Amazon - Great to have on your resume but not a place I had any desire to stay long term | Glassdoor
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Helpful (21)

"Great to have on your resume but not a place I had any desire to stay long term"

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  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Former Employee - Technical Program Manager II
Former Employee - Technical Program Manager II
Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook

I worked at Amazon full-time (More than a year)

Pros

Amazon is a resume-maker, make no doubt about it. Within months of having updated my LinkedIn profile, I had recruiters from Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others reaching out (I ended up interviewing at several and jumping ship to Microsoft). I'm sure this is partly due to fact of Amazon's reputation as being not the most pleasant place to work (so its employees are receptive to an 'out' more than some others) and because they are known to have a high bar for hiring..

It's also full of very smart people (though many of them are not nearly as smart as they *think* they are) and you get to work on big, challenging problems.

Lastly, their publicly professed focus on the customer is absolutely legitimate. It was great to see how they approached this from the inside as it's something I think Amazon gets uniquely right in the tech industry.

Cons

Amazon, like other big companies, will never present a uniform experience. Your experiences will depend on the team you join. There were a lot of people on my team who wanted nothing more than to get out but I have other friends who actually are fairly happy there. That said, there is some uniformity of the culture that has its origin in Bezos Darwinian worldview. The best advice I can give is to read the book The Everything Store as I think it nails the culture. Personally, I found it quite unpleasant. It is a harshly critical environment. Work environments that challenge you to be your best are great, but it seemed nearly pathological at Amazon. Anything I did was corrected by at least 4-5 people whether or not it merited it, partly so they could show off how they were *better* and partly because it's an ingrained part of the culture. One of the Amazon Principles are 'Are Right. A Lot'. I think the corollary to this is many Amazon employees think everyone else is always wrong and feel the need to constantly tell you. It gets pretty old fast. At first I took this personally and thought maybe I was just a screw up but when I started paying more attention I realized EVERYONE received this treatment.

Amazon is also the kind of place that will use you up and spit you out if you let it. I've worked at true start-ups in my twenties and put in hours that would put most of the folks even at Amazon to shame. In doing so, I learned what my limits were, how much of my life I was willing to sacrifice to work, and that ultimately I didn't want to do that for the rest of my life. As such, I was well equipped to manage my work load and still be successful. I didn't work crazy hours or get too stressed out. But I saw those that had not had such an experience, and the often ended up worked into the ground because they didn't know how to draw the line at some point.

Lastly, Amazon is an extremely chaotic place. Many people who work there like to delude themselves into thinking it functions similarly to a start-up (anyone who has worked at a real start-up will immediately tell you it isn't really like one at all). The problem is, it's a huge company. And when a company exceeds a certain size, it *gasp* actually needs a bit more uniformity in process and coordinated long-term planning. Instead, Amazon makes pretensions to process but kind of lets teams do their own thing. Frequently, there is process, but it varies by team or if you actually use the 'official' process it just means you won't accomplish what you need to as you'll be mired in some dead-end path. The idea of being 'start-up like' like or 'scrappy' is wonderful in theory for such a big company, but in practice it just doesn't work. Amazon wasn't even particularly fast in pushing out new features, which is presumably the point of such an ethos.

Lastly, the comp really isn't that great. It's okay, but the benefits are mediocre at best, the base salaries are just average (I knew what a number of people were making from having discussed it) and much is locked up in stock that vests over years. It's basically a golden cage designed to keep people at the company despite how miserable most of them are.

And that's the thing I'd really impress on prospective hires, it was very rare I perceived anyone to be truly *happy* to be there. For my part, I did a year and got out. Not because it was unbearably difficult or the worst job ever, it just wasn't a particularly pleasant or rewarding place to be. I think if you know what you're getting into the cost/benefit is there, you get to see the company from the inside, work on big problems, and work with a ton of smart people. But it's not a place I could ever see staying more than a couple years unless you had no other option.

Advice to Management

Show your employees you value them rather than see them as commodities to be used up and thrown away. Ditch the abrasive, hyper-critical culture, the unnecessary long hours, and focus on making sure they have a pleasant experience. You cannot hire quick enough to make up for the massive attrition you guys have and eventually it will catch up with you.

Other Employee Reviews for Amazon

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Its the wild west over here with a lot of type A folks."

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

    I have been working at Amazon full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    You are empowered to have a direct impact on customers and the business. The Sr. leadership team is generally excellent, however, there are a few exceptions that somehow made it past the hiring bar.

    Cons

    Benefits are a little below average and you work long hours. One can also easily burn themselves out if not disciplined in the art of not committing and setting realistic expectations (even when unpopular).

    Advice to Management

    Not everyone you hire needs to be a type A personality.


  2. "Tough place"

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

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

    Pros

    Talented peers
    Genuinely nice people
    Large scale projects
    Opportunity to make change happen
    Nice campus
    Good benefits package
    On site cafeterias at HQ

    Cons

    These comments relate to the Operations side of the business:
    Zero work life balance
    Relentless workload
    Zero appreciation for the contribution made in roles which are not core business
    Horrible review process with no avenue for salary discussion or negotiation, complete take it or leave it approach

    Advice to Management

    Care about the professional staff with the same effort that is given to caring for and providing for Associates, there is a cavernous gap here
    Employ managers and let them manage. Brilliant engineers don't always make great managers or team leaders, there are differing skill sets here.
    Quit micromanaging
    Hire the best and then respect the expertise of these individuals, don't disregard this knowledge simply because these folks haven't worked at the company for many years

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

See Most Recent

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