(Photo has been removed due to copyright laws)
Do you see the man in the photo? Well, he is Jeff Bezos the founder of Amazon. The 53-year-old is chairman, president, and CEO of Amazon. He is also worth 100 billion dollars. The money that he, his wife, and their four children enjoy were all generated off the backs of hard-working Amazon workers. I hope his wife remembers that when she is buying her expensive dresses and jewelry and taking luxury trips to Europe. I hope his kids remember that when they are going to the best schools. All that wealth was built on the backs of underpaid workers. While you go to red carpets events and dine with other rich people the underpaid waiters and waitress at these events have to serve your self-absorbed greedy rich asses. Look, don’t get wrong, Amazon comes in handy when you are American living in Germany. A lot of English books I can’t buy at the local bookstore so I order online. But now I have to re-evaluate my position on Amazon and the likely outcome will probably be that I won’t make any more purchases there anymore. How can I give my money to a place that treats its employees like cattle on an assembly line? People working 10 to 12-hour shifts, and not allowed to sit down. Toilets that are not fit for use in a professional working environment. Workers are in constant fear if they don’t process packages quickly they will lose their jobs. A culture of watching your co-worker and reporting back to the manager about whatever you find that might have that person fire. Security checks that take 30 mins after your shift is over. If I have been on my feet all day in a warehouse working 9 hours or more. The last thing I want to do is wait an extra 30 mins so I can leave my job. What? You slave the shit out of me and now you are saying I can’t be trusted so you have to check me on my way out? Unpaid wages for overtime and often times unjust firing from the company. Jeff Bezos, you truly are the very definition of capitalist scum. You and those like you are the reason this evil capitalist slave system needs to be overthrown by any means. I won’t be giving this devil anymore of my money again. My support goes to my brothers and sisters who work their asses off to support their families and to pay the rent each month. While this nerd lives the good life. In 2015 the New York Times came out with a story about the abuses at Amazon. The evil nerd was forced to make a response to the allegation against his company.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to give this (very long) New York Times article a careful read.
I also encourage you to read this very different take by a current Amazonian.
Here’s why I’m writing you. The NYT article prominently features anecdotes describing shockingly callous management practices, including people being treated without empathy while enduring family tragedies and serious health problems. The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day. But if you know of any stories like those reported, I want you to escalate to HR. You can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero.
The article goes further than reporting isolated anecdotes. It claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard. Again, I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either. More broadly, I don’t think any company adopting the approach portrayed could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market. The people we hire here are the best of the best. You are recruited every day by other world-class companies, and you can work anywhere you want
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.