The New York Times released a expose this week all about the inside of the Amazon workplace. Former employees came forward and released their feelings about working for Amazon and their extremely competitive and toxic work environment.
Some quotes from the article:
“Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.” “I was so addicted to wanting to be successful there. For those of us who went to work there, it was like a drug that we could get self-worth from.” “The joke in the office was that when it came to work/life balance, work came first, life came second, and trying to find the balance came last.”
And that’s not just the start of it. The article describes an environment full of quizzes, high employee turnover, harsh feedback, and a nick-picky critical environment.
It seems like this is a bit of a PR nightmare...
In an attempt to be totally transparent and help with this PR mess, Amazon CEO came back and wrote a statement of his own. Which also appeared in the Times:
I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company. But hopefully, you don’t recognize the company described. Hopefully, you’re having fun working with a bunch of brilliant teammates, helping invent the future, and laughing along the way.
He also released a statement from a former employee that spoke highly of the team and the Amazonian culture:
During my 18 months at Amazon, I’ve never worked a single weekend when I didn’t want to. No one tells me to work nights. No one makes me answer emails at night. No one texts me to ask me why emails aren’t answered. I don’t have these expectations of the managers that work for me, and if they were to do this to their Engineers, I would rectify that myself, immediately. And if these expectations were in place, and enforced upon me, I would leave.
Work past the bricking point vs. Working because you seek success and innovation?
Amazon is a successful business, there is no doubt about that. We can’t point at their business and say that what they are doing isn’t successful... Other environments of change and innovation are also criticized for their unhealthy environments, yet they remain successful as well.
So is this a formula for disaster or is the fact that some people cannot take the heat?
The question I want to pose: Can an innovative company also be highly beneficial to employees? Many would point to Google as a leader in innovation and employee care.
The work environment is a tricky one to navigate, but I believe each individual worker has the opportunity to be heard. And each company has the right to work their business they want. Whether these coincide is up to the company...