Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld report in the New York Times this weekend about the cut-throat work culture at Amazon. Jokes one former employee, “The joke in the office was that when it came to work/life balance, work came first, life came second, and trying to find the balance came last.” Many tech companies like Google, Netflix and Facebook are creating family friendly benefits to retain employees, but Amazon is not one of them:
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, 40-year-old men were convinced Amazon would replace them with 30-year-olds who could put in more hours, and 30-year-olds were sure that the company preferred to hire 20-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.” Mr. Shipley is 25.