Sunday, July 7, 2019

How Amazon prevents software engineers from running away from the company

If employee stop working for Amazon, Amazon takes back his compensation

Everybody knows the working conditions at Amazon are horrible. While people often discuss inhuman farm of Amazon warehouse (fulfillment center), conditions at Amazon offices (for "blue badges" software engineers) are often no better. Though Amazon engineers are allowed to use restrooms. Employees are prevented from seeing and treating their family members. Software engineers are often forced to work 16 hours a day.

While Amazon can easily find new worker for its warehouse, it becomes more and more difficult to find next qualified software engineer. Engineers benefit the company a lot and without engineers website and all its systems will just crash. At the same time software engineer is the most restricted product at the labor market.

But when new engineer comes to Amazon and sees all the horror inside, he/she wants to run away immediately. How can Amazon prevent engineers from running away? For example Google provides free food and massage.

What can Amazon do? Changing toxic company culture? Nope, without this culture the company will go bankrupt because they will not be able to force employees to work 16 hours a day.

To prevent employees from running away, Amazon applies unfair methods. Firstly, the company asks to return back sign-on bonus if engineer runs away in 2 years from the start of employment. The worst part is in certain circumstances (not always) engineer might need to return more than he is paid because of taxes.

Amazon motivates engineers by 2 ways: money and a fear to lose the money. In certain cases sign-in bonus can be a significant part of the salary.

You will tell: "Oleg! What are you complaining about? You got 30k sign in bonus! You should pray for this company instead of complaining!" This is the reaction Amazon expects. But there is a trick because Amazon is very sly company.

Sign in bonus is the same part of your compensation as a salary. The only thing employee worries about is the total yearly compensation. For example engineer will work for 130k a year but he will not for 100k a year. Fair company will offer him salary of 130k. Amazon will offer him salary of 100k and sign in bonus of 30k. Then Amazon says: if you quit, we will take back part of your salary. What Amazon does is it splits your salary into "fair salary" and "salary to make you afraid of running away" (sign in bonus).

Take a look at another extreme example. Say you work as a furniture mover and get in total 40k a year. You work 12 hours a day, +weekends. It is very hard job. You hurt yourself, you suffer physically and mentally. In the end of the year you decide to quit because your health became too bad. The employer says: please return back your salary (that you already spent feeding your family).

You will tell: "Oleg! It is not a breaking news! Some other companies also have sign in bonus. US army has sign in bonus. Even Microsoft has!" But all these companies have sign in bonus for certain reason. They want to attract employees because nobody wants to work for them. US army has serious problems with recruiting because the military job is obviously risky. Though being a soldier is honored unlike working for Amazon. Microsoft had serious problems of reputation and thus serious problems with hiring. Though Microsoft caused deaths of employees children unlike Amazon.

Amazon will provide useless and crappy service of relocation, after that Amazon asks employee to pay back for that

The good thing is if engineer relocates, Amazon gives a choice: to take money or to use service of their vendor for help of relocation. Of course it is better to take money. When you run away from Amazon, they ask you to reimburse the amount.

The bad thing is Amazon does not inform how crappy the relocation service is. Since Amazon is "not good" company, it uses service of most cheap, useless contractors. For example guys like Graebel offer $2500 advice to your spouse about what career to choose. Google and YouTube offer such advice for free.

Overall expenses of Graebel can take up to $40k. For example, Graebel specialist will drive with you to take a look at few homes to rent/buy. Zillow and Trulia will do it for free.
The worst thing is: you get crappy and useless service, then you are charged for that $40,000. Then you are asked to pay. The only option not to pay is to stay at Amazon and become a slave.

If employee stop working for Amazon, he will not be able to work almost anywhere

Then Amazon says to the engineer literally the following: "If you quit the company, you will not be able to work almost anywhere." This is another reason for you to stay with Amazon forever despite on inhuman working conditions.

Amazon has a huge business in numerous areas of the economics. That means, regardless of the next employer specialization, the probability of violation of this agreement is extremely high.

Of course, Amazon wants to prevent other engineers to quit (preventing "mass effect"):

Then Amazon makes sure you are 100% familiar with its policies:

You will tell: "Oleg! This shows how fair the company is! We want to make sure an employee will not automatically sign any hidden text. We want our employees to avoid any legal obligations, sanctions and lawsuits in the future!"

As I said before, Amazon is sly company. I don't know any single case when Amazon prosecuted engineer because he run away and started working for a competitor. It is not because they are so kind so they don't want to prosecute their employees. This is just because it is very difficult. Society will oppose them to do this. Public scandal around such lawsuit will harm the company much more.

So why Amazon wants to make sure an employee reads and understands everything in this agreement? The answer is very simple and obvious. It is because they want to you to really understand your slavery. Not only you suffer at work. They want to make sure you understand you can't run away. They want you to understand you are slave.

In the prison every detainee is noticed of consequences of run away. Prison director wants to decrease number of escapes. Director applies fear.

And literally engineer can't refuse to sign this shit. This is because engineer is offered to sign this agreement after he agreed to the employment offer. However employment offer says: you must sign non-compete agreement despite you don't see it yet!

All of that is another reason to change Amazon policies.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Amazon software engineers are treated worse than farm 🦆

Amazon treats software engineers worse than farm animals

Amazon software engineers are often forced to work 16 hours a day

Amazon does not want to take liability for crimes of its employees

Here is update from my lawsuit with Amazon. After I started protests, I met flood of hate speech, defamation and harassment committed by official Amazon working emails. Amazon filed its response to my amended complaint. While Amazon employees commit hate speech, Amazon says: the company is not liable for that.

The conclusion is for the current Amazon employees. Company forces employees to follow the leadership principle "Insist on the highest standards" [of oppression]. This results in numerous violations of the law. When victims sue Amazon, Amazon says: company is not liable, even if our individual employees are liable.