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Amazon Reviews

Updated December 13, 2017
12,375 reviews

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3.9
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Amazon Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
7,146 Ratings

12,375 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Area Managers learn a lot in their first two years but it is fast paced (in 432 reviews)

  • It really depends on the individual employees to maintain the work-life balance (in 358 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance is not easy to maintain (in 2007 reviews)

  • There is nearly no work life balance (in 424 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1581)

    "You Get What You Put In"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon full-time

    Pros

    Really smart people, a lot of opportunity for growth, always encouraged to be innovative, think big, and create something new. Competitive salary and benefits with other major tech companies. 100% self motivating work environment. No dress code and 4 legged friends are welcome.

    Cons

    You have to be self motivated. NO ONE will hold your hand and tell you that you're doing a great job. If you need constant affirmations from management, this company isn't for you.

    Advice to Management

    More on-boarding training before new employees are thrown in the fire. The first couple of weeks can be very confusing on where to find the information you need that pertains to your job.


  2. Helpful (1088)

    "Can be amazing for some people, horrible for others"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Amazon is doing lot's of cool stuff...but lots of boring stuff too. There are really well run teams...and very badly run teams. The experience for software managers and engineers is all over the board, from really run low operational load teams to teams where people burn out after a year.

     - Amazon is built, quite deliberately, to be Darwinian. You can generally expect that anyone who's been here for more than 2 years is competent and motivated or they wouldn't have survived. You can count on them as long as your priorities are aligned. There aren't many slackers here, and they don't survive long.
      - We work on so much stuff that there's always an opportunity to find amazing cool stuff to work on (note that it's an 'opportunity', one that you have to pursue)
      - A chance to make a huge difference
      - A place where you can learn a lot about all kinds of things, both technical and about yourself
      - Amazon encourages high mobility - even your manager can't prevent you from moving to another team within 6 weeks (normally, more than a few months under unusual conditions).
      - Your friends and family have actually heard of the place you work and have at least a vague notion of what Amazon does without you having to explain

    Cons

    - You're responsible for your own career progression and finding the places and teams that are doing the stuff you want to do. No one is going to take you by the hand and help you with that.
    - Amazon is built, quite deliberately, to be Darwinian. The strong survive and the weak perish (metaphorically speaking) and the 'bar' is constantly increasing. The level of performance that would have been acceptable five years ago will get you canned today. It's a kind of crucible that'll help you develop a harder edge, if you can survive, that can serve you well in your career and in life, but it's often not a pleasant experience.

    I wouldn't recommend it as a place to work for just anyone.

    Advice to Management

    Stack ranking is a horrible practice since it's rife with favoritism. It's also not Amazonian in that it's not data based (arbitrarily designating a certain percentage of employees that must be put on performance management isn't a data driven criterion) and it's not frugal (effectively forcing an individual out of the company in one division who would make the grade in another is either retaining someone who doesn't meet the bar or a waste of talent). The goal is to force managers to actually make the hard decisions about how their team members compare with each other (not everyone can be exceptional), but it has more defects than virtues. Replace it with a common comparison of each person against the bar for their position, based on data. The percentages that are assigned to each performance category will turn out how they turn out, but there will be an evaluation mechanism that's fair and frugal.

  3. Helpful (930)

    "Exciting Work, Abusive Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Engineering Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Engineering Manager in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Jeff Bezos and his "S-Team" are brilliant and continue to make great decisions for long-term growth.

    You work with smart people, you work on exciting projects, you are pushed to your limits...which can be rewarding when you accomplish great things. The diversity of the potential work and innovation can be very alluring. I've often called Amazon my "Sexy Mistress...she's emotionally abusive, but she's so sexy that I go back for more punishment."

    Cons

    The management process is abusive, and I'm currently a manager. I've seen too much "behind the wall" and hate how our individual performers can be treated. You are forced to ride people and stack rank employees...I've been forced to give good employees bad overall ratings because of politics and stack ranking.

    Advice to Management

    Don't pretend that the recent NY Times article was all about "isolated incidents". The culture IS abusive and it WILL backfire once stock value starts to drop. I'm an 8 year veteran and I no longer recommend former peers to interview with Amazon.


  4. Helpful (131)

    "Great place to learn, churn n burn culture in finance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Finance Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Finance Manager in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - super smart people, the best of the best from schools
    - if you get hired here, you will be hirable anywhere, recruiting process is tough
    - the pay is above average, probably 1.5 times elsewhere (but the expected results are 150% of elsewhere too)
    - lots of opportunities to work on new, innovative projects
    - cool SLU campus, lots of options for food and drinks after work

    Cons

    - frugality is taken to the extreme, only 2 weeks vacation, parking takes a year or more to get, zero perks (not even free Prime), no fitness allowance, poor 401k
    - your peers will stab you in the back, your manager will blame you for their errors, you can't trust anyone
    - people who throw others under the bus and take credit for other people's work get promoted
    - expectations 60 -70 hours a week, some teams expect Sunday to be an "in the office day", headcount never gets filled, teams are always short a few people but the work keeps piling on.

    Advice to Management

    The culture and reputation of amazon will never change unless you want it to and set the tone from the top. Try using some customer obsession with employees- as management, employees are YOUR customers. Making great products or margins is fine, but if you have a reputation/brand for treating people awful, then are you really a success? Also, there is visible lack of women or minorities in any leadership role compared to pretty much every other large company in Seattle. Seems like you have to try really hard in a city as diverse as this to be so undiverse.


  5. Helpful (469)

    "A huge diverse high tech company with all sorts of stuff"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Amazon full-time

    Pros

    Disclaimer: My opinions reflect that of an SDE in Amazon. Seems like some operational job functions are very tough.

    I have read through some of the other Amazon reviews and it seems to me that everyone has a very different experience! This is so true. Within the same team, you can have both workaholics and slackers coexisting and coworking together. I think I am more of the balanced type as I try to stay sane. The Amazon experience is basically the entire spectrum and it is what you make it out to be.

    Pros in Amazon certainly excludes great benefits, but compensation is competitive. Free food means average quality free coffee, once in a while free pizza for lunch where it is a working lunch, and free beer and finger food in special events. We get a free Orca card to take any bus in the Seattle area for free. $160 per month subsidy for office parking, which is better than nothing. Downtown monthly parking goes for about $200 per month. 401K contribution is 50% of what you put in, where you can put in max 4% of your salary. Not so great. Staff cafeteria food is average and not at all cheaper than outside food, or could be even more expensive. It is hard not to complain about the cafeteria. Vacation days are ok but note that there are no sick leaves. They count as part of your 5 personal days per year. Listing the benefits of Amazon is like listing the cons and not the pros.

    Work life balance seems to be ok for the most part, and seems to be individually-driven. No one will tell you that you have to come in at what time and stay till what time. I have team mates working every night and weekend, and others getting in at 10am and leaving at 5pm, all in the same team. Managers will focus on your project deliveries instead of how much time you spend working. If you work 40-hour weeks productively, you can definitely outperform someone who works 60-hour weeks but don't deliver stuff. Working less than 40 hours per week is somewhat common, but I can't say how many people are working how long. The view on work life balance is a bit skewed. All it comes down to are the managers and what they think. Projects are always never-ending but I have found that deadlines are very realistic and reasonable, without counting your nights and weekends. Getting some slack time once in a while is probably a sign of a healthy work environment. Everyone needs a break.

    On-call really really sucks. Basically all it comes down to is having SDEs double-duty as support operations engineers. Note that on-call does not improve the code quality of any team in any way. The on-call experience is particularly bad because you are using services from some other team, and their code is of low quality and fails for the wrong reasons. If the managers had given more time to up the quality, there would not be so many problems. Software is usually delivered with a tough deadline with code that meets the minimum quality bar and never gets improved for the next few years. The code review process does not seem to help improve the code but it really obstructs developers from making great changes as unconventional things will not pass code review in clumsy minds. Innovation and excellence are not the name of the game in Amazon. Searching through the Amazon code base is usually not going to turn up quality code that you can actually reuse.

    Integration is the name of the game in Amazon. You will need to spend a lot of time to figure out how to integrate your code with another team's services. Whether these other people are cooperative is a hit-or-miss. I have found that most people are responsive and helpful, but there are also quite a number of jerks who are out to make trouble for everybody. It is not easy to work across teams but the experience is mostly positive.

    Amazon is a huge behemoth and is hiring people like there is no tomorrow. This reflects well on a good growth momentum but also is worrying that the company is not turning much profit. If the company does not make money, where is our bonus going to come from? You can see new faces around the Amazon building almost everyday! Downside is that we are taking in a lot of average to above-average engineers and being an Amazonian SDE certainly does not share the same reputation as the top names. Amazon is a huge mixed bag of some very talented people and some very dumb people. I think the world is not turning up enough SDEs and the only way is for quality to go downhill.

    As an SDE, expect to spend most of your time talking, writing emails and documents, and maybe around 20-30% of your time coding. In most of the teams, you can work on interesting projects, but probably not revolutionary ones. Note that Amazon is a very down-to-earth company and the work is very down-to-earth as well. You will work on real things that people have actually requested for, and that people will start using as soon as you are done. Work is challenging but not to expect highly technically complex stuff. Most of the work has to do with solving everyday problems. To me, this seems to make sense because I have ever tried working on experimental projects before elsewhere and I did not feel it was a good use of my time.

    Internal mobility is a key strength of Amazon, and I am not sure which company has done better than Amazon in this aspect. Internal moves are easy. You only need to stay in your team for a year before moving to a different team. There is no easy way to tell which team is a good team to move to because they all have their different pros and cons and people and coming and leaving all the time!

    Seattle is by much rumour an easier place to live than the Bay area.

    Overall Amazon is a tough but yet sane place to work. The flexibility of this company is really its core strength. You have the freedom to excel as much as you want and also to slack as much as you want. Bummer. You shouldn't be slacking!

    Cons

    Beware of bad managers and horrible team mates. They are not specific to Amazon but they do exist in Amazon.

    I have to admit that Monday is usually a blue day at Amazon and it is very tough to look forward to getting into office. I don't know anyone in Amazon who looks forward to getting in on Mondays.

    Be realistic about SDE requirements. Coding skills are good to have but they are not the most important part of your job. I think we are hearing the same thing from every company.

    Medical coverage is average or below average. Expect to pay about $60 per month for singles and about $240 per month for families. $240 per month for families gives you $3000 in medical fees before you have to pay (more) anything out-of-pocket.

    SDE advancement is unreal difficult. They have about 6 levels total, SDE 1-4, then Senior Principal Engineer, and finally Distinguished Engineer. The number of SDE 1s and 2s are huge. Trying to get to SDE 3 seems to be all-of-a-sudden extremely difficult, but not impossible. So this essentially means that if you come to Amazon as a fresh grad SDE, expect to get about only one or two promotions in your entire career, which obviously is quite a lame expectation and reality. You will probably do much better in your career advancement anywhere else.

    Employee retention is horrible. I am not sure why the philosophy seems to be trying to undercut existing employees and then hire from external sources. Management all say that they are trying to retain people, but actions don't seem to suggest anything better. Rumour has it that annual pay raises are horrible. This basically mean that either you are a superstar in the company before they will try to retain you, or if you are smart you should not stay in Amazon for too long.

    Advice to Management

    The thing about thinking long-term is getting more and more worrying as the company has not turned a tidy profit and is trying to conquer the world with its lofty expansion strategies. I don't know what kind of secret recipe management is cooking but seeing the company not making much money never feels comfortable.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Some hate it, most love it"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Fulfillment Associate in Shakopee, MN
    Current Employee - Fulfillment Associate in Shakopee, MN
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Benefits, fast-paced, promote from within, perks during busy times of year, incentives to excel.

    Cons

    Long hours, repetitive work, little to no training.

    Advice to Management

    Move people around in each department every period to offset the mundane, train new employees instead of letting them sink or swim, acknowledge employees that go above and beyond more often.


  7. "Challenging problems to solve, and a rewarding experience."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Technical Product Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Technical Product Manager in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Innovation and ownership is highly valued. Amazon is solving some challenging problems, so there’s a great opportunity to learn in almost any team.

    Cons

    Sometimes the work life balance might suffer, especially around deliverable deadlines, product launches, etc. Other than that, I think it’s fun working for Amazon.

    Advice to Management

    Keep on doing the great work. As an improvement, I’d like to see more emphasis being put on work life balance.

  8. "Good people to work with"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - FC Associate in Haslet, TX
    Current Employee - FC Associate in Haslet, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Friendly environment with good schedule

    Cons

    I don't have any yet.


  9. "Marketing Program Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Amazon full-time

    Pros

    I like the level of end-to-end Ownership

    Cons

    Culture experience varies widely by org


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Great place for young go-getters."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Product Manager in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Product Manager in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    If you get a rush out of accomplishing things and having an impact, and have a naturally proactive and dominant personality, this is the company for you.

    Cons

    People who are less prone to take initiative, who require more guidance and direction on day to day stuff, or in general if you appreciate having hands on help where someone will "teach you the ropes", you will really struggle at Amazon. It's a jungle, and you eat what you kill.

    Advice to Management

    The promotion process at your company is not what you envision it to be - the number one blocker for a high performer to get promoted is the aptitude of their manager in wiriting docs and pushing the process forward. You need to find ways to fix this, you're losing a measurable, sizable chunk of people to competitor companies because your process still doesn't factor that piece out effectively enough. Start asking some survey questions about this, get to the bottom of the data, and act.


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