As a current Amazonian, there are a few reasons that come to mind.
- Amazon is micromanaged to hell and back. The leadership puts a tremendous amount of power in the hands of mid-level managers and then forces them to bear a great amount of stress and ownership to produce results. This permeates through every aspect of Amazon ‘s culture and contributes to its cutthroat and tiring environment.
- Amazon is shameless. Everything the company does is customer-centric, but this comes at a significant cost to the people who make the customer’s orders possible. Lower level Amazon employees are extremely expendable and the company isn’t afraid to remind them that it isn’t personal, but just business. When you’re dealing with people’s lives though, it just isn’t that simple.
- Amazon’s health, dental, and vision benefits are really good, but you definitely earn them and will need them. I have never met another employee who doesn’t work extremely hard at their job. However, there is a lot of duplicity with Amazon’s compensation structure. From the big payout offer to leave (which has a negative opportunity cost and is financially absurd) to the RSU vesting schedule (which is the main reason so many people don’t leave after a few months) it is all designed to benefit the company while giving you the illusion that it’s some awesome marketing or philosophical ploy.
- Amazon doesn’t inspire internal trust among colleagues. Amazon Connections is a glorified snitching mechanism that when combined with the Phone Tool shows a tremendous amount of information about each employee, and the ability to see the tree of anyone’s command chain is creepy. Also, publicizing the leveling system among employees definitively affects the way many people are treated. A quick search of who you’re talking too in the Phone Tool can make a ticket that takes 3 hours take 6 days.
- Finally, escalation is discouraged. There is a running gag that emailing or calling Jeff Bezos with your company resources is the quickest way to get fired, contrary to his requests that people reach out to him internally. Senior HR or legal officials my resolve a problem that you raise to them but there’s always a retaliatory result that could result in you losing your job.
There are many other untouched issues from software/wiki/trouble tickets to leave of absences but these are the main issues that come to mind.