Working at Amazon May Not Be as Nice as It Seems

“Almost all people that worked I saw crying at your table”. “If you’re a good Amazonian, you become an Amabot”. “I’ve seen people practically combust.” “You learn to sacrifice diplomatically someone for your benefit.” These are some of the expressions that The New York Times collected this weekend in an extensive article on how it is to work at Amazon today, after talk with more than 100 employees and ex-empleados, According to told its authors.

The truth is that, while you can imagine the modern and friendly working environment (although there are exceptions, clear) that can live in 2.0 sites like Google, Facebook or even up to Microsoft, Amazon It has never been especially popular for the treatment that gives its workers, coming to research in stores in several countries. However, the Times article shows how problems don’t live them only employees of a foot, but also developers, executives and other workers who are in the offices of the company.

Your work ahead although there are to stomp on others

Of all of the features I mentioned at the beginning, I’ll take one: “Learn to diplomatically to sacrifice someone to your benefit” (the original uses the expression “throw under the bus”). You can in your current work, and if no choice but has not been you, once you’ve had that talk to the boss to alert you of a problem with the work of another employee, but at Amazon there is a tool that enhances the arrival of this type of criticism precisely: Anytime Feedback Tool.

In a philosophy of work like the Amazon, where is evaluated in detail to each worker and the lowest classification are directly fired, someone you score positively or negatively You can have a great influence on your future. The tool, according to a former employee, was used inappropriately, with groups of workers that are combining to send negative feedback on others who, at any time, can defend themselves against the accusations.

Amazon uses a tool which employees can send their opinions of others and a system that measures the productivity

The fierce rivalry does not end there: when the time of the annual evaluation, which in the original article referred to as a kind of “tournament”, You must be prepared to defend yourself against all kinds of accusations and to put in doubt the work of members of other teams other than yours. The idea? Search for scapegoats in other divisions or even in the weakest of your own employees to the end that those expelled are not most valuable teammates… or yourself.

At the end, and this established by Bezos meritocracy system, everything boils down to appraisals and objectives. The first, in addition to being provided by your peers and competitors at work, are made thanks to a system that measures and quantifies absolutely everything that you work… or what you leave work (let us not forget that we are talking about Amazon). “The company runs an algorithm of continuous performance on their employees,” as explained a former worker of the Kindle division. And, if you’re not among the first, crude oil you have to follow there.

Work, work and work

“Get results” is the point 14 of the Amazon leadership principles, a declaration of intentions which, for many Amazonians (well known to those who work at Amazon) have become an entire Bible. To achieve this you have to work hard and it is likely that your day is not sufficient. Therefore, and according to some former employees of Amazon interviewed, it was usual that working hours are from 80 hours/week. Work at night responding to emails almost instantly, the weekends or even on vacation? It is apparently not unusual, according to these complaints.

Some employees complain of having to work up to 80 hours a week, including nights and weekends

The problem is that, if you do not go through the hoop, then look you like a ballast that is slowing the team. The report mentions several cases of people who, for problems unrelated to work (diseases, abortions, etc.), have passed a bad time and have not been able to meet that continuous performance requiring them. Supervisors not only did not help nor showed flexibility in these cases, they directly They criminalized to the workers affected with negative assessments because they were not fulfilling the expectations of the culture of constant work.

“When you give everything you have, 80 hours a week, they see it as a major weakness”, explained a former employee. At that time his father had been diagnosed with cancer and she had to stop working nights and weekends. His boss, on the other hand, avoided they transferred him to another quieter division and limited himself to saying that the woman was “a problem”. All this ends up “burning” to some employees and that it is usual to have many rotating jobs (and, according to the report, generates many queries to lawyers specializing in labor issues of Seattle).

Bezos and other Amazonians deny it…

Here what it says The New York Times in its extensive report (I recommend reading to see specific examples mentioned), as you can see, not leaving very well Amazon as a workplace. Nick Ciubotauriu, one of the executives of the company, not took to react and published a letter criticizing the article and accusing the middle of partial.

Some critics of the article say that it relies on simple “anecdotes” to generate a description of what is its corporate philosophy

During his post, will be commenting one one each of allegations published in the New York Times and has your experience After 18 months working for Jeff Bezos: he has never worked on weekends, the tool to send feedback is designed to avoid precisely the “sabojates” of some employees to others and cited an important Executive: “Amazon used to”burn”to people. So it isn’t as we do things […]. And, if you are burning people with extra work, you’re not doing it right and you correct your course, or don’t need to be here.” Oh, and points out that he has not seen anyone cry.

Own Jeff Bezos did not hesitate to speak out through an internal statement which denies that level of demand at work and says that He himself would not be in a company so. “The article does not describe the Amazon I know or the solidarity Amazonians that work every day,” explains, although requested that, if someone has lived behaviors as the there counted, the report directly to it by email. “Our tolerance to that lack of empathy should be zero”.

Bezos says that they are “isolated anecdotes”

Although it refers to the statements of current and former employees (he calls them “isolated anecdotes”), it says that the article “goes beyond” accusing him of trying to believe it or not “a work environment where no one sports and nobody laughs soul and dystopian”.

It is not the first time that Amazon is criticized

Anything that you follow the technology press, during the last years have arisen numerous articles and criticism of Amazon for its policy of working in some of its stores. In 2011, former employees of the company denounced in public that the conditions of the facilities were inhumane in summer, without air-conditioning. They even mentioned how they had doctors and ambulances waiting at the door, ready to treat workers during heat waves. At the end, and after the controversy, they improved their air conditioning systems. “Be a homeless, it is better to work for Amazon”, said another former worker of a logistics center.

In 2013, a report by the BBC that one of their newly hired recorded incognito how was very dream operated in the store from Amazon in Swansea, where each worker was walking every day on average 18 kilometers and is required to It dispatch every order in 33 seconds maximum. “We are machines, we are robots,” said the author of the recording. Criticisms and investigations were not long in coming.

In Central Europe also had problems since another documentary to show how it was temporary workers coming from other countries to work on a German Logistics Centre: slept in barracks, they worked 15 days in a row and they were supervised by a security company that had no problems to enter the rooms and make records when it came to them in wins. A few days after their issuance, Amazon said goodbye to vigilantes such.

However, the history of the New York Times focuses on the administrative level, of office. It is not the first time that read reviews & some employees horror stories, but it is the first story that focuses with so much detail on how Amazon works inside at the corporate level. The journal ends with a phrase that Amazon has made his own and has no problems repeating over and over again in his videos to capture employees: “Or you fit here or not. Or you love it or not. There is no middle term”.

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