Former Amazon Employees Speak Out Against Company Culture: “I Cried Tears of Joy When I Left”
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Amazon’s reportedly toxic company culture is the subject of much debate recently, after a New York Times report lifted the lid on what writers Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld described as a cult-like environment in which an employee visiting their father who was dying with cancer was fired for not being committed enough to the company’s vision (i.e. taking time off to spend some time with their parent before he passed away), while an employee who worked in marketing for the company claimed that “nearly every employee” they worked with had cried at their desk at one point or another.
With the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos having now gone on record to claim that the company isn’t the “soulless, dystopian workplace” NYT have painted it as, offering up his email address to employees both former and current who want to report any criticisms they have of the way the company handles its staff, a thread on Reddit has seen more alleged ex-employees of the retailer posting comments regarding the time they spent at the company, and none of them paint Amazon in a positive light.
Redditor geekzapoppin wrote:”I spent three years at Amazon. The stock was nice. I worked with some great people. To say that the job was stressful isn’t an adequate description of the pressure under which I worked. Every day, we were expected to do more with less and were constantly compared to people in Third World countries who cost less than we did. The day I left, I cried tears of joy. I actually get to spend time with my family now. I’m also pursuing teaching. When I leave this planet, I don’t want my contribution to be increased shareholder value.”
wiseguy187 opened up about the attitudes of the company’s management, writing: “I worked at amazon every level of management looks down upon the levels underneath them. Every conversation is people angry about work or talking about leaving. The best way to compare is in toy story when the green guys get picked out of the arcade machine. Anytime someone gets a new job every one is like ooooohhhh, you made it. I left a place at amazon I felt like a total peseant, more than tripled my income and now feel like a valued member where I work now [sic].”
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Baron_Von_D described the dire situation in the company’s IT department, writing: “I worked as an IT engineer at Amazon. The remote engineers were in charge of the entire office, infrastructure and client services. Since our position was blended and there wasn’t a lot of us (only half dozen that managed North America, excluding Seattle), our performance was measured from several positions rolled into one. So we were literally expected to do the work of four people. Example: IT Support at Seattle only runs tickets, they were measured on the maximum tickets they can do efficiently during a 40hr work week. They took those numbers and applied that to us, on top of all the inventory management, network/systems administration, new hire setups, and everything else we had to do that week.”
He continued: “On top of that, we were handed side projects that were related to the company and not the office. Extra admin work, expected to be done. It was like they had imaginary alternate timelines, as if the completion of the project wasn’t contingent on everything else that was needed that week. I also worked in an office with secret projects, which my manager was not disclosed on. So there was a ton of project work with them that I couldn’t tell him about, by company policy.
“Most of the remote offices had one engineer, some eventually were able to get two. (We had around 200 people in the office before I could convince them to hire another tech) When I left, I got messages from most of my coworkers congratulating me on getting out and how they were also trying to leave.”
Other comments have seen Bezos described as a “highly functioning psychopath” who is well aware of the poor treatment of Amazon’s employees, but who allows it to continue nonetheless. Many are now calling for Bezos to completely revise the company’s policies when it comes to its treatment of its staff, but judging from his claims that the NYT report was untrue, it seems unlikely that this will happen.