Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by XXXXX, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. XXXXX

    XXXXX Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    63,927
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    11,316
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/t...g-big-ideas-in-a-bruising-workplace.html?_r=0

    The company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push
    white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions.

    By JODI KANTOR and DAVID STREITFELDAUG. 15, 2015


    SEATTLE — On Monday mornings, fresh recruits line up for an orientation intended to catapult them into Amazon’s singular way of working.

    They are told to forget the “poor habits” they learned at previous jobs, one employee recalled. When they “hit the wall” from the unrelenting pace, there is only one solution: “Climb the wall,” others reported. To be the best Amazonians they can be, they should be guided by the leadership principles, 14 rules inscribed on handy laminated cards. When quizzed days later, those with perfect scores earn a virtual award proclaiming, “I’m Peculiar” — the company’s proud phrase for overturning workplace conventions.

    At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)

    Photo
    [​IMG]
    Amazon is building new offices in Seattle and, in about three years, will have enough space for about 50,000 employees. CreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

    Many of the newcomers filing in on Mondays may not be there in a few years. The company’s winners dream up innovations that they roll out to a quarter-billion customers and accrue small fortunes in soaring stock. Losers leave or are fired in annual cullings of the staff — “purposeful Darwinism,” one former Amazon human resources director said. Some workers who suffered from cancer, miscarriages and other personal crises said they had been evaluated unfairly or edged out rather than given time to recover.

    Even as the company tests delivery by drone and ways to restock toilet paper at the push of a bathroom button, it is conducting a little-known experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers, redrawing the boundaries of what is acceptable. The company, founded and still run by Jeff Bezos, rejects many of the popular management bromides that other corporations at least pay lip service to and has instead designed what many workers call an intricate machine propelling them to achieve Mr. Bezos’ ever-expanding ambitions.

    “This is a company that strives to do really big, innovative, groundbreaking things, and those things aren’t easy,” said Susan Harker, Amazon’s top recruiter. “When you’re shooting for the moon, the nature of the work is really challenging. For some people it doesn’t work"

    “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.”

    Bo Olson, worked in books marketing

    Bo Olson was one of them. He lasted less than two years in a book marketing role and said that his enduring image was watching people weep in the office, a sight other workers described as well. “You walk out of a conference room and you’ll see a grown man covering his face,” he said. “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.”

    Thanks in part to its ability to extract the most from employees, Amazon is stronger than ever. Its swelling campus is transforming a swath of this city, a 10-million-square-foot bet that tens of thousands of new workers will be able to sell everything to everyone everywhere. Last month, it eclipsed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the country, with a market valuation of $250 billion, and Forbes deemed Mr. Bezos the fifth-wealthiest person on earth.

    Tens of millions of Americans know Amazon as customers, but life inside its corporate offices is largely a mystery. Secrecy is required; even low-level employees sign a lengthy confidentiality agreement. The company authorized only a handful of senior managers to talk to reporters for this article, declining requests for interviews with Mr. Bezos and his top leaders.

    However, more than 100 current and former Amazonians — members of the leadership team, human resources executives, marketers, retail specialists and engineers who worked on projects from the Kindle to grocery delivery to the recent mobile phone launch — described how they tried to reconcile the sometimes-punishing aspects of their workplace with what many called its thrilling power to create.

    In interviews, some said they thrived at Amazon precisely because it pushed them past what they thought were their limits. Many employees are motivated by “thinking big and knowing that we haven’t scratched the surface on what’s out there to invent,” said Elisabeth Rommel, a retail executive who was one of those permitted to speak.

    Others who cycled in and out of the company said that what they learned in their brief stints helped their careers take off. And more than a few who fled said they later realized they had become addicted to Amazon’s way of working.

    “A lot of people who work there feel this tension: It’s the greatest place I hate to work,” said John Rossman, a former executive there who published a book, “The Amazon Way.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/t...g-big-ideas-in-a-bruising-workplace.html?_r=0
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
  2. IfTheyOnlyKnew

    IfTheyOnlyKnew VIP Extreme Gold

    Reputations:
    670,290
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    Messages:
    24,069
    Likes Received:
    57,390
    Wow, interesting.... :bigthink

    Where did you find this? Just curious...

    I'm probably one of the few people left on the planet who doesn't use Amazon. I don't think I've ever ordered anything using Amazon.
     
  3. idiotbox

    idiotbox Looking for a dime and found a quarter. VIP

    Reputations:
    74,043
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    16,770
    Likes Received:
    12,802
  4. LawyerLarry

    LawyerLarry Mr. Fuckmoney in the Bank VIP

    Reputations:
    -207,434
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    27,937
    Likes Received:
    125,293
    Hey, this thread isn't about wrestling.
     
  5. ScottBaiosPenis

    ScottBaiosPenis Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    77,398
    Joined:
    May 26, 2013
    Messages:
    8,974
    Likes Received:
    15,457
  6. XXXXX

    XXXXX Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    63,927
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    11,316
     
    reno and IfTheyOnlyKnew like this.
  7. lestanyonethink

    lestanyonethink Hey, how do I know Connie? VIP Gold

    Reputations:
    32,534
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2014
    Messages:
    633
    Likes Received:
    1,704
    Reading that story yesterday made me feel better about my employer this Monday morning. While we have occasional deadline pushes, I can't imagine working regular 80 hour weeks and never seeing my kids. But luckily some people are since I really enjoy my Prime subscription.

    Glad you posted this and looking forward to the Shed's response.
     
  8. NiggalissCage

    NiggalissCage Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    16,555
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,611
    Likes Received:
    3,627
    I work in IT, back end systems/servers type of stuff for a large consumer products company. 16 years now, used to be an awesome job. We worked hard, played hard, but were valued and respected and given the enumeration to match out efforts or some other types of perks.

    Over the last 8 years or so it's devolved into a sweatshop where work is feverishly lumped upon those who show promise to the point where people break. We have had a couple nervous breakdowns already, as well as folks on happy pills now.

    Projects are built around the expectation that we will work weekends and evenings, we have system upgrades and migrations on every weekend holiday and 3 day holiday so as not to effect the business, and we are in constant fear of our jobs being given to 3 Patels for what it costs to have me.

    Don't even get me started on the offshore team that my company has, the myth that every Indian IT guy is a genius robot with zero life and no desire for money is so untrue it's not funny.
     
  9. reno

    reno VIP Extreme Gold

    Reputations:
    324,244
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Messages:
    13,715
    Likes Received:
    40,581
    The rich get richer and the slaves work harder.
     
  10. Divorce Chicken

    Divorce Chicken white punk on dope VIP

    Reputations:
    139,529
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    14,184
    Likes Received:
    31,308
    Does Amazon even make money?
     
    smichal and Scarlett Ohara like this.
  11. Scarlett Ohara

    Scarlett Ohara VIP Extreme Gold

    Reputations:
    473,843
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Messages:
    6,080
    Likes Received:
    20,728
    I was driving home over Thanksgiving and CNN had a 2 hour program on Amazon that was in the same vein as the NYT article. Publishers, authors and businesses basically have to give up any idea of making money if they want to be on Amazon. One of the publishers refused to bow to the terms and every book they published was removed from the site. They ended up making a deal because it damaged the business. Employees were fired for the smallest infraction and several were interviewed about the incredible stress they had due to the job. It was a fascinating program. I sell a lot of my books on Amazon and they have always been great to deal with but I hate to hear what it's like behind the scenes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
  12. Scarlett Ohara

    Scarlett Ohara VIP Extreme Gold

    Reputations:
    473,843
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Messages:
    6,080
    Likes Received:
    20,728
    Heard they actually lose money.
     
    Shortwave98 and smichal like this.
  13. larryluncg

    larryluncg Empty VIP Gold

    Reputations:
    14,495
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    Messages:
    11,149
    Likes Received:
    8,898
    I ordered from Amazon yesterday and it arrived this afternoon. That article is full of shit IMO. You can't be that good and not have happy employees. It would never work
    Somebody is going to get fired for not checking facts
     
    Runaway and RonHeinzkaboot like this.
  14. Big_J

    Big_J Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    4,207
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    746
    Heroin is making a comeback due to the huge push of oxy and other opioids. After OC's had their big reformulation and cannot be crushed for snorting or injecting many have jumped to heroin. Want to know how much of a demand there is in your city? Google for methadone or suboxone clinics, and needle exchanges. They are great indicators. Hint: Almost every large city is going to have one, some smaller one too
     
    RonHeinzkaboot likes this.
  15. TheSurvivingJesusTwin

    TheSurvivingJesusTwin Half as ubiquitous

    Reputations:
    18,550
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    1,490
    Likes Received:
    3,026
    that sucks, but it's understandable; a human can only take so much. something's gotta give. companies will grind you down and throw your ass in the dumpster once they've squeezed everything they can out of you.
     
    smichal likes this.
  16. TheSurvivingJesusTwin

    TheSurvivingJesusTwin Half as ubiquitous

    Reputations:
    18,550
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    1,490
    Likes Received:
    3,026
  17. DuckDong

    DuckDong VIP Extreme Gold

    Reputations:
    60,476
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    Messages:
    4,950
    Likes Received:
    11,818
    Exactly !!

    Yet unions are bad right folks ??

    People need to wake the fuck up and support labor movements or we all will end up like the poor fucks at Amazon.
     
  18. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    47,446
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2012
    Messages:
    6,962
    Likes Received:
    8,492
    I worked for Amazon during the holiday season of 2009. Some of the people were nice, others had the look of being burned out. They do expect a lot from you. Sundays were the worst, because all the new CD's, DVD's, and books that show up in your local department store each Tuesday---if you ordered through Amazon, it was picked, packed, and shipped to you on Sunday so you'd get it by Tuesday. I remember either picking or packing Stephen King's "Under The Dome" book about 50 times one Sunday.
     
    smichal likes this.
  19. austin54

    austin54 Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    2,522
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    670
    This Jeff Bezos guy...I mean this guy is a real jerk!
     
  20. Beth143nacho

    Beth143nacho Well-Known Member VIP

    Reputations:
    65,137
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    19,929
    Likes Received:
    16,763
    Bezos is a douchebag. Amazon succeeded in spite of him, not because of him.

    It's funny how all the liberal CEOs are so much more diabolical, communistic and dictator-like than any conservative counterpart.