By Brooke Harrington, Opinion Writer
I think most people can agree that every student with a major in business, computer science, or anything of that relation would drop everything for a job offer at Amazon Inc. Amazon is an uncontrollable monster of a company that has extreme power and influence with its assets and leverage within the industry. Very few people know Amazon from the inside out, as its corporate functions are largely kept secret.
Amazon is a place that will not let anyone or anything stop it from achieving its goal. The Fourteen Leadership Principles that Jeff Bezos has claimed are the mold and characteristics of his organization exemplify the idea that Amazon is driven to make its vision a reality. Some of these leadership qualities are: ownership, invent and simplify, learn and be curious, hire and develop leaders, and insist on high standards. Bezos wants people to exceed his own standards, which prompt people to believe that success will breed in those that have the fourteen leadership qualities. Amazon may definitely be the right place for you to jumpstart your career, but that is only if you can make it past the work ethic that is involved. This work ethic includes the strong encouragement of tearing your co-worker’s ideas apart, emails arriving past midnight followed by text messages questioning why they have gone unanswered, and an internal phone directory which allows you to give secret feedback about colleagues (which employees have suggested is used for sabotage).
Bezos believes that the only way Amazon Inc. can achieve its vision for the future is to have strength in the company, and let nothing stop the goal. Not even sleep, pregnancy, or personal issues, as some workers have said that they have been treated “unfairly” due to these common life interruptions. The Amazon workplace implies a “purposeful Darwinism” in order to cut out workers that are holding back the company. Bo Olson, a former marketer for Amazon described the harsh reality of working at such a powerful company by saying “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desks.” On the other hand, Susan Harker, top recruiter for Amazon claims that “This is a company that strives to do really big, innovative, and ground-breaking things…When you’re shooting for the moon, the nature of the work is really challenging. For some people it doesn’t work.” One has to truly question their values before accepting an Amazon offer, because one has to think about if they will be the thriving species, or the one killed off by this Darwinism effect in the workplace.
Although Amazon seems like an anomaly in the work place, as its working conditions seem unbearable to some, many claimed that they “thrived at Amazon precisely because it pushed them past what they thought were their limits”. The idea behind the cut throat nature of the company is that “conflict brings about innovation.” This tension is what can motivate people to push themselves beyond what they had ever expected. This tension leads to success, innovation, and more ideas and inventions that no one would ever expect. This tension leads Amazonians to understand that they have not even “scratched the surface” on what the future has install for technology as well as the company itself. Personally, all I can see this company culture as is a vehicle to growth, innovation, and success. Although some people may be leaving Amazon after only two years in the workplace, the fact that they were able to endure the nature of the company is quite unique. It is definitely a place to jump start your career, one just has to question if Amazon is the end all be all, or just the beginning.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 21st print edition.
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