Why I enjoy working at Amazon

I recently passed my 2 year work anniversary at Amazon. I’ve been in the Payments Platform organization since October of 2014 and I recently had the opportunity to take a break to reflect on my past 2 years and why I enjoy working at Amazon.

It’s Hard. Really Hard: This may scare away some people. In fact, it regularly does. Much in the same way that certain sports attract certain types of individuals; people who are willing to persist through pain knowing that it helps build muscle. Tim Ferriss in “The Four Hour Work Week” makes an interesting differentiation between “Eustress” and “Distress”:

  • Eustress has the Greek prefix “Eu” for “healthy”. Role models who push us to exceed our limits, physical training that removes our spare tires, and risks that expand our sphere of comfortable action are all examples of eustress – stress that is healthful and the stimulus for growth.
  • Distress refers to harmful stimuli that make you weaker, less confident, and less able. Destructive criticism, abusive bosses, and smashing your face on a curb are examples of this.

Amazon is great for people who understand the dichotomy between these 2 types of stress. Because at Amazon you will find a lot of eustress.

It’s Big. Really Big: It’s still mind boggling to me how big Amazon is. Billions of transactions per year and billions of dollars. Amazon has to think of scaling in a way that no other company needs to do at the same level. It can be intimidating that one minor mistake can cost the company millions of dollars. But the corollary is that the projects you launch bring in billions. That is very exciting.

Customer Focus: Amazon is obsessed with the customer. In requirements sessions, we will always be thinking about what is best for the customer. This has always shown through in my own personal transactions with Amazon. Earphones that stopped working had a replacement sent out with no need to send back the defective unit. I recently had a purchase that wasn’t delivered by the promised date. Because of this, I was refunded the full price for the purchase, all without me contacting them. This sort of obsession is a great competitive advantage for a company. This obsession builds “raving fans” who are willing to stick with a company through thick and thin. While other companies who obsess more over the bottom line (a famous cable-internet company comes to mind) will be in serious trouble when new competition comes along.

Great People to Work With: As you would expect, Amazon has really smart people. But what you also find are people who are owners and who are willing to work together towards a common goal. It’s really something special to be a part of when you get these type of people in a room. Egos get pushed to the side, people are willing to admit when they don’t know something, and people come together to work towards a common goal.

If this sounds like a good match for you, Amazon recently announced that it is planning to create 100,000 new jobs over the next 18 months. If you want to come be a part of this company, send me an email and I’ll help you get connected.

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