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Amazon depicted as a brutal workplace

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Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
1 of 14

Has anyone seen this article profiling Amazon's workplace? Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace. 

The article says Amazon is conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions.

Here is a snippet:

"At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)"

 

Have any of you experienced a workplace like this? Is this what prompted you to become a freelancer? 

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Community Guru
Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
2 of 14

@Lena E wrote:

Has anyone seen this article profiling Amazon's workplace? Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace. 

The article says Amazon is conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions.

Here is a snippet:

"At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)"

 

Have any of you experienced a workplace like this? Is this what prompted you to become a freelancer? 


As someone who is interested in Amazons work model (especially as it pertains to logistics and staff), I have read a LOT of articles about how Amazon treats their blue-collar worker force. Overall, pretty abysmally, but that's true for a lot of "factory" blue collar work.

 

About once a year some big newspaper writes an "expose" about Amazon, but generally, it's usually slightly regurgitaed data.

 

Not to say, Lena, that this article was pointless to read. I came across it when it first appeared, and PDF'd it. (Which is one reason I was able to actually write the above info in good faith, as I PDF a lot of articles, including ones about Amazon).

 

This article was a bit different then the usual ones, because it focuses more on what Amazon expects from a "mentality" point of view. Sounds a little like the work perspective in Asia, but I could be wrong.

 

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Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
3 of 14

It's been known in the dev world that Amazon is no Google when it comes to work-life balance and how it treats its employees. They've had this rep for a while.

 

This Googler accidentally posted a rant about Google publicly. It went viral because he slammed Google. He describes his experience with Jeff Bezos and giving him presentations.

 

ETA: Oops fixed... slammed Google not Amazon 

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Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 14

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is making the rounds, proclaiming that the news article does not depict the Amazon he knows.

 

He is embarrassed that he got caught. I would respect him more if he just owned up to it.

 

Nobody is forcing Amazon employees to work there. It's kind of a brutal workplace, sure, but it's "brutal" by very politically correct standards. I don't have a problem with it and this information doesn't change any decisions I would make about buying from Amazon.com.

 

If the worst thing you can say about a company is that they focus on customer service to the point of being a "brutal" (by American Politically Correct standards) workplace for their employees... Then it sounds like the kind of company that deserves me as a customer.

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Fergus M Member Since: May 23, 2015
5 of 14

*shrugs* I've experienced a workplace that got half-demolished by a suicide bomb, and another where I spent the time between 14-hour shifts sleeping under a Land Rover with the wind blowing sand in my face. Amazon doesn't seem that bad.

 

I became a freelancer because I wanted to be able to go to work in my underpants.

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.― George Orwell
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Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 14

You wear pants, Fergus? I've been doinitrong all along.

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Fergus M Member Since: May 23, 2015
7 of 14

I have a leather seat, so if I go full nudist it squeaks when I fidget. Very distracting.

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.― George Orwell
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Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
8 of 14

@fergus M wrote:

I have a leather seat, so if I go full nudist it squeaks when I fidget. Very distracting.


Was that really, honestly, truly necessary to share? Be honest now!

 

(just teasing ya, it made me laugh)

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Hanna N Member Since: Jun 17, 2015
9 of 14

Reading articles like that just makes me wish that all customer service around the world would adapt the same principles as the pubs and bars that I used to work in.

 

If the customer is nice, be nice back to them.

If the customer is barely civil, tolerate him/her with grace.

If the customer is downright arsy, throw him out.

 

A manager of a pub I used to host karaoke in actually emptied a bucket of ice on a customer that would not leave when he was told to take his drunken bum elsewhere... and then he had to go out to -15 degrees C anyway, but now soaking wet. 

 

Taught him to behave the next time. Woman WinkWoman Tongue

 

In all honesty though, a company of Amazon's size should have no need to bully its workers in order to deliver great customer service. If they have enough staff working also during those unsociable hours, then there's no need to e-mail and phone people past their bedtime.

 

To answer the question wether this is why I became an Freelancer, then no. I also became a Freelancer to go to work in my underpants. If I'm feeling dressy, I might even wear the bra as well. Woman Very Happy

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Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
10 of 14

In a similiar vein, I prefer to never, every shop at Walmart, who seems to take the cake (and eat it) when it comes to proper employee treatment (across the board, any department, any location, any state).

 

Target has almost as bad as a reputation, they are just not as well know for the shenanigans that Walmart plays.

 

On the other hand, I saw some crazy "warehouse pron" pictures of seasonal Amazon warehouses about 8 years ago, which:

 

1. Impressed me from a "logistics" point of view

2. Made me wince from a "working there" point of view

 

My take on Amazon is biased from that particular experience.  Since then however, I've read some pretty horrible stuff about Amazon seasonal workers.

 

Yes, it's easy to say don't work there if you don't like the job, but for some of the "warehouse" jobs Amazon needs at certain parts of the year, conditions for that kind of work are no better at lots of other places. And some of these people who do these jobs have no other skills.

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