The Amazon Debate: Maybe the Real Problem Is You, Not Them

So, the media/opinion machine news cycle has just about run its course on Amazon.

The initial story from The New York Times pretty much said that Amazon was EVIL! For two days we got to listen to comments and opinions about how awful Amazon is. The folks at Walmart were happy for a few days as they got pushed out of the “worst employer in retail”category for a while!

But as the cycle moves forward, we all know what happens next. The Amazon machine kicks in and we get to hear about all those people who LOVE Amazon, and what a great place it is to work.

By Day 5, The Onion is making funny headlines and the cycle is over. Then, the media outlets go back to making fun of Trump!

It used to take longer for the cycle to run. It’s so fast now because our attention span is about 13 seconds and we are on to the next thing to get all worked up about.

There’s nothing wrong with Amazon

What’s the reality of this situation? There is nothing wrong with Amazon.

Amazon doesn’t lie and try to hide who they are. In fact, in their employment branding Amazon basically tries to talk you out of working there. They say this place is going to be really hard to work at and you will have the highest expectations you’ve ever had placed upon you. Go away! Don’t apply! You aren’t good enough!

It’s like that kid who applies to Harvard because he’s the smartest kid in his school, only to realize upon arriving that there are actually smarter people than him, way smarter.  In fact, he went from being the smartest in his high school to the dumbest at Harvard.

Welcome to the show. Life is going to hurt for a while.

Amazon, from what we are hearing, is a bitch to work at. Super, unreasonably high expectations. Co-workers and bosses telling you your ideas suck (which they probably do, but no one ever had the guts to tell you). Oh, and you can’t go home every day at 4:30 pm.

The trade off is you get to work on cool stuff, with high levels of responsibility, alongside people who will push you farther in your career than you thought was possible.

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But Tim! I want all that, and I want to only work 40 hours and not get yelled at and get a trophy for showing up most days.

Yeah, maybe you need to get yourself a government job, because this gig isn’t for you.

Maybe you are the problem

You see Amazon isn’t the problem. You are the problem. You thought you could handle this insane environment and you can’t. That isn’t Amazon’s fault.

They didn’t trick you. They told you that you couldn’t handle it and you decided to try it anyway. You failed. That’s OK, many do. There are still really good employers and jobs for you at companies with a culture that will fit you better. Go find that.

There isn’t “one” great way to run a company. If you don’t like how Amazon is running their company, than stop buying their products and don’t apply for their jobs.

No one is making you. Our reality is we would rather buy cheap crap off Amazon than make a real change. Again, that’s a “you” problem, not an Amazon problem.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.

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1 Comment on “The Amazon Debate: Maybe the Real Problem Is You, Not Them

  1. Tim thank you for writing this. I wrote one in the same vein on Apple. People screamed about Steve Jobs —- couldn’t see past his crappy management style. Hey — if people didn’t like it they could leave and many did. But others stayed because as tough as it was to survive Jobs, they learned a TON working for him. That doesn’t mean they were somehow psychologically damaged or weird. They weighed the pros and cons and decided the pain was worth the gain. It’s an individual decision. So give it a break folks.

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