Why do people hate working at Amazon?

Shopify / Eng Pplskills
Oct 9, 2018 55 Comments

I used to think Amazon was as prestigious as Fb, Apple, Google etc but tons of threads have people shitting all over it. I used to want to work there. Why so much hate?

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TOP 55 Comments
  • Amazon HexBug
    A bunch of reasons. Traditionally Amazon was a very efficient company focused on relentlessly delivering customer value. Anything that didn't contribute to this goal was not valued, and so the culture inspired and provided opportunities for people who thrive in a very aggressively productive place, and efficiently chewed up people who didn't. This is the culture basically enshrined in the original leadership principles of Amazon. The people who did well there were doers, people who just got things done and delivered with no nonsense, who thought big and took bold bets and stood behind them until they either succeeded or clearly failed. Courageous, thrifty, hardworking people. Maybe a little lacking in social skills, or a bit abrasive at times. This was "Day 1" culture as Jeff B would call it, and it's what made Amazon great. It's why you've heard of us.

    Then the company grew at a ridiculous rate, and in some pockets of the company we lost this perspective and imported Day 2 cultures from Microsoft and other places. This is not intended to be an insult to Microsoft but it's true. Day 2 meant politics, empire building, serving ourselves instead of customers, and PMs... Lots and lots of PMs. This ruined several orgs at Amazon, and you'll hear about this in the Amazon forum here a lot. Retail was totally wrecked and is now doing open heart surgery to fix it. Prime Now, Fresh, advertising, total dumpster fires. Day 2 sucks.

    The normal Amazon stack ranking, top grading and forced removal of the bottom 10% or so would have handled this, but as we grew and newcomers from other companies clashed with the Day 1 culture, they all complained to the NY Times and soon we had that big article about our "bruising workplace." Amazon responded in part by softening some of our corrective mechanisms and dismantling others, and that meant no more removing of the bottom X%, allowing people to move to another team if they were underperforming (and thus remain), etc. Now we were really screwed.

    Amazon is trying to get back to Day 1, but we've got a mess. The current company is a blend of Day 1 teams and Day 2 teams, and those don't mix well. Some people hate the older style and some people hate the new orgs dominated by politics and small armies of 20-something PMs Fresh from "B school" who have never delivered anything in their lives.

    The old culture could burn you out, but the new crap destroys your soul. And there is a battle going on right now for Amazon's soul.

    So there are a variety of reasons why people might not be happy here, but in my estimation many of them simply don't belong here. We need deep cuts in the Day 2 orgs, primarily of PMs. We need to let doers do and builders build and thinkers think, like we used to when every great new thing was created (.com, Kindle, AWS, Alexa, etc).

    You should want to work here but only on a Day 1 team. We still have a lot of these, and one year on such a team will grow you in ways you can't imagine at most companies. You will work hard but you'll start thinking like an owner, you'll grow and you'll emerge a leader, and that will stay with you.

    And that's the story with Amazon.
    Oct 9, 2018 11
    • Microsoft aesf02
      +1 on knowing more about day one orgs.
      Oct 10, 2018
    • Microsoft aesf02
      How’s Alexa?
      Oct 10, 2018
    • GE FxBx74
      +1. Great comment and perspective. Also interested in knowing more day 1 orgs. How’s Music?
      Oct 10, 2018
    • Microsoft Grabbb
      Well written !
      Oct 10, 2018
    • Oracle dir
      Still one word: toxic
      Oct 10, 2018
  • Proofpoint / Eng foodturckj
    Because bananas is not a currency.
    Also they hired many bad managers that micromanage and have led many to have a bad experience. Those managers may have left and some are protected by upper management but in general the stigma sticks.
    Also the 5/15/40/40 vesting is not employee friendly.
    No free food.
    Very frugal in general benefits.
    The list goes on.

    The managememt isn't bothered by it because the stock keeps going up but they must realize they need to bring themselves upto industry standard at some point.
    Oct 9, 2018 1
    • Microsoft Grabbb
      I know a really really bad manager who everyone hated so bad , was fired at my previous company has now landed in amzn at a higher role :) we can’t stop bad managers - they will keep going from one company to other - I can just stop him from coming to my team here that’s it .
      Oct 10, 2018
  • Oracle $x
    Toxic
    Oct 9, 2018 2
    • Amazon HexBug
      Says an Oracle guy?
      Oct 9, 2018
    • Oracle vrooom
      Does that change anything? 😉
      Oct 9, 2018
  • Uber uber.
    Amazon software is terrible. Indescribably bad. Engineers main job is to be the human in the loop to work on pages of sev2s and write reports about the failures that caused actual customers to notice. 2am 3am 430am pages are commonplace every night for the oncall. Other companies have oncall, but none have it as bad.
    Oct 9, 2018 4
    • Amazon Ehdd
      My summary:-
      (1) what’s on-call? Never been on one
      (2) Sev2 ? Lol, have not even worked on Sev5 TT
      (3) pager? What’s that

      6.5 years at Amazon, 400+ TC 😬 You don’t know diverse Amazon is, very ignorant comment TBH. If you said Amazon Retail, or AWS I’d be fine, not Amazon as a whole. You are dragging the nicer parts of Amazon into it.
      Oct 9, 2018
    • Lyft blah001
      U are a SDE and didn't hv oncall for 6 years.... Can't be true bruh... Or are u a PM ?
      Oct 9, 2018
    • Amazon Ehdd
      I am an SDE3 and no oncall bruh! I work on embedded devices
      Oct 10, 2018
    • Microsoft / Eng
      Engineer2

      Microsoft Eng

      PRE
      Amazon
      Engineer2more
      I worked for Amazon for 4 years. 4 times in those 4 years I had to attend Sev 2s. The code was robust. We had solid monitoring. And we worked on building some shiny new services in the last one year. Ex-SDE2 here. TC while leaving was 210k
      Oct 10, 2018
  • Amazon cjaP02
    1. Biggest tech company there is
    2. Generally people only comment about bad experiences
    3. More engineers = more bad experiences = more bad posts/comments

    It’s also very team dependent. I’ve had a great experience at Amazon thus far.
    Oct 9, 2018 2
    • Microsoft / Eng hdsxv
      aws I bet
      Oct 9, 2018
    • Amazon cjaP02
      Yeah
      Oct 9, 2018
  • Cruise Automation / Eng Lard
    For the same reason slaves disliked their socioeconomic station in life.
    Oct 9, 2018 0
  • Amazon / Eng sde3
    There are good and bad apples in every big company. Dont worry about the brand but focus on the team & product you work with. I left google to join amzn and had an amazing experience. Not with amzn anymore though, wish I hadn't sold the stock :(
    Oct 9, 2018 16
    • Proofpoint / Eng foodturckj
      Why would anyone be jealous of an Amazon employee?
      The RSU increase was accommodated for when they initially gave you your TC offer. There is nothing 'extra' about it unlike other companies. If the RSU appreciation didn't happen, you would be in a really bad situation.
      Oct 10, 2018
    • Amazon Ehdd
      Not really, not for me. You get an offer first and then talk, empty vessels make more noise 💸💸💸
      Oct 10, 2018
    • Proofpoint / Eng foodturckj
      Again, I am not looking to work at Amazon. Many other better companies in bay area.
      Oct 10, 2018
    • Amazon Ehdd
      Ok get an offer from elsewhere and then report back 😂😂
      Oct 10, 2018
    • Amazon cjaP02
      They assume a 15% appreciation lolol and it’s been up 100% a year for the last 4 years
      Oct 10, 2018
  • Microsoft IBTingey
    I left because it was painfully clear my manager, my skip, and the rest of company management didn’t give two shits about me and didn’t even have the class or courtesy to pretend. That’s when I realized for the first time that I actually cared about more than the money. For them it was all about their survival, metrics and trouble tickets and their unhappiness was rubbing off on me too.

    I luckily found another job with a raise but would have left regardless eventually.
    Oct 10, 2018 2
    • Microsoft aesf02
      Which general area of Amazon was this? I’ve heard every group is different.
      Oct 10, 2018
    • Oracle / Eng Figment
      It sounds like every team except for pockets of AWS.
      Nov 10, 2018
  • Amazon Ruxy
    There are even day 3 orgs such as Lab126; stay away from those.
    Oct 9, 2018 2
    • BuzzFeed / Eng
      0xdead

      BuzzFeed Eng

      PRE
      BuzzFeed
      BIO
      leet hax u fr00bs
      0xdeadmore
      What’s a day 3 org?
      Oct 10, 2018
    • Amazon Ruxy
      It means rock bottom; no engineering, lots of repetetive work, no innovation, lots of overtime, lots of politics, lots of bozos called tpms, incompetent and politically savy managers, low pay etc etc.
      Oct 10, 2018
  • Amazon Gjdyveycc4
    Politics, bad environment, cheapness, no benefits. The list can go on
    Oct 9, 2018 0
  • Microsoft Grabbb
    List of day 1, day 2 and day 3 orgs ?
    Oct 10, 2018 0
  • Symantec O (1)
    You get tired of bananas
    Oct 9, 2018 0
  • Amazon / Eng Troll Food
    You don't get a raise if stock prices go up.
    You have the 10% annual dev list quota.
    You don't get free food.
    It is a sweatshop.
    It doesn't pay well if the stock doesn't go up.
    Oct 9, 2018 0
  • Apple Ap123
    Just chill out and take Amazon offer.
    Oct 9, 2018 0
  • Microsoft Theia2
    One aspect that I don’t like Amazon is that it’s in the retail industry (though it also does software services) and for retailers, frugality is the principle, especially when they have over half a million employees...
    Oct 9, 2018 0

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