Tag Archives: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Is Amazon too tough on their workers?

Categories: Management | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Rumors are that Amazon management tolerates nothing less than peak performance out of their workers. The workplace is intense and often cutthroat. Workers who have health problems, other personal issues, or who just can’t measure up often get penalized or fired.

Two Times reporters wrote a 7000 word piece on Amazon after they had interviewed many current and former Amazon employees. They wrote about the grueling and competitive conditions the workers had to endure. After Jeff Bezos read this featured article, even he wrote a letter stating he would not tolerate the “shockingly callous management practices” described in the article. He urged employees to contact her directly if they heard of abuses.

However, reviews on Glassdoor indicated that 82% of employees approve of CEO Bezos and most would recommend Amazon to a friend. A program manager in Seattle wrote that Amazon had small teams, interesting and innovative projects, and very smart people. There were quiet work areas, a beautiful campus, and a startup feel. To me, it sounds a lot like Google. There were many mixed reviews on Amazon with the pros commenting on the vibrant fast paced culture while the cons were more about the office politics.

My feeling is that the companies that are getting ahead today like Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. tend to embrace a high energy culture of overachievers who work in an innovative setting creating new and better ways for society to function, buy, sell, and enjoy life. If workers want to work in a slower paced company, an innovative front-line company doesn’t seem like a good place. Becoming a librarian in a small Tennessee town seems like a better idea for someone who wants a quiet, yet fulfilling life. But, on the other hand, companies that make their workers put in too many hours can burn people out. In the long run, we need quality of life, not just some success that leads to ultimate burnout. And when we get pregnant or have personal problems, it is nice if our company understands what we are going through. After all, we’re all human (my cat is nodding her head at this point.) Well, she is not human, but the rest of us are!

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