Amazon Pivot experience (details and advice included)
Already happened 3 months ago in AMXL, but I want to write it here if anyone finds it helpful in any way.
I joined the new team in September last year and only had 2 1:1s during the 4 months period last year but my manager (coutinho@) who has already had almost 12 years tenure at Amazon, told me during these 1-on-1s that she was super happy with what I have done. I trusted every word she said.
Then in January she said I would be dev listed because I am not sensitive to numbers, not good at doing analysis, etc.
Her attitude towards me changed like another person: from being nice, supportive and encouraging to being rude, aggressive, yelling and found fault with everything I did since then. Even my co-workers felt strange about this.
By the end of February, she entered me into dev list. After 6 weeks, she entered me into pivot saying I didn't improve at all.
I decided to appeal but was prepared to fail. I know that appeal typically doesn't work because the panel, although kind of independent from my team, was still Amazon employee (not technically neutral) so they must be very careful in making the decision. Especially in EU teams are small so it is quite normal people already know each other, let alone my 12 years tenured manager. Ultimately, to the panels, what is really the benefit of letting the employee win and putting embarrassment on the manager? Maybe in the near future, these panelists will have working relationships with my manager one way or the other, so no one wants to get into trouble because of a single pivoted employee. It is actually very easy to understand the logic so I am prepared to fail the appeal. But still, I think I need to appeal to state my case. In my case, at least one of the panel member was doing similar jobs like me. I know him so does my manager.
Unsurprisingly I failed the appeal even though I provided all the data and disputed my manager's fake statement. My manager's logic here is this: if I didn't do something well, then it is my fault; if I did something very well, it is not my achievement, it is the achievement of the whole team and resulted from the team effort. Therefore, whatever I do, I get nothing.
After all of these dramas, she mentioned she had pipped 4 employees during her tenure and she boasted that she didn't do this often. She even asked me to make a fake excuse for leaving the team in order to do a "smooth" transition. She said a lot of pipped employees even held parties with the team when they left. Really?
Accompanying this whole drama, I need to mention our director (ebner@) as well. She has almost 20 years tenure at Amazon EU and I respected her a lot initially. She was assigned as the director in our org last December. I guess my pivot must have had something to do with her too. Otherwise, it is very difficult to understand why my manager's attitude towards me changed right after the director joined. The first time I felt something may have been wrong is that she didn't approve my LinkedIn connection request while she is connected to other team members.
However, to my and the whole team's surprise, the new director was very "unique" and seemingly inexperienced. For example, when some issues arose, all team members were calm and was actively seeking solutions. But the director was the first in the team to panic and sprinted to every colleague's desk to say to us "show me something, what is happening!". She was panicking so much that the whole team felt unnerved, therefore she was called "drama queen" by our colleagues. Personally, I couldn't imagine this is the behavior of a 20-year tenured amazonian. Interestingly, probably after she knew I would leave Amazon, she tried to schedule a face to face session with me, but she scheduled on a date when I was no longer in the office. She just canceled it after she knew the date was wrong. So I was really speechless.
In all, every person has his or her opinion about who is justified, so this is not what I want to argue here. I am definitely not perfect, so I will continue to improve my weaknesses.
I just want to post my experience here for anyone to refer to. If my experience could help anyone in any way, then I would be very glad.
By the way, I also learned just from my CA that she has one pivot meeting almost every day during the workweek, so at least 3 pivot panel meetings per week. It is a bit surprising especially when considering there aren't many people in Amazon EU.
PS: it seems my manager moved to a new team in Amazon business to start hiring a new team. Please be alerted and I highly recommend to avoid if possible.