You are dying of cancer. You have just lost your unborn child. You have to care for your dying father. You are worthless. You are unproductive. Your colleagues hate you. They have reported you. You deserve to be fired.
Welcome to the Amazon way.
All of those examples I used in the first paragraph are real. They are all things that have happened to Amazon employees. Here are some relevant paragraphs from the NYT piece:
[A member of the Kindle team] began traveling to care for her father, who was suffering from cancer, and cut back working on nights and weekends, her status changed. She was blocked from transferring to a less pressure-filled job, she said, and her boss told her she was “a problem.” As her father was dying, she took unpaid leave to care for him and never returned to Amazon.
A woman who had thyroid cancer was given a low performance rating after she returned from treatment. She says her manager explained that while she was out, her peers were accomplishing a great deal.
Another employee who miscarried twins left for a business trip the day after she had surgery. “I’m sorry, the work is still going to need to get done,” she said her boss told her. “From where you are in life, trying to start a family, I don’t know if this is the right place for you.”
…a woman who had breast cancer was told that she was put on a “performance improvement plan” — Amazon code for “you’re in danger of being fired”
……a former human resources executive said she was required to put a woman who had recently returned after undergoing serious surgery, and another who had just had a stillborn child, on performance improvement plans, accounts that were corroborated by a co-worker still at Amazon. “What kind of company do we want to be?” the executive recalled asking her bosses.
Later in the piece, the NYT ponders the question of why Amazon has no female managers in its most senior leadership team. Is it that hard to see why? It appears quite clear that having a child or providing care to a family member is not and will not be valued.
On the basis of the management philosophy outlined in this article and many – though less brutal – examinations of Jeff Bezos’ vision for the company he founded, I don’t believe we should look at Amazon as a corporation at all. It is a cult that sells things. You either give up your life to it or are crushed by it.
Had L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, been starting out his manipulation project now, he would have invented Amazon. It has more casually and effectively embedded itself into our lives than any traditional cult ever could.
The reporting has finally pushed me to the conclusion that I *cannot* in good conscience continue to support Amazon. I know my individual spending will make no discernible difference to the company’s bottom line, it’s a stone flung into an ocean, but I can’t support a company I now consider actively evil.– Amazon is a company that sells things, be it cloud services or groceries, IT applications or physical books. It is changing the world but not in ways that even remotely justify the institutionalized cruelty.