Guide How to Survive Your Promotion : 85 Sure-Fire Ways to Prove They Were Right to Hire You!

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Of all of his management notions, perhaps the most distinctive is his belief that harmony is often overvalued in the workplace — that it can stifle honest critique and encourage polite praise for flawed ideas. At its best, some employees said, Amazon can feel like the Bezos vision come to life, a place willing to embrace risk and strengthen ideas by stress test. The new delivery-by-drone project announced in , for example, was coinvented by a low-level engineer named Daniel Buchmueller.

Last August, Stephenie Landry, an operations executive, joined in discussions about how to shorten delivery times and developed an idea for rushing goods to urban customers in an hour or less. One hundred eleven days later, she was in Brooklyn directing the start of the new service, Prime Now. That becomes possible, she and others said, when everyone follows the dictates of the leadership principles. Company veterans often say the genius of Amazon is the way it drives them to drive themselves. In Amazon warehouses, employees are monitored by sophisticated electronic systems to ensure they are packing enough boxes every hour.


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Amazon came under fire in when workers in an eastern Pennsylvania warehouse toiled in more than degree heat with ambulances waiting outside, taking away laborers as they fell. After an investigation by the local newspaper , the company installed air-conditioning. But in its offices, Amazon uses a self-reinforcing set of management, data and psychological tools to spur its tens of thousands of white-collar employees to do more and more. Some veterans interviewed said they were protected from pressures by nurturing bosses or worked in relatively slow divisions.

Even many Amazonians who have worked on Wall Street and at start-ups say the workloads at the new South Lake Union campus can be extreme: marathon conference calls on Easter Sunday and Thanksgiving, criticism from bosses for spotty Internet access on vacation, and hours spent working at home most nights or weekends. When they took a vacation to Florida, she spent every day at Starbucks using the wireless connection to get work done.

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Like several other former workers, the woman requested that her name not be used because her current company does business with Amazon. Some current employees were reluctant to be identified because they were barred from speaking with reporters. To prod employees, Amazon has a powerful lever: more data than any retail operation in history.

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It can also tell when engineers are not building pages that load quickly enough, or when a vendor manager does not have enough gardening gloves in stock. Amazon employees are held accountable for a staggering array of metrics, a process that unfolds in what can be anxiety-provoking sessions called business reviews, held weekly or monthly among various teams.

A day or two before the meetings, employees receive printouts, sometimes up to 50 or 60 pages long, several workers said. At the reviews, employees are cold-called and pop-quizzed on any one of those thousands of numbers. The sessions crowd out other work, many workers complain. But they also say that is part of the point: The meetings force them to absorb the metrics of their business, their minds swimming with details.

Employees talk of feeling how their work is never done or good enough. One Amazon building complex is named Day 1, a reminder from Mr.


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Bezos that it is only the beginning of a new era of commerce, with much more to accomplish. In , Chris Brucia, who was working on a new fashion sale site, received a punishing performance review from his boss, a half-hour lecture on every goal he had not fulfilled and every skill he had not yet mastered.

Brucia silently absorbed the criticism, fearing he was about to be managed out, wondering how he would tell his wife. Brucia said he was too shocked to return. In , Elizabeth Willet, a former Army captain who served in Iraq, joined Amazon to manage housewares vendors and was thrilled to find that a large company could feel so energetic and entrepreneurial. After she had a child, she arranged with her boss to be in the office from 7 a. Her boss assured her things were going well, but her colleagues, who did not see how early she arrived, sent him negative feedback accusing her of leaving too soon.

She left the company after a little more than a year. While bosses know who sends the comments, their identities are not typically shared with the subjects of the remarks. Most comments, he said, are positive. However, many workers called it a river of intrigue and scheming. They described making quiet pacts with colleagues to bury the same person at once, or to praise one another lavishly.

Many others, along with Ms. Willet, described feeling sabotaged by negative comments from unidentified colleagues with whom they could not argue.

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Soon the tool, or something close, may be found in many more offices. Workday, a human resources software company, makes a similar product called Collaborative Anytime Feedback that promises to turn the annual performance review into a daily event. One of the early backers of Workday was Jeff Bezos, in one of his many investments.

He also owns The Washington Post. The rivalries at Amazon extend beyond behind-the-back comments. Resources are sometimes hoarded. That includes promising job candidates, who are especially precious at a company with a high number of open positions.

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Ideas are critiqued so harshly in meetings at times that some workers fear speaking up. David Loftesness, a senior developer, said he admired the customer focus but could not tolerate the hostile language used in many meetings, a comment echoed by many others. Bezos had greenlighted a secret competing effort to build an alternate technology. He went on to become a director of engineering at Twitter.

The review meeting starts with a discussion of the lower-level employees, whose performance is debated in front of higher-level managers. Having awards tied to your work definitely gives you a leg-up in the interview process, but only if those awards and recognitions actually exist. Records of accolades can be found with minimal research, and it looks better on you to be honest about having no awards at all than to lie about having them.

Believe it or not, there are people out there who either exaggerate their military record or forge it entirely. You have no idea what your interviewer's interests are, and it's very possible that they are an avid birdwatcher with many a question about your shared hobby. If an interviewer asks you about how many people report to you, it's better to be honest about not having a team than to lie about leading dozens.

If your new role ends up being a management role and you have zero experience in that area, your novice status is going to speak for itself—and may even get you fired. All Rights Reserved. Open side menu button. Smarter Living. Columbia College is not Columbia University! By Morgan Greenwald July 11, Read This Next. Latest News. Stay a step—or a click—ahead of retailers! A kid did what at a GameStop?! Could you be his new human? You'll soon be able to vacation in space!


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