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Amazon Reviews

Updated July 27, 2017
14,600 reviews

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Amazon Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
7,511 Ratings

14,600 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (30)

    "Amazon.com - beware!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Director in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    A respected name in e-commerce and one of the most powerful forces in retail. Innovative ideas that enhance the shopping experience (and Amazon's revenue potential) are abundant. Seattle is lovely and the cafeteria burrito bar is one of the best!

    Cons

    Unbelievably long hours, no recognition, poor management, micro-management from the very top, no appreciation of staff ('just can them and get someone else'), incredible arrogance towards employees and business partners, etc.

    Advice to Management

    Stop and listen to the employees - they sometimes know what they are talking about. Set realistic goals and if they are achieved, at least congratulate the employees for their hard work. Get a reasonable bonus system - $500 annual bonus to a high-performing employee is simply embarrassing.


  2. Helpful (25)

    "Make sure to look behind the curtain. This place ain't Oz."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Director in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Some great people work for the company.

    Cons

    Sweatshop. Very poor employee morale. Most employees I know are very dissatisfied with their compensation, the poor raises (range = 0-3%, 5% is practically unheard of), high healthcare costs, and lack of career development opportunities (i.e. promotions are rare and there's no clear path to getting promoted ... most promotions require lots of political maneuvering). And the continuous change of focus, priorities and resources whenever the CEO comes up with a new idea (aka a "Jeff project" that will make your project no longer a priority) proves disheartening to everybody at some point in their Amazon career. This culture all comes directly from the CEO and nothing will change until he changes.

    Advice to Management

    Stand up to Jeff once in awhile. It's a one man show.

  3. Helpful (35)

    "The only place where senior managers who cause 100% attrition five times over can still get $2 million bonuses."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The starting salary is extremely competitive. The hiring pipeline is also extremely efficient, empowering Amazon.com to court and successfully hire some of the smartest professionals out there. Unfortunately, those are the only positive thing I can say about the workplace itself.

    Outside of work, when you aren't getting paged up the wazoo by legacy applications no one in the company has any idea about, life is awesome. Seattle is a beautiful city with plenty of culture and no lack of things to do. A nice side effect of working at a place with insanely high turnover and high starting salary is that you end up with tons of young professionals, all new to the same environment and in the same stage of their lives ~ if you're one of them, there are plenty of people to meet and hang out with.

    Cons

    Amazon does not value its employees and this severely affects every aspect of worklife. Employees are treated as replaceable, renewable resources, not as members of a working team to grow with the company. The focus is on new hiring with the expectation that any semi-intelligent employee will leave within the first two years.

    New hire salary is incremented at well over 2x the rate that top members of a team are given raises. New folks regularly make 5-10K more than their tech leads who are the highest contributors on the team, breeding poor sentiment. Promotions are easily promised during crunch times requiring 100-hr work weeks and just as easily forgotten when promotion or bonus time actually does come around. Additional responsibility, both in person and in project management, are regularly compounded upon top contributors without promoting individuals to the authority such a position requires, making it difficult to get things done in a culture where cross-team cooperation is like pulling teeth.

    In terms of quality of work, there is no value given to developer time and no emphasis on the importance of infrastructure. Build tools are down daily and ownership is a lost concept. Scapegoating is a regular occurrence when site-wide post-mortems require heads to roll. Few things are properly documented, rarely anything is QA'ed, and as all original product engineers tend to leave within two years, nearly everything is a legacy application. The product-development lifecycle emphasizes pushing new features/products out quickly, leaving little or no time for QA cycles. The same engineers who coded the features under crunch are sometimes asked to do QA sign-off. Yet when they come back to management with lists of blocking/non-blocking bugs, they are asked to hide the lists and just to provide the sign-off. The result ends up being shoddy services held up by a company of already-overworked engineers serving constant on-call rotations who know they will be paged, but even knowing this are rarely able to figure out how to even begin debugging the systems.

    When I joined, every single person on the previous generation of my team had left. I later discovered that this was a regular occurrence which had already happened for the third time. All the great projects and career opportunities I had been sold on before joining were back-burner items reserved for interns and other people they had yet to sell a permanent position to. Regular employees were delegated to continuous on-call rotations for applications no one knew anything about and left to debugging bugs hardcoded years before. The overwork, stress, and lack of self-fulfillment created quite the back-stabbing team. In my first week as a new hire, I was angrily told by my mentor "Every time I sit down to get something done, you ask me a question." Later the same day, I was told by my manager "So I've talked to the team and they say you never talk to them or make use of their expertise ~ you simply putter in a stuck corner when you could just ask."

    As my time there progressed, I regularly discussed the lack of opportunities and the disparity between my expected and actual roles with my manager, who always promised clear action items to address my concerns ~ none of which ever happened. When I found a new team where I thought I could make a greater impact, my manager blocked my transfer, going all the way through HR to accuse of poaching. When I tried to leave the company, my manager tried to delay my resignation. Good stuff.

    Advice to Management

    I know that you've noticed when your individual teams have experienced 100% attrition five times over ~ what in blazes have you been doing about it?


  4. Helpful (56)

    "It has made me hate the world, and human race as a whole. 2 years later, I'm still trying to undo the damage."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The initial offer was the best I seen in the industry.

    Cons

    I joined my team last, but somehow became the most productive person in the team of 7 after 1.5 years. Probably due to the fact that I was young and naive, and believed that more good work I produce, faster I would would get promoted and receive raises. Not quite.

    I was working 140 hour weeks, having almost zero social life. They gave me a 1.5% raise after 1 year, citing that promotions and raises are not normally dished out to people who has been their for more than 1.5 years. The max raise was 3% annually, which was only 6 months after my last review period (which was discarded because I was too "young" in the company). So despite the highest performance rating on the scale, I received a prorated 1.5% raise.

    I was the engineer primarily responsible for launching a new store in the company. 5 days of almost zero sleep in the war room. Before the launch, my manager promised extra vacation for me to unwind, big raises and promotions. After launch, I barely saw the guy anymore. I quit soon afterwards. Then I found out the guy was trying hard to climb into the director seat. Which he did.

    While I received no pad on the back, no raise, no promotion, no extra vacations, the VPs all recieved a 2 million cash bonus, and directors 1 million. The only recognition I received was a $1.50 coffee purchased by my VP after 3rd night straight in the war room.

    When I played a small part in accidentally revealed project on the main site, which received wide press coverage. (Many other played a bigger part). I was the only one to own up to my mistake. Therefore, I was single handly scapegoated for the incident. I was not allowed to defend myself in front of the post-modem committee, because management deemed 3 hours out of my time would jeopardize the project. So they wrote something in my place admitting guilt.

    When I was leaving, I was appointment manager of two new hires. Even though I was still SWE1 (they never talked to me when the HR promotion cycle came and went). Both new hires were paid 10k more than me a year, plus 5k more cash bonus. That's when I just left.

    If you are a masochist, or curious about what complete hatred for the human race feels like, go work for Amazon.com. For that, they won't disappoint.

    Advice to Management

    Stop trying to build your career by stabbing your employees in the back. Bazos, stop micromanaging, you are not the smartest person in the company.


  5. Helpful (13)

    "Great place for interns to start their careers."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer II in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The people here are good, and the company has accomplished some great things. The interview process is grueling but effective; there aren't very many people here lacking in intelligence.

    The management has realized the value of a balanced life; we aren't asked to work extended hours. At least in my group, they're doing their best to keep the unpleasantness of being on call to a minimum.

    The mentoring program seems to be pretty good; the principal engineers put on some pretty interesting presentations describing the technologies that they're working with, and technical issues that affect developers.

    There are some interesting technical problems to solve at Amazon, so if you're lucky enough to be on a team that's solving them, you will probably be quite happy here.

    Cons

    For the most part, the work is maintenance. Most engineers end up spending more time wading through low-quality code and fighting with configuration problems in the development environment than they do coding. Unless you're on a team that's developing new software, most of the code required is little more than patches and glue.

    Most of Amazon's technology is out of date, including the low-end computers that the developers receive as workstations. The main platform is several years and two versions behind the times, and there's a surprising amount of business-critical code written in low-quality Perl.

    All of this is exacerbated by a fairly mediocre benefits package.

    Advice to Management

    Take a look at what most of the developers are doing, and how underutilized your talent is.


  6. Helpful (8)

    "A review of Amazon"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I really appreciate the customer focus.

    Cons

    While they pride themselves on long-term strategy, it's not a universal theme, and many areas are too focused on short-term success. Not enough clear organization and planning, poor communication.

    Advice to Management

    Support innovation and risk. Really.


  7. Helpful (15)

    "Welcome to the Matrix"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    In the old days (1995-2002), the people who worked here were incredibly smart, talented, interesting, versatile. I have never worked with a smarter group. Ever. It was like being in an elite college--that level of intelligence, but in a work environment. Very fun and stimulating.

    Cons

    Treat employees like disposable batteries. They will use you up and find fresh batteries to replace you.

    Advice to Management

    At some point, you may run out of eager young ambitious candidates from all over the world who want Amazon on their resumes. We'll see if you care about rentention then. Or just give it lip service, the way you do now.

  8. Helpful (15)

    "Don't think that Amazon is a place to advance your career."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director of Business Development in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Director of Business Development in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The company is certainly doing well from a business perspective...but that is on the backs of their employees. Benefits are OK, but there are plenty of other companies that provide better.

    Cons

    VP and higher are getting incredible packages with options but the rest of the folks only get RSU's. Sebastian Gunningham received 350,000 options and I can't see why he should receive that higher number based on his overall performance.

    Advice to Management

    Start thinking of retention of your employees...the average employee stays 22 months and the cost of constantly rehiring and retaining is significant.


  9. Helpful (13)

    "Recommend Against Working There"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Amazon is a great company in many respects -- the core retail website and Amazon's customer service operations are outstanding. Given it's established status as a successful online retailer, it's in an advantageous position to sell digital media which will of course become an increasingly huge market. The company also has an extremely driven, hands-on, engaged CEO.

    Cons

    The management style in many departments is almost comically top-down. As a result, it often feels like Amazon hires a lot of smart people to perform tasks that don't really have a lot of strategic significance -- a lot of tactical decision-making gets made at a very high level. So while everyone is working really fast, things tend to happen slow. As much as anything, I think this explains the very high level of employee turnover at the company.

    Advice to Management

    Hold senior executives responsible for failure.


  10. Helpful (10)

    "If you have nothing else to do in life this is a great place for you to be awake all the time..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer III in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer III in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Because you are everything (PM, SDE, SDET, Build/Deployment Engineer, Support Engineer), you can learn a lot. But this comes at a huge cost of sacrificing your life. If you have nothing else to do in life this is a great place for you to kill your time.

    Cons

    Long working hours
    carrying a pager which will page you 100's of times when you are on call
    no work life balance.

    Advice to Management

    clean people and process.


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