• Please take a moment and update your account profile. If you have an updated account profile with basic information on why you are on Air Warriors it will help other people respond to your posts. How do you update your profile you ask?

    Go here:

    Edit Account Details and Profile

The Great AW Working Hours Debate of 2018

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
Is this intentional somehow? It seems like a horrible way to do business. I know zero about how Amazon is structured, but there has to be a better way to accommodate for the surge periods around the holidays.
I would guess that Pags was interviewing for one of the "floor manager" (I forgot the actual term) jobs, which is a production manager gig for their packing facilities. The hours are the way they are because of volume, and you work a shift covering your floor portion. I knew a guy who did it for a while and another guy I was in a squadron with a guy who interviewed for one of these jobs but didn't end up doing it. It sounded like a lot of work, but always busy keeping the drones motivated to maintain production numbers.

If you needed a job, it sounded like it paid well, and it wasn't a normal work week, but I know I wasn't too excited when I heard the details.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
Is this intentional somehow? It seems like a horrible way to do business. I know zero about how Amazon is structured, but there has to be a better way to accommodate for the surge periods around the holidays.
I would guess that Pags was interviewing for one of the "floor manager" (I forgot the actual term) jobs, which is a production manager gig for their packing facilities. The hours are the way they are because of volume, and you work a shift covering your floor portion. I knew a guy who did it for a while and another guy I was in a squadron with a guy who interviewed for one of these jobs but didn't end up doing it. It sounded like a lot of work, but always busy keeping the drones motivated to maintain production numbers.

If you needed a job, it sounded like it paid well, and it wasn't a normal work week, but I know I wasn't too excited when I heard the details.
No, I avoided the fulfillment center manager gigs that they try and shunt former JOs in to. It was a job at HQ in Outbound Transportation. My understanding of the role of the shop was they decided how to ship things to ensure timelines were meet but profit margins weren't busted. However, it seemed like there was still a lot of hands on, real time work that the shop did that made the magic of guaranteed two day delivery work.

The holidays and the volume they bring were the reason for the long hours. Basically the shop was overseeing all of the shipments that Amazon did so they treated it like a surge period for management to the point that many folks slept at work for that month. Because the role was management/oversight in nature I think it'd be hard to bring in extra folks to supplement the manpower. Basically Black Friday to Xmas was where the shop proved it's worth and the impression I got is that's how you demonstrated your commitment to the company and where your bonus came from.

Like I said, wasn't the kind of lifestyle I wanted as a guy with young kids and whose family was burnt out on time away after an FDNF amphib tour.
 

nittany03

FUBIJAR
pilot
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Yes of course, I couldn't agree more with you. It's a damned sweatshop, no doubt about that. Their fancy offices and mega-greenhouse don't change that fact. But I'd just like to reiterate people have left my rather troubled company and found Amazon to be reasonably better, to give some idea that it can get even worse. Regardless, I'm very glad you are intimately familiar with and have worked in the tech industry. It's an esoteric society of madness and absurdity few people on the outside really understand.
I'm wondering how much your perception of the tech industry is colored by your admitted perception of your company. Granted, I'm working in the in-house software development arm of a non-tech company. So maybe to some people, that doesn't count as being one of the cool kids in "the tech industry." But my immediate team seems to mostly have their heads screwed on straight, and I haven't encountered any obvious assholery up to senior management. Personal biases, blind spots, and quirks, sure. But while my company isn't without its flaws (what company is?), I certainly wouldn't describe it as "madness and absurdity."
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
No, I avoided the fulfillment center manager gigs that they try and shunt former JOs in to. It was a job at HQ in Outbound Transportation. My understanding of the role of the shop was they decided how to ship things to ensure timelines were meet but profit margins weren't busted. However, it seemed like there was still a lot of hands on, real time work that the shop did that made the magic of guaranteed two day delivery work.

The holidays and the volume they bring were the reason for the long hours. Basically the shop was overseeing all of the shipments that Amazon did so they treated it like a surge period for management to the point that many folks slept at work for that month. Because the role was management/oversight in nature I think it'd be hard to bring in extra folks to supplement the manpower. Basically Black Friday to Xmas was where the shop proved it's worth and the impression I got is that's how you demonstrated your commitment to the company and where your bonus came from.

Like I said, wasn't the kind of lifestyle I wanted as a guy with young kids and whose family was burnt out on time away after an FDNF amphib tour.
Thank you. This speaks to my earlier point. An increase in production/throughout/what have you should necessitate a commensurate increase in management oversight. I’m sure there are organizational eccentricities at work, but it seems like a flawed model. That said, whatever Amazon/Bezos are doing seems to be working for them, so WTF do I know.
 

Spekkio

He bowls overhand.
And imagine how much more these people could have accomplished had they NOT been raging dicks. They succeeded in spite of their assholishness, not because of it. Culture eats strategy for lunch. People aren't widgets. You don't hang on to talent in the private sector by being a raging dick. Build a culture where smart people want to hang around, and you will freaking print money.
I'll counter with this - business is not a friendly place. You competition wants to eliminate you. It takes a certain kind of ... ruthlessness (for lack of a better word) ... to succeed at the top levels of that environment. You have to always be the best, and even when you are you have to be better. Mistakes cost a lot of money.

Ditto for war. The other side wants you dead and your lifestyle to cease existence. Mistakes cost lives, and the higher you go, possibly your way of existence. If you read SECDEF's recent letter, it doesn't exactly drip with a tone of "I'm a super nice guy you want to have a beer with."

Some people, for whatever reason, can be very likeable while enforcing high standards and coming down on people for slacking off. Those people are exceptionally rare, it takes a special kind of charisma with delivery. I think more often than not, when you find a leader who is well-liked, you will most likely find some way in which he's not pushing people to be better or is otherwise letting standards slip.

My data point is this: I ask every checkout who their favorite watch officer is. They mostly tell me the guy who asks the least questions and who will authorize work quickly, and they hate the ones that make sure all the ducks are in a row and forcing people to prove that they meet all of the safety requirements before breaking into a system. Corrollary: As soon as you have that one officer or chief who lets the standards slip, that becomes the 'new standard' and anyone who enforces what the standard ought to be gets put in the asshole/dick category.
One of my co-workers grew up with Bill Gates, their familes were friends and I never heard anything bad about him, one of the people I work with now worked at Microsoft for years and had direct interaction with Bill as well and had nothing bad to say, I also have family that was part of the building of his house (design and contractor) he wanted things very specific but was was not considered someone that was a pain to work with, it was interesting looking at the plans for the house and hearing about all the technology he added into the house back then and how advanced it was.

I have also had friends who worked for Bezos, and they were happy to punch their ticked at Amazon and get out of there.
I mean, these videos of Bill Gates angrily calling his staff stupid are on youtube, so while I appreciate your friend's accounts they are probably overlooking his negative traits or just never witnessed them.
 
Last edited:

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
The holidays and the volume they bring were the reason for the long hours. Basically the shop was overseeing all of the shipments that Amazon did so they treated it like a surge period for management to the point that many folks slept at work for that month. Because the role was management/oversight in nature I think it'd be hard to bring in extra folks to supplement the manpower. Basically Black Friday to Xmas was where the shop proved it's worth and the impression I got is that's how you demonstrated your commitment to the company and where your bonus came from.
I'm not sure if that sounds better or worse than the fulfillment center job.

That said, whatever Amazon/Bezos are doing seems to be working for them, so WTF do I know.
I just recently discovered that everything I've needed to learn about business can be gleamed from Bobby Axelrod.
 

RobLyman

- hawk Pilot
pilot
None
I'm wondering how much your perception of the tech industry is colored by your admitted perception of your company. Granted, I'm working in the in-house software development arm of a non-tech company. So maybe to some people, that doesn't count as being one of the cool kids in "the tech industry." But my immediate team seems to mostly have their heads screwed on straight, and I haven't encountered any obvious assholery up to senior management. Personal biases, blind spots, and quirks, sure. But while my company isn't without its flaws (what company is?), I certainly wouldn't describe it as "madness and absurdity."
I did the lead developer/architect job in-house for years in the insurance and banking industries. Not a bad gig at all.

Back in the late 90s/early 2000s I was making about a buck fifty, but the hours as a tech director diluted my hourly rate to something much less attractive. Eventually I settled into contracting. The hourly rate was great and no one wanted me to work overtime.

WTF happened that got me back into this military $hit!? LOL

Ironically it is a few of the assholes I work with now that just might be the tipping point for me to hang up what I like doing so much and go back to the civilian world.

Life Gem: Make sure creating options in your life is a priority. It's amazing how much more you can tolerate when you KNOW you have legitimate options.
 

robav8r

D-FENS
None
Contributor
Make sure creating options in your life is a priority. It's amazing how much more you can tolerate when you KNOW you have legitimate options.
THIS !!! This, this, this . . .

I’m working on my PhD in this area of life right now, great advice 😎
 

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
Most of what I learned about business, I learned from playing Lemonade Stand on the Commodore PET:

Get a good price for your lemonade mix and sugar,
Hope for a heatwave because if one never comes then you'll go out of business,
When the heatwave comes the jack the shit out of your prices.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
God Bless You . . . . . I shutter at what must have been a pretty high misery index :(
I think the boat was at sea something like 15/18mo I was there. Other than time away from family it was a good tour. Leadership was fantastic despite the fact that the Captain later pled guilty to involvement with Fat Leonard.
 

NavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
I mean, these videos of Bill Gates angrily calling his staff stupid are on youtube, so while I appreciate your friend's accounts they are probably overlooking his negative traits or just never witnessed them.
agreed, or it might be that those outburst with him are the exception rather than the rule as opposed to some other people.
 

Sculpin

Well-Known Member
That's one for the ages.
Thank you sir. I can sometimes be eloquent.

I'm wondering how much your perception of the tech industry is colored by your admitted perception of your company. Granted, I'm working in the in-house software development arm of a non-tech company. So maybe to some people, that doesn't count as being one of the cool kids in "the tech industry." But my immediate team seems to mostly have their heads screwed on straight, and I haven't encountered any obvious assholery up to senior management. Personal biases, blind spots, and quirks, sure. But while my company isn't without its flaws (what company is?), I certainly wouldn't describe it as "madness and absurdity."
Of course, I haven't worked at every one of the thousands of companies out there, nor in the hundreds of departments within my corporation. And of course, my current department is the most habitable I've worked with to date and if anything I'm seeing a more "optimistic" view of the company than many of my colleagues do. So there's perception coloring. But on the whole it's a very demanding industry. You've also read a little about Amazon in this thread. If you're not working long hours or even don't have enough work, there's a high chance you/your team is doing something wrong. Those groups tend to get axed. But no one's under any illusions. People who leave my current company know they're going to be worked like crazy elsewhere and possibly have crazy people to deal with, but at least the compensation, company situation/stability, culture, and other factors may be better. I have colleagues and friends all over the place, and regardless of the company or group, there's a number of expected norms across the board.

Speaking of non-tech, I often muse about going to a biotech or defense company because the hardware/software culture is different. Who knows, if I face discrimination for reserve service, I may just make the leap. I have seldom heard bad things from engineers who went from tech to another industry. So why do people go into the tech industry? It's the ideal place to be for hardware/software people as it's essentially made for them, there's generally more progressive technologies in use (some practices and frameworks/libraries and other things I hear from the defense industry make me cringe), the compensation is amazing, and it's very work-visa friendly.

If you're working for a competitive startup / small tech outfit with a TTM need, prepare for crazy hours and effectively dedicating your life to it. It's guaranteed. Mid-large size companies can vary internally. You can have some engineering groups that can have it somewhat relaxed (and these ones should generally worry about cuts), but there's far more that are overworked.

I've worked at a couple tech companies that at least used to be in Fortune or Forbes top 100 places to work, so they weren't considered just good for the industry at the time, they were considered good as far as America goes overall. Still, if you are a customer-facing or product-facing group, you will be ground to the bone. That's simply how it goes. It's an extremely competitive industry with rapid time-to-market and meeting tight deadlines and milestones all the time. If people wonder why electronics and software are evolving and advancing at an unbelievably fast pace, this is why. As someone else mentioned, Amazon (and lots of companies small and large) want young people without families because they want people whose lives revolve around the job. It's also why they love people on work visas because they're guaranteed to be loyal (when your options are overworking, or getting deported to an not so great place, the choice is simple).

There's lots to talk about in terms of culture, management, etc., but I'm trying to not write a thesis here.
However, I will leave on the note that if you're good at your job, the reward is often more work or can otherwise hurt you. I'd say this is particularly applicable to the fast-paced, cutthroat tech industry. Here's a few articles by the same author about the same thing (but slight differences between each article) about how it can hurt you. I've experienced and observed most of these (and others too). [1] [2] [3]
With that said, there are some software outfits well-known for going way out of their way with policies and culture to reward hard-working and effective employees. Google, for example, does not hold back on promotions, especially junior engineers who could seriously use a couple title increases in their first several years.
 
Last edited:

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
My son interviewed with SpaceX's launch division. He found it was just as has been described here. 60 hour weeks. Mandatory Saturdays and 7 day work weeks during a surge. He asked what counted as a surge beyond the obvious launch. He was told they were pretty regular. In the group he was interviewing for out of 6 engineers 4 had been there less than two years with less than 5 years experience. The boss, while he had more experience else where, had been at SpaceX for just 3 years.The internet was full of stories about how SpaceX ate up and burned out its people. It was reccomened for new graduates looking for the resume bullet that could give up 2-3 years of their life. He passed.
 
Top