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Working for Amazon

By joshuatrio following x   2012 Sep 26, 1:47pm 7,727 views   27 comments   watch   nsfw   quote     share    


So, I have a new low perception of Amazon after today. Despite being a huge fan of the low prices and free shipping for Prime - they may not get to much more of my business.

I was offered a position as a Sr. Technician for one of their new distribution centers. After multiple interviews, phone - then they flew me to the east coast for a face to face - they offered me a position. But with a really freaking low ball salary. $20k under what I make now. My current salary is in line for my level of education, experience and knowledge. No, I do not make six figures, nor way overpaid - but pretty much about where I should be and am able to save a little bit each month, taking care of a family of 4.

Taking a pay cut to move east would generally be ok - but the cut would put me back at almost entry level status, to what I haven't made in 4 years.

Despite nailing all the technical questions, and having more than sufficient experience - including project management, IT management, server and network enterprise level experience - they lowballed the living daylights out of me - when I asked for a salary match in line with national standards. What a stupid waste of time.

Despite submitting salary requirements on the application, despite verbally telling them the requirements during both interviews, and despite them flying my 3000 miles for a face to face - a multi billion dollar company hands out crap offers with a firm take it or leave it attitude.

Initially excited to move back near family and work for a huge tech company - this one will have to pass. It was borderline exploitation.

Thanks for listening to my rant.

1   elliemae   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 26, 6:00pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

I went to a presentation by Zappos, a company that bought the old City Hall in Vegas and is revamping the place. The CEO, Tony someone, is using some of his own money (I'm sure not alot, since he's not stupid) to revamp Vegas. He says he believes in Vegas.

The dude speaking to us discussed the culture of change at Zappos and how it's non-traditional. He spoke of their lower than average turnover and how they have "parades" where staff members wander through the building singing or acting goofy. It's all about the non-traditional there. The guy speaking to us discussed many things...

but then he spoke of their salaries. He said that salary isn't the reason that people stay in their jobs. That they hire & train their own people their own way because they have a special way of operating. He said that they pay a lower than average starting wage because they believe that "loyalty can't be bought."

Seriously.

No wonder they have a low turnover. They hire untrained people for shit wages, expect them to work long hours and make them think that they're part of something "bigger."

The something "bigger" is their parent company - Amazon.

2   joshuatrio   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 27, 12:57am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

elliemae says

No wonder they have a low turnover. They hire untrained people for shit wages, expect them to work long hours and make them think that they're part of something "bigger."

The something "bigger" is their parent company - Amazon.

Thanks Elliemae. Makes sense. I read some of the stories online about people having the same experience.

Even aware of the culture - working long hours, being on call etc... Even taking a cut in pay - I was ok with that - considering that cost of living is lower out there. But at least be "reasonable."

elliemae says

He says he believes in Vegas.

Doubt that. More along the lines of "Vegas is in the hole" - people will work for nothing.

3   EBGuy   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 27, 10:20am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Californawages. I think there's a song in there.
JT, its time for you to establish a beach head in the Bear Flag Republic. The California Dream begins with a Prop 13 tax basis. Its a Mediterranean climate for cryin' out loud; the whole freakin' world wants to live here. Embrace the madness.
PS - were stock options part of the package?

4   someone else   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 27, 10:29am   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I worked for Amazon for a year (their A9 subsidiary in Palo Alto) and it was mixed. The facilities and most of the co-workers were very good, but the pay was much less than I had been making previously. Actually 22% lower than my previous salary, but I really needed the job at the time. And Amazon offered a job one week after I interviewed. I liked that. I had also interviewed at Yahoo which took 7 weeks and finally offered somewhat more money on the very same day Amazon did.

Amazon was good for a while, but after a year there I got a new boss who was really bad. I couldn't find a suitable transfer job, so I quit.

5   Goran_K   ignore (3)   2012 Sep 27, 10:33am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        


but after a year there I got a new boss who was really bad.

What sucked about him?

6   Tenpoundbass   ignore (14)   2012 Sep 27, 10:54am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (3)   quote   flag        

I avoid large corporations(like F500 or Public companies) like the plague. Unless it is a gig where I work from home as a consultant, and only a resource for one person buffered from the HR and other internal politics.

I wont even entertain Ryder, Carnival, American Express, and a few other South Florida corporations.Though I did enjoy doing contract work for Kaplan and Bacardi for 4 years, but only because I was able to work from home.

7   joshuatrio   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 28, 12:44am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

CaptainShuddup says

I avoid large corporations(like F500 or Public companies) like the plague. Unless it is a gig where I work from home as a consultant, and only a resource for one person buffered from the HR and other internal politics.

I wont even entertain Ryder, Carnival, American Express, and a few other South Florida corporations.Though I did enjoy doing contract work for Kaplan and Bacardi for 4 years, but only because I was able to work from home.

I've worked for some large Fortune rated companies that have been hit/miss. One was based out of Canada that was EXTREMELY efficient, performance based, and they really took care of their employees - IT was centralized and they had a really good staff. Would go back to work for them if they had a Cali location.... The other was US based and it was a scattered mess of finger pointing, semi-centralized IT.

Being in defense contracting for the past 3-4 years - government is hands down the worst. Most government folks I know earn at, or near six figures and literally do nothing all day. They just want to put in their 20 years and be done with it. Crappy way to live if you ask me.

As for Carnival... Knew a guy at Motion computing in Austin who worked for either them or Royal Caribbean and loved it. What is it that you didn't like about those guys?

8   Goran_K   ignore (3)   2012 Sep 28, 12:47am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

Joshua, do you have experience with becoming GSA/Section8a certified? I saw you mentioned defense contracting.

9   joshuatrio   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 28, 12:57am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Goran_K says

Joshua, do you have experience with becoming GSA/Section8a certified? I saw you mentioned defense contracting.

Can't say that I do. Although I've helped write several proposals (in response to government RFP's) for our current team - which we ended up winning the last 2 year contract.

Creating an 8a business has always been in the back of my mind - know a couple people who are in the business and appear to be doing well.

10   Tenpoundbass   ignore (14)   2012 Sep 28, 12:58am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (3)   quote   flag        

joshuatrio says

As for Carnival... Knew a guy at Motion computing in Austin who worked for either them or Royal Caribbean and loved it. What is it that you didn't like about those guys?

The turn over rate, as many times through out the years I've been called by recruiters. They could have staffed an Army by now.
I'm just weary of companies that aren't sure what they want. What they think they need are whims of who's hiring today, and who they know they don't need, are the relics of those guys when management changes hands.
A few years back, I was called for a Sharepoint position when Sharepoint was barely out of candidate release one. They were acting like they were looking for a Sharepoint person that has been doing Sharepoint for 20 years.
It's a Microsoft product for crying out loud. Its not like we're talking about JDE or SAP. I have never met a Microsoft product I couldn't install and get up and running in a relative short time. Exchange, SQL, Biztalk, Sharepoint, though all different products. The methods to create roles and tasks are quite similar. As for programming there's this neat little thing called .Net libraries. HR departments look for buzzwords on the resume, but I find they are all ways looking for the WRONG buzzwords.
Or they would have hired the right person by now.

11   joshuatrio   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 28, 1:05am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

CaptainShuddup says

A few years back, I was called for a Sharepoint position when Sharepoint was barely out of candidate release one. They were acting like they were looking for a Sharepoint person that has been doing Sharepoint for 20 years.
It's a Microsoft product for crying out loud. Its not like we're talking about JDE or SAP. I have never met a Microsoft product I couldn't install and get up and running in a relative short time. Exchange, SQL, Biztalk, Sharepoint, though all different products. The methods to create roles and tasks are quite similar. As for programming there's this neat little thing called .Net libraries. HR departments look for buzzwords on the resume, but I find they are all ways looking for the WRONG buzzwords.

Oh man, that made me laugh. I hate Sharepoint with a passion - ran a local site for a small division for a few years... It's pretty basic, but Microsoft botched the permissions just enough to make it counter intuitive for an administrator... Either that, or it was dumbed down enough for a basic user to administer. My guess is that it was dumbed down.

All in all, just playing around with it for a couple hours and you've pretty much mastered it.

12   zzyzzx   ignore (1)   2012 Sep 28, 6:14am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

joshuatrio says

they offered me a position. But with a really freaking low ball salary. $20k under what I make now. My current salary is in line for my level of education, experience and knowledge.

Would be more relevant if we knew what the difference in the cost of living is between where you are now and where the new job is. For all I know, you were expecting a CA salary in someplace like Harrisburg, PA.

13   someone else   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 28, 6:32am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Goran_K says

but after a year there I got a new boss who was really bad.

What sucked about him?

Deepak, the new boss, was ridiculously authoritarian and bureaucratic compared to my previous boss, Dave, who was great. Deepak insisted that I just follow orders without question, which is not how American programmers work. Maybe in India it's that way. The really horrible part is that I helped interview Deepak and recommended he be hired. Huge mistake!

The final straw was when we were in some meeting about fixing the excessive complexity of an internal reporting system, and Deepak wanted to make it vastly more complex instead of less, I think because it would give him an excuse to hire more programmers and create more dependency on his group. I just couldn't handle it.

It's important to be able to enjoy your work, and the people you work with.

14   Tenpoundbass   ignore (14)   2012 Sep 28, 7:02am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (2)   quote   flag        

joshuatrio says

All in all, just playing around with it for a couple hours and you've pretty much mastered it.

That's why I tell them I'm not interested then hang up when they act like basic usage or administration is some daunting task that takes a mensa to use.

Now if they were to quiz me on the .Net libraries and the particulars of registering web parts, I could play along with them.

We were hiring a SSRS guy for a project I'm working on. The guy hiring was going to quiz on the SSRS UI. I asked him what was the point of that, if anyone can't make their way around the MS nomenclature in any given service or snap in then do we really need them? I told him to ask them proper TSQL questions. 90% of the guys with 2 and 3 years SSRS experience on their resume could not answer most of the TSQL questions. The Cat we finally found not only knew crap about SSRS we never dreamed was possible, but also knows the best way to query the data, rather than just using where and hopes it all works out.

15   joshuatrio   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 28, 8:17am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

zzyzzx says

joshuatrio says

they offered me a position. But with a really freaking low ball salary. $20k under what I make now. My current salary is in line for my level of education, experience and knowledge.

Would be more relevant if we knew what the difference in the cost of living is between where you are now and where the new job is. For all I know, you were expecting a CA salary in someplace like Harrisburg, PA.

If the homeowner isn't insulted by your offer...you didn't bid low enough!!!

You're right. But given education/experience/demonstrated knowledge - all that was expected was a fair salary... Here's a little more:

-$20k pay cut
-Would go from 4 weeks PTO, to 1-2 weeks
-10 paid holidays, to 6
-$5500/yr in education to ZERO
-ZERO relocation
-Medical coverage about the same

Last job offer I had back east was actually a bump in pay, but no relocation. Last year I even had an offer in Mississippi - which is about the cheapest place on earth - with relocation - plus about $15k, excellent benefits.

So, all things considered, it looks like Amazon is all about taking advantage others. Not only is their salary crap - as I've mentioned, and Patrick has mentioned - but their benefits package is on the weaker side.

CaptainShuddup says

That's why I tell them I'm not interested then hang up when they act like basic usage or administration is some daunting task that takes a mensa to use.

Lol !

16   zzyzzx   ignore (1)   2012 Sep 28, 9:43am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (3)   quote   flag        

joshuatrio says

Last job offer I had back east was actually a bump in pay, but no relocation. Last year I even had an offer in Mississippi - which is about the cheapest place on earth - with relocation - plus about $15k, excellent benefits.

And the reason why you didn't take that job was???

17   Politicofact   ignore (4)   2012 Sep 28, 9:51am   ↑ like (4)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

20k pay cut from what?

This is shocking to me that Amazon play ball like this. Very!

18   joshuatrio   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 28, 11:54pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

zzyzzx says

joshuatrio says

Last job offer I had back east was actually a bump in pay, but no relocation. Last year I even had an offer in Mississippi - which is about the cheapest place on earth - with relocation - plus about $15k, excellent benefits.

And the reason why you didn't take that job was???

If the homeowner isn't insulted by your offer...you didn't bid low enough!!!

It was Mississippi.

Politicofact says

This is shocking to me that Amazon play ball like this. Very!

Apparently Patrick had a similar situation... so it's not that shocking. Plenty of stories online about it.

19   tatupu70   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 29, 1:13am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

joshuatrio says

Apparently Patrick had a similar situation... so it's not that shocking. Plenty of stories online about it.

I'm only surprised that they wasted all that time and effort after you made clear what your salary expectations were. Unless they think that people are so anxious to work for Amazon that they'll change their mind when the offer comes...

20   Goran_K   ignore (3)   2012 Sep 29, 1:41am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        


Deepak, the new boss, was ridiculously authoritarian and bureaucratic compared to my previous boss, Dave, who was great. Deepak insisted that I just follow orders without question, which is not how American programmers work. Maybe in India it's that way. The really horrible part is that I helped interview Deepak and recommended he be hired. Huge mistake!

Was he a good programmer?

My brother is a senior staff programmer at Fidelity Investment. He says the worst part of the job is that his direct supervisor hasn't written a line of code in 10-15 years, but tries to portray himself as technical, even though he has no idea what he's talking about.

21   bradmando   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 29, 1:48am   ↑ like (3)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Amazon is a retailer. Retailers make slim margins and do not pay well.

22   joshuatrio   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 29, 3:41am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

tatupu70 says

I'm only surprised that they wasted all that time and effort after you made clear what your salary expectations were. Unless they think that people are so anxious to work for Amazon that they'll change their mind when the offer comes...

That seems to be the case - seems to be a common theme with that company.

Lotta similar stories online.

23   American in Japan   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 29, 6:24pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

BTW I have bought a lot (thousands of dollars) of books, DVDs and other items from Amazon, the past 10 or 11 years. However, if they don't offer more discounts I will probably cut my purchases from them 50-70%.

(Sorry this is somewhat off thread)

24   someone else   ignore (0)   2012 Sep 30, 2:47am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Goran_K says

Was he a good programmer?

I don't know, because he was just managing and not writing code.

He certainly did not understand the idea that simplicity keeps code maintainable.

25   joshuatrio   ignore (0)   2012 Oct 1, 1:50am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

American in Japan says

BTW I have bought a lot (thousands of dollars) of books, DVDs and other items from Amazon, the past 10 or 11 years. However, if they don't offer more discounts I will probably cut my purchases from them 50-70%.

I believe all the mass distribution centers being built - are in response to having pay online sales tax.

In other words, they want to offer free, or overnight shipping to compensate for the taxes the customers will have to pay. Trying to keep prices the same.

By having the distribution centers all over the US - it cuts down on ship time.

I do wonder what's going to happen with Amazon - looks like prices are going to rise a little bit, and WalMart just killed the kindle... Not to mention, it looks like the kindle was created just to sell more crap from China.

26   APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch   ignore (41)   2012 Oct 1, 2:16am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Welcome to Sweatshop America!

Last stop before Cannibal Anarchy.

27   freak80   ignore (4)   2012 Oct 1, 2:42am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

APOCALYPSEFUCK is Shostakovich says

Welcome to Sweatshop America!

Are we surprised?

In a global economy, everyone makes Bangladesh wages.

Who sold us on Globalization?

It wasn't only the Republicans.


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