Amazon - Can be amazing for some people, horrible for others | Glassdoor
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There are newer employer reviews for Amazon

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Helpful (1074)

"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.

Other Employee Reviews for Amazon

  1. Helpful (903)

    "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.


  2. Helpful (174)

    "We are now in a world where we are condescended to by our inferiors"

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

    I worked at Amazon full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    This company gets A list performance from C list employees. The culture is quick and hard charging. You are always working in relevant and meaningful projects.

    Cons

    Maybe because the company recruits C listers who have neither merit (intelligence, strategic vision) nor pedigree (academic or professional accomplishments), most of those who become successful do so in treacherous, low cunning ways.

    Imagine the Lannisters in Game of Thrones attacking the Starks in Game of Thrones; or Rawls and Burrell attacking McNulty and Daniels in The Wire; or Barrow and O'Brien attacking Mr Bates in Downton Abbey. This is every day leadership behavior at Amazon. The culture at Amazon is so infested with these middling talent weasels who have juked the stats and schemed their way to positions of power that new employees coming in actually start thinking that this behavior is normal and expected if you want to "manage people."

    The work itself was stimulating and fulfilling, but the sneering condescension of the d bags that cheated and skated their way through high school and party colleges, then just converted their winky nod nod good 'ol boy shenanigans into a "ask no questions, have no introspection" company culture have made manifest some of the worst criticisms of capitalism. Any left leaning political aspirant would look at this business organism and immediately have content to lash out against the corruption that can come in free enterprise where hard work is not rewarded, and the connected, incestuous, privileged class lounge their way to wealth while treating their employees and customers like some kind of filth their shoe picked up on the street.

    Advice to Management

    Bezos you bought the Washington Post and hired Jay Carney to be your PR head. There is nothing I can write here that you would deign listen to, because you are a hack. You must be mad that Expedia beat you to the punch and hired Chelsea Clinton to serve on their board of directors.

    For those grasping Weasels that have squirmed and back stabbed your way to success, you know who you are. You won't care what is written here because "You got yours, Eff them."

    For those truly diligent and hard working employees that don't want to believe the story from NY times that called Amazon a "Snake Pit" because you don't want to think you actually are involved in such a dystopian landscape of anti-business ethics: "Always yell with the crowd. It is the only means to be safe."

There are newer employer reviews for Amazon
There are newer employer reviews for Amazon

See Most Recent

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