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It’s Not Amazon, It’s You

Aug 31

So, about know the media/opinion machine news cycle has run its course on Amazon.  The initial story broke from the New York Times and Amazon was EVIL!  For two days we got to listen to comments and opinions about how awful Amazon is.  The folks at Walmart were happy for a few days as they got pushed off the ‘worst employer in retail’ category for a while!

But, as the cycle moves forward, we all know what happens next. The Amazon machine kicks in and we get to hear about all those people who LOVE Amazon, and what a great place it is to work.  By day five, the Onion starts making funny headlines and the cycle is over.  The media outlets go back to making fun of Trump!

It used to take longer for the cycle to run.  It’s so fast now, because our attention span is about 13 seconds and we are on to the next thing to get all worked up about.

What’s the reality of this situation?

There is nothing wrong with Amazon.

Amazon doesn’t lie and try to hide who they are.  In fact, in their employment branding they basically try and talk you out of working there.  They say this place is going to be really hard to work at and you will have the highest expectations you’ve ever had placed upon you. Go away! Don’t apply! You aren’t good enough!

It’s like that kid who applies to Harvard because he’s the smartest kid in his school, only to realize upon arriving there are actually smarter people than him, way smarter.  In fact, he went from being the smartest in his high school, to the dumbest at Harvard. Welcome to the show. Life is going to hurt for a while.

Amazon, from what we are hearing, is a bitch to work at.  Super, unreasonably high expectations.  Co-workers and bosses telling you your ideas suck (which they probably do, but no one ever had the guts to tell you). Oh, and you can’t go home every day at 4:30pm.  The trade off is you get to work on cool stuff, with high levels of responsibility, alongside people who will push you farther in your career than you thought was possible.

But, Tim, I want all that, and I want to only work forty hours and not get yelled at and get a trophy for showing up most days.

Yeah, maybe you need to get yourself a government job, this gig isn’t for you.

You see Amazon isn’t the problem.  You are the problem.  You thought you could handle this insane environment and you can’t. That isn’t Amazon’s fault, they didn’t trick you.  They told you that you couldn’t handle it and you decided to try it anyway.  You failed. That’s okay, many will. There are still really good employers and jobs for you at companies with a culture that will fit you better. Go find that.

There isn’t ‘one’ great way to run a company.  If you don’t like how Amazon is running their company, than stop buying their products, and don’t apply for their jobs. No one is making you.  Our reality is we would rather buy cheap crap off Amazon, than make a real change.  Again, that’s a ‘you’ problem, not an Amazon problem.

2 Comment to “It’s Not Amazon, It’s You”

  1. Yes, very true. I am sure there are many people at Amazon who feel as you do – and push the exclusivity aspect of their culture so the self fulfilling prophesy allows them to justify how they spend their time. Personally I want Amazon to be successful, and am counting on a legion of lemmings to buy into the serf mentality and kill themselves so I can get cheap products fast, and drive our local economy. Any rational human being would never waste their talent on something as insignificant as that, but posts like yours just might shame some into it. Bravo

    Michael Erisman
    Aug 31, 2015
  2. While I don’t disagree with your assertion that Amazon doesn’t hide who they are, there is some merit to the discussion around whether that’s who they SHOULD be.

    I worked at an organization that was VERY open about who they are. We, too, tried to “talk people out of working there” while secretly implying that the candidate wasn’t worthy unless they took the challenge.

    When good people inevitably burned out and had to leave because of toxic environments and unrealistic workload expectations, we would say, “you’re not a bad person, we’re not a bad company – it’s just not a fit.”

    Turnover numbers there indicate it’s more than a “fit” problem.

    So I agree – Amazon doesn’t lie about their expectations. But there is still something to be said for questioning those expectations.

    Mary Faulkner
    Aug 31, 2015

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