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7 people found this helpful  

Good place to work for awhile - but come with strong will and tenacity

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

I worked at Amazon.com

Pros

Amazon is cutting edge, innovative, well recognized, and a market leader. They have shown the world they not only can survive amongst a very competitive landscape, but thrive in a down market. That is due to world class operations, relentless focus on margin improvement, and a very frugal internal attitude. As others have mentioned, due to the speed and lean environment, it's somewhat in a disarray internally which leaves mountains of opportunity for self-starters to make immediate impacts to the bottom lines. Opportunities to move within the company are good and encouraged which expose you to the full scope of the business thus deepening your understanding of how all the pieces fit together, what works, and what does not.

Cons

The chaotic lean environment. On the pro side it leaves loads of room for opportunity to make a difference, which is possible. Just when you think you've made a difference by performing 15 different tasks to accomplish a goal (10 of which were not really yours to do, but you did them because there was no one else to pick it up), everything shifts in frequent re-orgs. Resources are lost, roadmaps change dramatically, documentation is poor to non-existent, which causes lost momentum that sucks the life out of you.

The lack of processes and routines. This is not true for 100% of the company, but is for many areas that one would think a company of 10+ years would have nailed. The constant reorganization of teams and leaders breaks any continuity that was established prior to the reorg. I was dumbfounded when I learned that a certain team in the company had absolutely no idea of the steps it took to issue a payment to a supplier. I think they thought it was all black magic. Project processes were another area that some key development teams made up as they went and changed quarterly. This created loads of knee-jerk reactions for many teams impacted across the company and challenged goodwill with internal relationships.

HR could care less about employees. Loads of lip service from the HR teams to make you think they care. Like many other groups in the company, their individual teams don't seem to talk to one another, or know each other for that matter. It is as if each team has blinders on and they only know and perform only their function in strict confines. There is lots of "that's not my job" attitudes. As an example, I witnessed on more than one occasion where great performers took international assignments only to return to leave the company because the company did nothing to help reintegrate the employees. What I heard is that HR managers and recruiters did nothing to assist these employees returning from their assignments, each one saying it was not their job. It was left to the employee to figure it out themselves. So after the company spends tens of thousands of dollars to move staff around the world yet the company expects nothing in return? How dumb is that?

Below market pay. Amazon is known for paying below market in terms of base salary yet expects people to work at least 50 hours per week. Many teams due to them being lean require 60+ hours a week. HR sells the entire compensation package with stock which can be great in a up market and if you live in the US. The odd thing is the mixed message they send with it: the stock makes you an owner of the company but because they call it comp, they expect you to sell each time you vest. I would rather have a larger base pay.

Amazon is no different than other companies in that it has it's own dysfunctions. If you have an iron will and a high tolerance for stress, you will do well there. Use the company as much as it uses you and it will be a happy relationship.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

It's not "Day 1" no matter how many times you say it. Those days are long gone.

Get a succession team in place for Jeff. Having a single person steering the company based on his whims of what gets resourced and what does not creates too much churn throughout the company. It seems that some in senior leadership roles act as if Amazon is still in start-up mode and wants to do lots of different thing marginally rather than focus on doing fewer things top-notch.

Treat your staff better It costs more to recruit/train new employees than it does to retain good people and that would help the free cash flow. Get someone to run a world-class HR org.

No opinion of CEO

Other Reviews for Amazon.com

  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Fun, interesting challenges. Not for everybody, though.

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

    I have been working at Amazon.com

    Pros

    Amazon has a variety of interesting business and technical challenges which continually provide an opportunity for fun work and fun problems. I started at Amazon after college and I feel that I'm a better software engineer now that I would have been had I been employed elsewhere.

    I also feel that Amazon does a good job of allowing ideas and solutions to bubble up from the bottom. In my experience at the company, I feel that I've been given a great degree of freedom to develop software that I want to develop when I can demonstrate that my solution is superior to existing ideas.

    Cons

    Amazon has a horrible "not-invented-here" syndrome. Amazon has a self-prescribed culture which believes fundamentally that it has problems which are unique to the size and scale of Amazon's operations. While this is true for a number of systems throughout Amazon; the culture permeates to systems which should be more than capable of leveraging existing software and solutions.

    Amazon also has an excruciatingly high hiring bar (which is a good thing). The result of this, however, is that some engineers who were used to being the rock-star amongst their peers can feel overwhelmed by the aggregate level of talent and ability of other engineers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    keep up the good work

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Great company.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Buyer  in  Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Buyer in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Amazon.com

    Pros

    Compensation is fair, work is interesting, and opportunities are vast.

    Cons

    Work life balance can be difficult to master.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I have much respect for our leadership team.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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