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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 for 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

3507 Other Employee Reviews for Amazon.com (View Most Recent)

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    SDE At Amazon

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

    I have been working at Amazon.com full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    It was very laid back and the work was challenging and interesting. Sometimes you had to spend the few extra hours on work, but where do you not? Has a great culture with lots of opportunities for team outings. I was thoroughly surprised at the amount of room there is to grow in aspects of software and hardware development. You own you're projects and are held at a high standard.

    Cons

    Personally there wasn't anything i disagreed with in terms of company values and leadership. Also there was plenty of opportunities for personal growth!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Operations Leadership Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Operations Leadership  in  Indianapolis, IN
    Former Employee - Operations Leadership in Indianapolis, IN

    I worked at Amazon.com as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    -fantastic, growing company with unbelievable leadership development. You're thrown straight into the fray and have to sink or swim. If you can make it, you'll make a fortune in a very short amount of time. Love and die by the leadership principles

    Future employers love seeing Amazon on a resume. Got interest from many companies after internship who previously wrote me off.

    Cons

    Very physically demanding. No sitting and it can be very difficult to motivate those around you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stay in touch and empathetic with associates at all times. They rely on you.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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