I don't see how it could get worse than this."

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your employees like human beings and they might stick around a bit

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  3. 5 people found this helpful  

    Sr. Human Resource Assistant

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Human Resource Assistant
    Former Employee - Senior Human Resource Assistant

    I worked at Amazon.com full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    I would recommend, but with strong hesitancy:

    -Straight out of college I made $50k with no experience in Human Resources. Heck, my degree was in liberal arts. Very few of my peers could say the same.

    -If you want to see different places, Amazon has a lot of different locations around the US and transfers are pretty commonplace.

    -You will meet enthusiastic, intelligent people who you will learn to love like family.

    -You will grow an incredible amount professionally, I do appreciate what Amazon did for me professionally. I went from a Sr. Human Resource Assistant position at Amazon to a Human Resources Manager position at another company after my stay with Amazon.

    Cons

    -Zero work/life balance. Do you have children? Are you married? If you answered yes, look somewhere else. You will virtually never see your children and/or your spouse. I know mothers and father who were constantly torn between family and career, don't do that to yourself, no paycheck is worth it.

    -High turnover in HR and in other departments is a definite discouragement.

    -They say you can take personal time at "any time" but for Human Resources, that is a joke. Unless you are sick/doc appt/car trouble, you will be guilted into coming in every day except for the precious 7-10 days you take off for vacation. I used my personal time for coming in 10 min late every day for several weeks because I knew I was never going to take off a whole day and I was reprimanded.

    -You will be expected to do in 40 hrs a week what should really take 50-55 hrs a week. I was hourly but I regularly took my computer home to work on work without pay.

    -They do tell you upfront that you will work the holidays, I was told that in my first interview. But, you have to work the holidays. You will learn to semi-dread the holidays.

    -I received little to no training coming into my role. I've heard they're finally setting something up, but Amazon is like nowhere you've ever worked before, and a 2-3 week training is quite simply, never going to be enough.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Running lean will only get you so far until you've exhausted your employees. Human Resources doesn't have the resources (ha!) to do their job adequately, mostly in the realm of sufficient manpower. \

    -Personal growth: Really really difficult to change out of your position or get into another track unless you hound upper management that an Amazon coworker of a coworker who's boss occasionally pings someone in upper management. Make it more streamlined and offer more variety, especially to those in fulfillment centers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Working at Amazon is definitely hard but I found myself learn a lot in terms of data driven mindset.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Financial Analyst in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Financial Analyst in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Amazon.com

    Pros

    Amazon has good training systems. The office environment is lay back. Everyone is very friendly and energetic. People are expected to perform at a very high level.

    Cons

    Sometimes the working hours can be very long, like 50-60 hours a week. Sometimes I felt that there are too many activities going on in the office that made me hard to concentrate at work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Encourage discussions in the office.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    When It's Good It's Good, When It's Bad...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Data Tech
    Current Employee - Data Tech

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The company offers fairly competitive compensation packages, lots of perks, a great environment in which you can learn and grow. Amazon's one of the few companies where a determined employee can really put in the effort, rise up and make a difference IF you're willing to go the distance.

    Amazon's pretty lenient on sick days or unexpected events, and works with you. Never had an issue calling out or needing to leave early (for the most part). You can learn a lot, move within the company and they have fairly good benefits package (don't expect an employee discount though, it's pretty much non-existent).

    Cons

    Amazon has incredibly poor work-life balance. You're expected to work stupid amounts of mandatory overtime (yes, mandatory). Complain, you're told "You signed a legal agreement stating you'd be available." to remind you that, legally, you said you would when you were hired 40 hour work week can easily stretch 60+ hours. Being told that comes off oddly threatening.

    Internal documentation is next to non-existent. You can find half a dozen different ways to do the same thing on the internal wiki and all of them contradict each other or are woefully out of date. Ask management for clarification, they tell you to look at the internal documents (see above) or to "do the needful" in order to make it work. You never really quite know if you're violating a policy on something because everything you're told is nebulous. When you bring up the documentation is vague or contradicts itself you're told "we grew too fast". Oh. The rest of it is "tribal knowledge". Hope you've got a coworker that knows what's going on.

    Employee reviews are stack-ranked. A certain percentage of employees MUST be put on a PIP (performance improvement plan) even if they have NO issues with this performance. This is severely degrading to employees, and outright kills morale (both for people put on a PIP and those who they're friends with). Having a mandatory policy that X% of employees must be punished come review time kills Amazon's talent pool people. It causes unnecessary disruption, and can affect employees who've had to endure rough periods in their life and come back from them only to find out they're now punished with a PIP and are told their employment status with Amazon is now at risk.

    Amazon preaches "frugality" but doesn't follow it. You can literally destroy thousands of dollars of good equipment in order to do your job and nobody bats an eye (it's the "cost of doing business"), but you need to expense something and out come the magnifying glasses.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Documentation. Consistency. Don't just tell employees "You HAVE to do this because you signed a legal agreement." when it comes to overtime. Work with them. Talk to them. We get sometimes we have to rise above as it's part of the job, but when a company with as much Amazon tell us it doesn't have funding, that we're short-staffed but forces us into overtime it kills the vibe and burns employees out. Paychecks are good, but happy employees are better.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Dog eat dog.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Pack/Stow in Tracy, CA
    Former Employee - Pack/Stow in Tracy, CA

    I worked at Amazon.com full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    - Decent pay, good benefits,
    - Easy to move up into management
    - First come first serve hiring process
    - They'll pay for schooling
    - 401k
    - stocks

    Cons

    - Everyone's trying to get into the management positions causing intense competition
    - You are constantly being pushed, once you feel like you're going the accepted rate they push the rate up on you
    - Alot of management is straight out of college

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Chaotic

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Smart people and good salary for the first two years of employment.

    Cons

    Frugal - very little perks. Very big company with lots of moving parts. Lots of dependencies create a slow moving behemoth.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop churning engineers. The average employment is around 2 years (right when the initial 2 year sign on bonus goes away and the rest of your compensation is based on stock). I don't want to wait until my next set of options vest.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Depends on the team

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Amazon.com

    Pros

    There are plenty of bright and customer-focused people at Amazon that are generally willing to help people new in their career to learn and evolve. There's also a lot of infrastructure in place to enforce good development practices, e.g. stringent code coverage standards.

    Cons

    Operations is definitely an important aspect of the software development cycle, but a lot of development teams here have to sacrifice development and innovation almost entirely for fulfilling one-off business requests and "keep the lights on" work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Look before you leap

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Ability to drive a big idea to fruition and be part of one of the most innovative, fast-paced companies on earth. Amazon is best suited for highly motivated and unencumbered folks who want to pour everything they have into their work and career. You are your own biggest obstacle in how much you can accomplish. The culture is very entrepreneurial and scrappy, so if you thrive on that sort of environment, you may fit in well. Brush up on your writing skills and ditch PowerPoint as a communication tool; it's not used here. Instead, you will hone the craft of pointed business narrative writing, which is a great skill to acquire in any career path.

    Cons

    Don't plan on a much of a personal life, work/life balance, or relaxing holidays. Amazon is intense and not for everyone. There a very high attrition rate, mostly due to burnout. As a young recent college grad looking to make a notable dent in your career with a Tier 1 brand, it's a great place to work. For those who have years of experience and no kids, I'd say it's still a great place to carve out a cool career, maybe. But for those who value being present in your family life - for your spouse and kids - I'd not recommend Amazon. The pressure and pace equates to lots of stress, which isn't good for your health or that of your family.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I have not seem much community outreach or much encouragement to volunteer. Seems odd. Are we that busy that we can't take time to give back? Also, there's a ton of focus on Work Hard and Make History, but very little on Have Fun. High attrition is not good for the company when you look at the cost of recruiting top talent. The culture seems sterile and cold. Maybe it's a by-product of being so busy 24/7 trying to keep up. In any case, it's off-putting to new employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    It was a fantastic learning experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Development Manager in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Software Development Manager in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Amazon.com full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    A lot of project, code and product diversity.

    Cons

    Pager! Little to no pre-release testing.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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