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5 people found this helpful  

Great place to work, slackers need not apply

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

I have been working at Amazon.com

Pros

I get to work with very bright, very customer focused people, who are also genuinely decent and caring individuals. I get to work on some amazing technology and I can see how it will change the world when it is in the hands of our customers. Senior management is smart, intense, focused, and driven by results. They are also very accessible via email, and will take the time to respond. There's a total lack of politics, game playing, and manipulation. The product cycle is short, so the work you do today will be in the hands of customers tomorrow. You can bring your dog to work. Having fun and helping to make Amazon a fun place to work is a core value and doing this right can even have an impact on your review.

Cons

Make no mistake, you will work hard at Amazon. This is not a place for slackers or for those who want to work 40 hours per week and then go home. The email load can be intense and the pace of the business means that you are expected to respond quickly. If you can't think, respond, act, and perform at web speed then you will get run over. Amazon's now legendary emphasis on frugality means that you will be working at a so-called door desk, and that you may be crammed into a small office with a couple of other people.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Invest more in physical facilities. Dingy offices and door desks may have been cool once upon a time, but now they are depressing and even unprofessional.

Invest in employee benefits, pump up the insurance plans, and help us to save more money for retirement.

Make sure that your employees really do feel appreciated for what they do.

But, by and large, keep doing what you are doing to keep Amazon in the lead as a technological innovator.

Recommends
Approves of CEO

3488 Other Employee Reviews for Amazon.com (View Most Recent)

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  1. 34 people found this helpful  

    Stifling Micromanagement

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

    I worked at Amazon.com

    Pros

    Philosophy of focusing on the customer and they truly mean it. Many times we made decisions that were bad for the company short-term but better for the customer. Great to be guided by what's good for the customer.

    Strong sense of innovation - they try to do things in a new way and think big and ambitiously. You will have the opportunity to build interesting products and features.

    Stability - Jeff Bezos has a very long time-horizon and runs the company for the long term. Although the stock has traditionally gone up and down, the overall investment strategy is actually conservative. This company is unlikely to have anything that's a big hit that causes the stock to shoot through the roof, but you can count on fairly steady growth and I would not be surprised if the company is never forced to go through significant downsizing again.

    Size - The company is actually quite small. Don't be fooled by employee headcount numbers, most of those people are working in distribution centers and customer support. The actual meat of the company, the people building things, is small and fits in a couple buildings in Seattle. The product management leadership is a small group and it is easy to make an impact.

    Cons

    Amazon's culture is extremely top-down and micro-management oriented. You will not be able to make any important decisions about your product without management approval. Escalation to management is very common -- when you aren't doing what people want (or your work priorities don't fit what a peer wants you to do) employees will quickly give up on working it out between themselves and escalate directly to managers. You literally - I am not exaggerating - will receive customer complaint emails forwarded by Jeff Bezos and even if the issue is small you will have to dedicate disproportional time to it because it comes from the CEO. The micromanagement is absolutely stifling: Your boss will ask you to do something and then ask you again every day if it has been done yet. Your boss will ask to see your press release and will make word-for-word comments and suggestions over and over again until you realize you have been through 10 revisions and a half hour conversation about whether to use the word "user" or "customer".

    The culture has a sense of fun to it but it masks a disrespect for the people working for management. There is a clear assumption that management knows best in every way, and so they have to watch over every detail to ensure that the dumb workers do not screw something up. This will just suck your soul - there is no presumption that you know what you are doing because you earned the job there.

    If you do a good job you will be rewarded relatively handsomely, but the pay stinks until after you have proved yourself. Because the company is so small and growing slowly, career options are limited. There is little upward mobility because there are only a handful of senior managers, and there is limited options in the projects available. Would you like to run the DVD store or the Kitchen store or the Book store, etc.

    Working with Jeff Bezos is not on balance a good experience. He is very smart and you will learn from that but he is detail oriented to a fault. This is part of the reason managers are so anal. You may go into a design review with Jeff Bezos and be thrown off track immediately because you did not label the document in the way that he wanted. Then he will read the document and circle your grammar errors and harp on that and forget to comment on the design itself. Then he will be abusive and call you an idiot.

    Within the company, the implications of this micromanagement attitude are well known - the company consistently misses goals for retention of its best performing employees and I believe that is because smart and able people do not like having no freedom to make decisions or priorities and do not like being treated like they do not know what they are doing. This brings up the final drawback, which is that people are not as smart as at the best companies. They are certainly above the median, but if you get a taste of working with people at a company like Microsoft or Google you will see the difference. Nearly anybody at Microsoft or Google could get a job at Amazon but not the other way around.

    Summary: Amazon is a great company and will continue to be financially successful under Bezos' leadership. But it is not an enjoyable place to work. Buy the stock instead.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Think about succession planning - Jeff has such iron grip on the company that it will be lost without him. Encourage some bottom-up development and decision-making: Start a new group and isolate it from the old-school management so they can't interfere. Pay people more out of the gate - after all, you interviewed them and gave them the job, so you should give them more benefit of the doubt to start.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Hard work pays off

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

    I have been working at Amazon.com

    Pros

    The place is fast paced and challenging

    Cons

    People work very hard. By very hard I mean damn hard.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    don't change a thing

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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