Amazon.com

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Amazon.com Reviews

Updated 19 August 2014
Updated 19 August 2014
3,521 Reviews

3.3
3,521 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Amazon.com Chairman, President, and CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
2,452 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Good opportunity to learn a lot in a particular area of software development (in 101 reviews)

  • Density of talent: Some really smart people spoiling their careers here (in 306 reviews)


Cons
  • Company is not at all sorry to screw people's work-life balance for itself to excel (in 540 reviews)

  • There is literally no work life balance inside this company (in 125 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 158 people found this helpful  

    Can be amazing for some people, horrible for others

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager  in  Seattle, WA (US)
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager in Seattle, WA (US)

    Pros

    Amazon is doing lot's of cool stuff...but lots of boring stuff too. There are really well run teams...and very badly run teams. The experience for software managers and engineers is all over the board, from really run low operational load teams to teams where people burn out after a year.

     - Amazon is built, quite deliberately, to be Darwinian. You can generally expect that anyone who's been here for more than 2 years is competent and motivated or they wouldn't have survived. You can count on them as long as your priorities are aligned. There aren't many slackers here, and they don't survive long.
      - We work on so much stuff that there's always an opportunity to find amazing cool stuff to work on (note that it's an 'opportunity', one that you have to pursue)
      - A chance to make a huge difference
      - A place where you can learn a lot about all kinds of things, both technical and about yourself
      - Amazon encourages high mobility - even your manager can't prevent you from moving to another team within 6 weeks (normally, more than a few months under unusual conditions).
      - Your friends and family have actually heard of the place you work and have at least a vague notion of what Amazon does without you having to explain

    Cons

    - You're responsible for your own career progression and finding the places and teams that are doing the stuff you want to do. No one is going to take you by the hand and help you with that.
    - Amazon is built, quite deliberately, to be Darwinian. The strong survive and the weak perish (metaphorically speaking) and the 'bar' is constantly increasing. The level of performance that would have been acceptable five years ago will get you canned today. It's a kind of crucible that'll help you develop a harder edge, if you can survive, that can serve you well in your career and in life, but it's often not a pleasant experience.

    I wouldn't recommend it as a place to work for just anyone.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stack ranking is a horrible practice since it's rife with favoritism. It's also not Amazonian in that it's not data based (arbitrarily designating a certain percentage of employees that must be put on performance management isn't a data driven criterion) and it's not frugal (effectively forcing an individual out of the company in one division who would make the grade in another is either retaining someone who doesn't meet the bar or a waste of talent). The goal is to force managers to actually make the hard decisions about how their team members compare with each other (not everyone can be exceptional), but it has more defects than virtues. Replace it with a common comparison of each person against the bar for their position, based on data. The percentages that are assigned to each performance category will turn out how they turn out, but there will be an evaluation mechanism that's fair and frugal.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 237 people found this helpful  

    Make sure you know exactly what you're getting into

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Marketing  in  Seattle, WA (US)
    Former Employee - Marketing in Seattle, WA (US)

    Pros

    The name will precede you. This company can legitimately be called a "Disruptor" and perhaps even a world-changer. Customers love it and it's amazing to watch it all unfold at times. It's a pleasure to be even a small part of that.

    Even low-level employees are given some ownership, more than they might in some other places. Processes like the customer service andon cord demonstrate this.

    Pay is mostly good, with some caveats (see the Cons section).

    You will learn a ton. You'll be put through the ringer, but will emerge stronger for it. It's been said that a year at Amazon = two years elsewhere. That's definitely true. You'll learn business, supply chain, tech, retail, you name it. You're surrounded by smart people who challenge you to grow constantly. That was one of my favorite parts about working here.

    You can bring your dog to the office, dress code is casual, and South Lake Union is a fun neighborhood to work in. Seattle is stunningly beautiful in the summer, too (if you have time to enjoy it, that is.)

    Bezos is one of the few CEOs I've seen who earns the glowing reputation. He's a genius and a visionary. It's exciting to work in his company, though the thought of what will happen when he moves on is also a bit frightening.

    Cons

    "Work-life balance" means different things to different people, so I'm not going to say it's bad here per se. That said, long hours are the norm at all levels across the company, and usually that's required and expected just to keep up. Expect 60 hours as your baseline year round and 70 or more during Q4. You should expect that your time and mental energy for kids, hobbies, etc. will be extremely limited. Plan accordingly. Whether this is a negative will depend largely on the individual; just ensure you know where you stand on this before you sign an offer letter.

    That Amazon is a massive company with tons of smart people at all levels can actually be a huge negative. You might be a solid individual contributor, but so is absolutely everyone else - and you're all fighting for the same attention. It can be very hard to stand out, and you have to ensure your manager and your manager's manager know what value you bring at all times or you're toast. (You may still be toast regardless.) That means politics, backstabbing, and stack ranking do occur, despite some claims to the contrary. People definitely look out for themselves and themselves alone here; it's not a collaborative environment. It's also very easy to get the sense that you are a highly expendable cog even if your contributions bring significant value to the company. Plan to fight for yourself hard here, and be prepared to not get much acknowledgment or praise. Even if you do prove yourself well, know that advancement opportunities are limited. Most transfers in my observation were lateral, with big new hires being external. I've heard that the strategy of many people is to do a few intense years of lateral moves which can then be leveraged into a higher position at another company.

    Compensation is a mixed bag. Salaries are just average, but you get a huge signing bonus and stock which vests in strange increments over four years. Since the average employee lasts less than two years, you will not see most of that stock and you may need to repay some of that signing bonus (usually awarded over two years) if you leave or are pushed out. Raises are very, very small each year - your salary will not substantially increase even with a good review. Most people work startup hours, so their effective pay rate is pretty low. Additionally, the company espouses frugality as a core value. While this can be a positive, it also means they're downright cheap on some things, including hardware. Employee perks are pretty much nonexistent, and that's compared to most big companies and not just the Googles of the world. Benefits like health insurance and 401k match are mediocre at best. No free Prime accounts. No paid parental leave; moms get disability and dads get zip. (As in zero. None.) I did mention earlier that this isn't the most kid-friendly company to work for.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's great to work at a place that highly values customer experience, so please keep that up. Work on your compensation - it's not competitive when compared to other tech giants. If I'm going to work as hard or as much as I did, at least I'd get free haircuts and food and massages at Google. Hell, even some paid paternity leave would be a start.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 8 people found this helpful  

    Opportunity like nowhere else

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager  in  Palo Alto, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Software Development Manager in Palo Alto, CA (US)

    Pros

    Great place to get things done and grow your resume. You are working with really smart people and have access to a lot of enablers. The culture here enshrines "bias for action" which is your license to cut through the red tape when it gets in the way.

    Cons

    Low titles, lack of performance pay. The appearance of frugality is valued beyond its business benefit. This can make you feel less valued regardless of your salary. Stack ranking encourages people to play the system rather than do the right thing. Negotiate hard before you arrive.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The first few performance reviews here are tougher than they should be and lead to attrition. Managers have to play the system to give promotions and money where they can. Because overall Amazon has been so successful, upper management has failed to recognize the cost of this attrition and how much better performance could be without this problem. We are using up our talent pool and our competitors are skilled at playing up the negative aspects of the culture here.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Learning Experience!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Luxembourg (Luxembourg)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Luxembourg (Luxembourg)

    Pros

    Work with people with amazing backgrounds
    Learn from a variety of businesses (E-commerce, Digital content, Logistics, etc)
    Young and fun coworkers, easy to make friends with
    Dynamic and fast moving environment
    Customer-focused and data-driven

    Cons

    Frugality: always expected to do more with less
    Competitive environment: harder to move up than other companies (visibility and communication are key)
    Long working hours

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    N/A

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    It all depends on your team

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer Intern  in  Seattle, WA (US)
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer Intern in Seattle, WA (US)

    Pros

    Amazon is like a company of companies. You will have different experiences depending on which team you work on. I say this because, I interned at Amazon twice... on different teams. You can't judge the company as a whole when it comes to your work experience. Also, your manager is very important, when it comes to dictating your experience at Amazon.

    The general pros of working here:

    -So many smart people, you will find a lot of diversity here as well.
    -Interesting projects and products that they have
    -Great salary, relocation, and starting bonuses
    -Working from Home is an option, as long as you get your work done
    -Lots and lots of different technologies used spread through different teams
    -You can come in to work late... How late depends on team of course.
    -You may get invited to free fun events! ie: Free food, sports, etc. (very team dependent)

    Cons

    -Work-life balance can be pretty bad. I've had experiences where people get to leave early or late. It depends on the person and how much work is assigned to them. Also, of course, their skill level
    -A lot of tasks are assigned to you
    -On-call can be hectic, this is team dependent, some teams have a easier On-call experience then others...
    -Code base might be outdated, and annoying to work with
    -You may plateau in learning, depending on what your team does, (Maintenance vs Creating)

    Before joining Amazon, try to look into which teams are generally good and which aren't. I won't lie, that is, most of the teams tend to get bombarded with work and stay at work late.

    Overall, it's a nice company to work for.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Lower the work load, make employees more happier.
    -Measure each team's work load and try to make team bigger if it's too high.
    -Add overtime salary for people that have to stay late
    -More fun events for all teams.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Lots of freedom and flexibility

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer I  in  Seattle, WA (US)
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer I in Seattle, WA (US)

    Pros

    Great opportunities for career growth, project/product ownership, and lots of freedom and flexibility at the job. Perfect location in the city.

    Cons

    Salary raises are basically non-existent. The company is very frugal, often pushing the limits of restricted resources.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    amazon

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Hardware Support Engineer  in  Dublin, Dublin (Ireland)
    Former Employee - Hardware Support Engineer in Dublin, Dublin (Ireland)

    Pros

    there personal development plan for every engineer is excellent . the company is all surrounded by providing the best support to their staff to get the best quality out of their engineers

    Cons

    The interview process is very long but it is worth it if you get the position you appled for

  9.  

    Overall I've had a great experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Fulfillment Associate  in  Whitestown, IN (US)
    Current Employee - Fulfillment Associate in Whitestown, IN (US)

    Pros

    Training is offered in many roles as an associate. One can decide which role they would like to obtain. If desired after a year of employment amazon will pay 95% of tuition up to 3,000 a year. The benefits are very good,especially their insurance, 401K, discounts, and the people are always positive.

    Cons

    I would say the biggest downfall is communication within the company. Change is constant. Some say the "rate" of production is unreasonable, I find it easy to obtain if someone is willing to just do their job. Core values are not implemented on the floor.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need to spend more time with employees engaging their issues instead of advising them they will follow , which they do not. Personal growth is only utilized if you have a bachelors degree, which holds a lot of potential behind. Overall Amazon is a great place to work, I just wish the advancement opporutunities didn't end at entry level management without a 4 year degree

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Great for learning, hard on work-life balance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager, Vendor Management  in  Seattle, WA (US)
    Current Employee - Manager, Vendor Management in Seattle, WA (US)

    Pros

    One of the best companies in terms of learning opportunities, the quality of your peers, and the overall quality of management and vision.

    Cons

    Total compensation is great, as long as you are willing to take a low base salary and a lot of stock, particularly in management positions. Amazon supplements your base for the first two years with cash bonuses, but after the third year the compensation is base + RSU vests. So if the stock price increases, you make good money. If it goes down, you find yourself making less than market value.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Sr. Product Manager

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great experience for a fresh MBA grad

    Cons

    Getting promoted is very difficult, management doesn't plan for employees career path

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Employee engagement

    Disapproves of CEO

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