The New York Times just published an exposé of how difficult life is at Amazon. I suppose their goal was to make us feel bad for their poor employees. Now, to be clear, I’m happy to criticize Amazon when they deserve to be criticized--I completely disagree with their decision to not pay their employees during security checks--even though the Supreme Court agreed with them. I just don’t have a problem with a company that demands a lot from their employees.

Amazon corporate employees work long hours, don’t get fancy benefits and free lunches, and are expected to dedicate their souls to the company. It’s so awful that Amazon kidnaps people off the street and forces them to work for them. I mean, why haven’t police or the FBI broken down Amazon’s doors and freed these poor people?

Oh, I get it, because these people work there voluntarily. They work there because the paychecks they receive are worth the time and effort they have to put into the job. If it wasn’t worth it to them, they would put in their two week’s notice and quit. They would go get different jobs. If enough people left, Amazon would either change their culture or go broke. Neither appears to be happening.

In fact, some people seem to thrive on it. The New York Times states:

At its best, some employees said, Amazon can feel like the Bezos vision come to life, a place willing to embrace risk and strengthen ideas by stress test. Employees often say their co-workers are the sharpest, most committed colleagues they have ever met, taking to heart instructions in the leadership principles like "never settle" and "no task is beneath them."

So many people would love to work in a place where everyone is on top of their game and dedicated to working hard. So many of our workplace struggles come from incompetent or uncaring co-workers. It would be a dream to have great departments.

But, surely, not everyone feels that way. Hence, the article. Dedicated and constant work can cause problems. An unnamed executive eventually developed an ulcer after constant work, including spending most of her vacation working.

Any company that could drive you to such extremes must be awful--except that she could have left at any time. It’s doubtful that there are no other companies out there that wouldn’t jump at the chance to snap up such a dedicated employee.

In fact, there are many other companies that demand and receive dedicated employees. The pay is usually good, and the experiences valuable. I once worked for a company that would receive 1,000 résumés a week when we were expanding. This was also a place where all the good parking spots were taken by 7:00 a.m. People worked long and hard. But the pay was great. The people were great. And people wanted to work there.

People want to work for Amazon as well. It’s not a surprise that they do. It’s a prestigious company with good pay and good people. If it’s hard to work there, it’s hard to work there. Plenty of people reading this article have worked or do work for companies that demand long hours and vacations filled with phone calls and emails. If it’s worth it to you, work there. If it’s not, find something else. It’s your choice.

Published on: Aug 17, 2015