I asked you, the fine readers of Gizmodo, whether the cutthroat work environment attributed to Amazon was an outlier or old hat. One commenter’s description of their company seemed to widely resonate.

Commenter clinteastwoodyallen wrote:

Here is the thing, Bezos is a maniac who probably loves working far too much. His inner circle is like-minded. Couple that with his love of data porn and the result is an organization where an employee is only has good as her numbers.

Me, my company is pretty mellow. Nobody is watching the clock. As long as your work is getting done nobody even cares if I put in a full 8 hour day. I can work from home as much as I want. Downside, not a lot of opportunities for advancement. Mgmt is incredibly insulated. I’ve seen my portion of the company profit sharing disappear, meanwhile on the sales side there a more and more nicer cars in the parking lot.

“It’s almost as if we work in the same place,” replied jayjak. “I have pretty much the same experience. It was easier to jump to another group with better pay then get promoted in the one you start in,” said David the Omonomnomivore. “I feel like you described my company,” from Adamantiam.


The comment felt familiar to me as well. I’ve worked in places with pretty chill expectations for workers—no one policing how you can decorate your desk or when you can take a break—yet paired with the casual environment was insular management and almost zero possibility for advancement. People would try to switch teams in order to gain responsibilities or a pay raise rather than get recognized by their current group. Ever-expanding, extravagant sales teams also seemed par for the course.

This leads to the question of whether there’s a significant upside to a workplace that rigorously evaluates its workers. The conditions described at Amazon, of yearly culls and “social Darwinism” PR tactics, sound terrifying. Yet do these practices also lead to greater recognition and promotion of jobs well done? What happens to otherwise excellent places to work that makes management so unreachable and opportunities so scarce?

Why does the situation clinteastwoodyallen outlines appear to evoke so many companies?