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She was blocked from transferring to a less pressure-filled job, she said, and her boss told her she was "a problem. 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. 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" — because "difficulties" in her "personal life" had interfered with fulfilling her work goals. Their accounts echoed others from workers who had suffered health crises and felt they had also been judged harshly instead of being given time to recover.

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.

The mother of the stillborn child soon left Amazon. Berman, the spokesman, said such responses to employees' crises were "not our policy or practice. Harker, the top recruiter, available to describe the leadership team's strong support over the last two years as her husband battled a rare cancer.

Several employment lawyers in the Seattle area said they got regular calls from Amazon workers complaining of unfair treatment, including those who said they had been pushed out for "not being sufficiently devoted to the company," said Michael Subit. But that is not a basis for a suit by itself, he said.

Without clear evidence of discrimination, it is difficult to win a suit based on a negative evaluation, she said. For all of the employees who are edged out, many others flee, exhausted or unwilling to further endure the hardships for the cause of delivering swim goggles and rolls of Scotch tape to customers just a little quicker. Jason Merkoski, 42, an engineer, worked on the team developing the first Kindle e-reader and served as a technology evangelist for Amazon, traveling the world to learn how people used the technology so it could be improved.

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He left Amazon in and then returned briefly in Amazon retains new workers in part by requiring them to repay a part of their signing bonus if they leave within a year, and a portion of their hefty relocation fees if they leave within two years. Several fathers said they left or were considering quitting because of pressure from bosses or peers to spend less time with their families.

Many tech companies are racing to top one another's family leave policies — Netflix just began offering up to a year of paid parental leave. Amazon, though, offers no paid paternity leave. In interviews, year-old men were convinced Amazon would replace them with year-olds who could put in more hours, and year-olds were sure that the company preferred to hire somethings who would outwork them.

After Max Shipley, a father of two young children, left this spring, he wondered if Amazon would "bring in college kids who have fewer commitments, who are single, who have more time to focus on work. Shipley is Amazon insists its reputation for high attrition is misleading. A survey by PayScale, a salary analysis firm, put the median employee tenure at one year, among the briefest in the Fortune Amazon officials insisted tenure was low because hiring was so robust, adding that only 15 percent of employees had been at the company more than five years.

Turnover is consistent with others in the technology industry, they said, but declined to disclose any data. Employees, human resources executives and recruiters describe a steady exodus. Those departures are not a failure of the system, many current and former employees say, but rather the logical conclusion: mass intake of new workers, who help the Amazon machine spin and then wear out, leaving the most committed Amazonians to survive.

Hoofien's comment. It's like panning for gold. The employees who stream from the Amazon exits are highly desirable because of their work ethic, local recruiters say. In recent years, companies like Facebook and LinkedIn have opened large Seattle offices, and they benefit from the Amazon outflow. Recruiters, though, also say that other businesses are sometimes cautious about bringing in Amazon workers, because they have been trained to be so combative.

The derisive local nickname for Amazon employees is "Amholes" — pugnacious and work-obsessed.


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Call them what you will, their ranks are rapidly increasing. Amazon is finishing a floor office tower near its South Lake Union campus and building another tower next to it. It plans a third next to that and has space for two more high-rises. By the time the dust settles in three years, Amazon will have enough space for 50, employees or so, more than triple what it had as recently as Those new workers will strive to make Amazon the first trillion-dollar retailer, in the hope that just about everyone will be watching Amazon movies and playing Amazon games on Amazon tablets while they tell their Amazon Echo communications device that they need an Amazon-approved plumber and new lawn chairs, and throw in some Amazon potato chips as well.

Maybe it will happen. Liz Pearce spent two years at Amazon, managing projects like its wedding registry. But just as Jeff Bezos was able to see the future of e-commerce before anyone else, she added, he was able to envision a new kind of workplace: fluid but tough, with employees staying only a short time and employers demanding the maximum. Pearce, who now runs her own Seattle software company, which is well stocked with ex-Amazonians. The retailer is already showing some strain from its rapid growth. Even for entry-level jobs, it is hiring on the East Coast, and many employees are required to hand over all their contacts to company recruiters at "LinkedIn" parties.

In Seattle alone, more than 4, jobs are open, including one for an analyst specializing in "high-volume hiring. Some companies, faced with such an overwhelming need for new bodies, might scale back their ambitions or soften their message. Not Amazon. In a recent recruiting video, one young woman warns: "You either fit here or you don't.

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Human Resources and Employment Services. Amazon Rising. Boxes move along a conveyor belt at an Amazon fulfillment center in Tracy, California. Amazon: Here is the price war winner so far "Organizations are turning up the dial, pushing their teams to do more for less money, either to keep up with the competition or just stay ahead of the executioner's blade," said Clay Parker Jones, a consultant who helps old-line businesses become more responsive to change.

A philosophy of work Jeff Bezos turned to data-driven management very early. He added that he usually worked 85 or more hours a week and rarely took a vacation. When "all" isn't good enough Molly Jay, an early member of the Kindle team, said she received high ratings for years. Related Tags. Trending Now. Here's everything Amazon just announced.


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A warning sign arose when the company stopped stocking free aspirin and Tylenol. Because Amazon's stock price was close to an all-time high at the time Daisey left, his decision was met with widespread ridicule by most of his friends and family. Thankfully, Daisy spares the reader from I-told-you-so gloating about how he knew all along that Amazon's stock price wouldn't keep tripling every six months. Instead, he spends his time post-Amazon wallowing on the couch, watching daytime TV and eventually taking a trip as his stock-option money runs out.

Eventually, he stumbles upon the principle that explains the company's meteoric stock-market rise and its subsequent downward spiral:. Perhaps the final blow to Amazon's momentum came when the world decided that the Seattle company, despite its pretensions to be a one-firm new economy revolution, was, in the end, merely a website that sells stuff.

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Amazon is Moving Worldwide Operations Out of Seattle

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