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23 people found this helpful  

Only work at Amazon, if you absolutely can't do better

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

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

Pros

Amazon is a well known, and well liked company -- they actually do care about customers -- and take customer trust and experience very seriously. Different groups and teams are reasonably decoupled, allowing a lot more independence.

If you're the sort of person that likes to work on lots of different bits of software, and constantly jump from fire to fire, it's definitely a better fit than someone who prefers quality.

Amazon also copes very well with the high-level of turn-over by making sure that exposing a lot of people to a lot of things -- to keep employees fungible.

Cons

Amazon makes no absolutely effort to attract high-quality people (in fact, they do quite the opposite with their self-claimed 'frugal' -- absolutely-under-no-circumstances-any-benefits policies).

When Amazon tells you about 'Work Hard', what they mean is that they make work hard. Like all the stuff you're expecting: a powerful developer machine, or a second monitor, are things Amazon has a policy against (Although, as they will tell you -- you're allowed to buy and bring in your own stuff like RAM, SSDs and Extra-Monitors ... lucky you!).

And what about Admin access on your developer laptop? LOL no, that would make life easy. To be approved for that, you need to be literally 4 levels up from the bottom! Root access on your Desktop? Nah, but they'll give you sudo, but you can't actually use your desktop for development -- you'll have to work through a VM. And to make sure you don't enjoy it, your development VM will be some ancient Red Hat image, with absolutely nothing newer than 5 years old (literally!). Just in case you ever want to google something, all the libraries/function/features made in the last half-decade won't work.

The internal systems at Amazon are so painful, that I suspect that a large percentage of employees after a hard-days work, come home and put needles in their arms for fun. When stuff works, its slow and largely unusable, and a dozen times worse than any freeware you'll find on the internet. The source control, build systems and all other developer tools seem like it was developed by a retarded monkey after he drank too much that night. Apparently they're now working on an "internal github, that works on more SCS than just git -- and has an awesome advanced security model". I wonder why they don't try get their page-load times under 10 seconds first.

Even things that you thought were solved 20 years ago, Amazon manages to break with their own special flavor of retardedness. Like the mailing lists. It's an accepted fact, that it's impossible to *reliably* filter a message to a folder, because the send is not from the mailing list -- there is no mailing list header, and no required subject prefix! Another great joy is, after sending a message to a mailing list, your inbox will lag for *literally* the next 5 minutes, as you get spammed by "Out of Office" replies. But no one excepts the Amazon workplace to be functional or enjoyable, so this is just the normal.

And of course, then there's the bureaucracy. At first, you'll try fight it, and try do what's best for the company. But soon you'll realize, like half the company is nothing but paper-pushers -- and you can easily waste a month just trying to get approval for some trivial thing. In the end, you'll be a lot happier here if you treat it as a job, don't try fight it, don't try enjoy it, put in your hours and leave at the end of the day (hoping your pager doesn't wake you up in the middle of the night, over some stupid issue)

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
Approves of CEO

3654 Other Employee Reviews for Amazon.com (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    Short shelf life

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Warehouse Picker in Lexington, KY
    Former Employee - Warehouse Picker in Lexington, KY

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

    Pros

    Good chance for an entry level job which pays well while it lasts.

    Cons

    Short term holiday employment. Well over 90% of the holiday temps will be let go after New Year's Day.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Things Seem To Be Getting Better, But Still Some Issues....

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate/Ambassador in Lexington-Fayette, KY
    Current Employee - Associate/Ambassador in Lexington-Fayette, KY

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Its been 18 months since my last review, and since then I feel that things have been improving. Amazon started coaching managers in how to do the associate's jobs, and that has made it easier for them to understand problems and help make solutions. Our management in the areas of outbound where I work has been great and they have been very easy to get along with. I have been employed for nearly 5 years now and it seems that in the last year and a half more emphasis has been placed on quality and safety than in years before.

    There has also been a more postive outlook among the associates in my area, which has made working here more enjoyable. (Or at least they are not complaining as much?)

    Cons

    The worst thing about this job is the constant management turnover. As soon as you get used to somebody they are gone. I understand that they want to move on up, but for some reason they have to go to another facility to do that, when that particular job opportunity is also opening up in same facility. It doesn't make any sense. They also have a bad habit of hiring outside the facility and not promoting from within as much as they should. I don't know if there is some sort of quota the facilites have to go by, but plenty of associates have applied for tier 3 jobs only to have another employee from another facility get the job.

    This last peak season we had issues with filling hiring slots. Amazon has been in our town long enough for the whole place to know what it is like to work here. I have heard from people "on the street" ask me what is going on over there, as they know people who have worked here and they do not want to go back. Every time it has been about the picking department. They all say the same thing; "we feel that we are set up to fail". Until the pick department takes care of this problem the hiring for peak may get worse and worse. The associates who work in the facility do not like to go to pick, and it has been like this for the 5 years I have been there. I have read the VOA board and their has yet to be any solutions for the problems with the department.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This would be more for the company: PLEASE take care of your area managers, Ops, Senior Ops, and everyone else in tier three. For those with family the work/life balance is horrible, especially around the fall and peak seasons. 90 hours a week at peak may be ok for an unmarried person, but for somebody who has kids and a spouse it seems very anti-family.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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