My experience working under Jeff Bezos, indirectly.
As many of you know I held a full time job for a month after my layoff in February. This company is the online retailer, Amazon. 🙂 I was a warehouse associate at an Amazon Fulfillment Center. It was a lot of fun! And I’ll never forget the lessons I learned there.
But I quit after a month because I wanted to spend more time pursuing other job opportunities. Besides, I was feeling a lot of pressure because my company’s CEO is literally the wealthiest man on the planet, and I didn’t want to risk disappointing him. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is currently worth about $115,000,000,000 – give or take a few billion dollars! 😮 Wow that’s a big number. And for a brief moment of my humble existence I was granted the privilege of working indirectly with him. 😀
Although I didn’t work directly under him, he was only 7 management levels above me. So if I had kept working and be promoted just 7 times I would have easily taken his job as CEO. 😉
What Jeff Bezos taught me about business
During my short tenure with Amazon it was clear that Jeff’s influential principles and management style trickled all the way down the corporate ladder to the employees working on the ground floor.
I believe Amazon’s Prime 😎 reason for success is Jeff’s unique management style. He operates the leanest company I have ever seen. Any workplace inefficiency or redundancy, no matter how insignificant, will be eliminated as soon as it is found. From the workers picking and packing to the automated labeling machines and conveyor belts, everything in the warehouse operates like clockwork. 🙂 The impressive logistics system has to manage over 100 workers, moving and sorting 50,000+ items every day.
Consistency is important. All the managers at Amazon have to mimic the same disciplined style of leadership as set by Jeff. This is apparent across all levels of the company. That’s not to say Amazon is all work and no play. They have a well stocked break room, as well as a leisure area with video games, table tennis, and comic books. Amazon’s workplace policies are firm, but fair.
Speaking of company culture, here’s a handful of Jeff’s business principles that every Amazonian is expected to follow and practice:
- Act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just your own team. Never say “that’s not my job.”
- Strive to create a customer-centric company. Start with the customer and work backwards.
- Practice good judgement. Management is doing things right while leadership is doing the right things.
- Insist on having the highest standards – not just for yourself, but for your coworkers as well.
- When making decisions, always choose long-term value over short-term results.
Jeff somehow managed to create a competitive work environment without it feeling toxic or hostile. Based on the free market approach his policies often involve Amazonians competing against each other. If a team consistently underperforms, it gets cut. If another team excels, it gets more resources from the team that was cut. This guarantees that resources are allocated and utilized in the most effective manner. By making the internal business environment more competitive than the actual outside world, Jeff has been able to speed up innovation within Amazon so it can stay ahead of the competition. It’s a brilliant and effective way to maximize utility and efficiency. 🙂
Increasing my net worth is a high priority for me. So working under the influence of the world’s richest man was an incredible learning experience. 🙂 I felt like a foodie Instagrammer who was given the chance to work in Gordon Ramsay’s flagship restaurant kitchen. Under Jeff’s management Amazon was named the second most admired company in the world by Fortune this year.
Based on what I’ve seen around the workplace, Jeff’s principles work really well. 🙂 As a result I will borrow his ideas to help me with my financial goals. I use to make a lot of decisions automatically, cruising through life on autopilot without being mindful that I’m constantly making choices. But from now on I will consider the consequences of my actions. If I become more consciously aware of my options, then I can make better decisions that will benefit my long term values over short term desires.
Working at Amazon is not suitable for everyone. But the benefits are good. And employees are overwhelmingly happy to work there. I felt like I was really making a difference. Children’s birthday presents were delivered on time because of me. 😀 Maybe Amazon warehouses are called Fulfillment Centers because its employees feel happy and fulfilled when they work there, lol.
Random Useless Fact
According to CNN, the U.S. is still using floppy disks to run its nuclear program.
Heard too many horror stories from ppl working at Amazon, but good to hear that you got a taste for it and learnt a bunch of lessons. Thanks for sharing. There are a lot of very interesting principles out of Amazon business culture…definitely worth a good luck for other corporations.
He left after 2 weeks so…
I wasn’t there for too long. If I had continued working for a full 2 years I would get AMZN stocks as an employee. Oh well. Luckily I’m able to find another after Amazon.
It’s impressive to me that you left the company only taking away all the positive thoughts. LOL 🙂 my tenant didn’t last long there either, even when they pay $20/hr.
$20/hr is rare for a warehouse associate position. I was only getting paid about $15/hr. Maybe your tenant had more responsibilities. One good thing I liked about working at Amazon is the benefits. On the first day they give you a $120 voucher for work shoes. Even if you quit the next day you still get to keep the shoes lol.
Not going to lie…. I read the headline and the first paragraph and was bracing for an article full of cringe but I have to say that you lay out a really good piece and rad into why they are so successful.
My experience with Amazon is on a different front: their technology offerings like S3, CloudFront, and LightSail. I cannot believe how on the ball and well integrated their services are for what they cost and after using them for work related projects, it’s hard to imagine anyone being able to compete.
That is my thinking too from working there. Amazon is such a well oiled machine it’s no wonder they are top dog in the retail world. Free shipping, and high quality customer service is usually expensive. But Amazon has found a way to do things so efficiently that they can sell their products at really affordable prices and still make a profit.
Thanks for sharing your experience! Sounds like he runs a tight ship. I met a guy traveling a few years ago who worked for Amazon and he said everyone was miserable and he was miserable working there. Maybe it’s different working at a fulfilment centre compared to the headquarters
It’s certainly a one of a kind company. 🙂
In Chinese culture, a shiny bald head is considered to be extremely prosperous. Hindsight is 20/20
BRB, going to the barbershop.
Thanks for sharing your story. I really like your takeaways and the focus on the positive and what we could all learn.
As one of my highschool teachers would say, never stop learning. 🙂
Have you thought of starting an e-commerce side hustle on Amazon after this experience?
Maybe in the future, but these days I’m too busy.
Thank you Liquid for sharing your experience! I know few workers who are not happy there, but they no other options than work there..
You left there for a good reason. You have lots of talent; you have solid passive income to cover your bills (almost). Then why don’t you spend a year or two and try to build a business in your interested field? Just curious.. 🙂
That’s a good question. I think laziness, lack of confidence and motivation are the main reasons. I’m comfortable where I am now and I think it’s easier to make about $60K/yr working for someone else than to try making that by myself. If the job market was different and it was hard to find work, then I’ll consider building up my own business.
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