Amazon is among the most successful companies in the world and has made its founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, among the world’s most financially well off.
This is no accident or fluke, according to a new New York Times story that explores in depth the intense work culture, and the time and life commitments required of Amazon employees.
Gaining insights from a pool of over 100 former and current Amazon workers, the report reveals not just grueling hours put in by Amazon employees, but psychological games, Amazon employee pitted against Amazon employee, and a culture that openly encourages mental beatings and often leads to Amazon employee break-downs and tears.
At the same time, according to Susan Harker, Amazon’s top recruiter, this difficult and demanding Amazon culture isn’t just some kind of corporate sadism incorporated by psychopathic Amazon executives that enjoy mentally torturing their fellow Amazon workers, but a constant pursuit of excellence and innovation that is the foundation of Amazon’s success.
“This is a company that strives to do really big, innovative, groundbreaking things, and those things aren’t easy. When you’re shooting for the moon, the nature of the work is really challenging. For some people it doesn’t work.”
Regardless, Amazon definitely seems to have taken getting the most out of their workers to a whole new level, with bosses relentlessly pushing their Amazon laborers to a point where they “practically combust,” while also always keeping the threat of being fired hanging over worker’s necks like a quivering guillotine blade, a tactic that one Amazon HR manager calls “purposeful Darwinism.”
As for the frequent crying of Amazon employees, Bo Olson, whose Amazon career as part of their book marketing efforts lasted less than two years, says he often witnessed his Amazonian coworkers sobbing.
“You walk out of a conference room and you’ll see a grown man covering his face. Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.”
The workers that the Amazon elite most treasure are referred to as “Amabots,” their commitment to their work at Amazon above all else making them “at one with the system” and basically cyborgs, reports the Daily Mail.
Among the pieces of Amazon philosophy reported, if an Amazon employee feels that they’ve “hit the wall,” they are then advised to climb over it.
Some other quirky reminders that let Amazon workers know there’s never any room for slacking include an “internal phone directory” designed to allow Amazon employees to send “secret feedback” to the bosses of their colleagues. Amazonians report that this system is often used to undermine each other, sometimes in predatory groups that band together to crush a coworker.
Eighty-hour work-weeks are also reportedly the norm at Amazon, with emails even arriving in the middle of the night and follow-up texts demanding an explanation if the email isn’t quickly answered.
But Amazon’s fresh recruits are given pretty solid hints from the get-go that a lot will be demanded of them at Amazon, including giving up “poor habits” that they may have developed elsewhere.
The Daily Mail sought comment regarding the New York Time’s Amazon report and were referred to a blog by Amazon’s head of infrastructure development for the company’s Search Experience department, Nick Ciubotariu, who wrote that some assertions made in the story were “completely false.” Ciubotariu then went on to write the story off as “reader bait.”
Regardless, the next time you painlessly order an e-book on your Amazon Kindle, or smoothly order a few items online after cashing in an Amazon gift card, remember the hardworking Amazon employee toiling on the other end, alternately fulfilling your order while perhaps scheming on how to throw a fellow employee under the Amazon bus.
[Image by Rachel Murray, Getty Images]