The number one retailer in this country had a big moment on the front page of The New York Times recently. The article stopped me in my tracks – as a customer, recruiter, staffing strategist, dreamer… the list goes on and on.
I read it with my husband, and had so many thoughts:
- This is the front page of the Times.
- How can anyone expect them to come up with a “bathroom button” and a Jetson lifestyle, without an extremely demanding day to day (and night to night it seems)?
- It’s Amazon. I literally shop it twice a day. No whining.
- People are crying at their desks? And it’s on the cover of The Times? Eek. Poor PR team.
- People are getting texts at 3am? Poor recruiting team after this article.
- If these people don’t want to stay at Amazon, are their skills translatable to other roles in the Seattle area?
- It must take serious man power and high energy to come up with their ideas and execute them.
- Who do I know that works there?
- Do they have NYC offices? I should write about this.
- OMG, Marissa – you are falling for “watercooler conversation”… You tell people not to do this daily and here you are doing it.
You know what? It’s hard to practice what I preach – I’m human. As humans, we all fall into patterns that are comfortable and easy.
So, let’s back up a minute. Amazon is Amazon. The Times interviewed a select few (scary) and pointed a less than gorgeous picture of the work/life balance and ethics. We are all living in a time where work/life is super important to so many, so to hear that this PHENOM of a company is running its people into the ground…well, it’s off-putting!
Aren’t the people at Amazon supposed to be scooting to work and having cool lunches, taking yoga and making green juices in their office kitchens? The answer is – I don’t know… and neither do you. You only can find out these kind of answers by reading, asking others, searching sites online like Glass Door, etc – but truthfully, you only know when you yourself can speak to the experience.
How does this enormous conversation apply to the day to day in my job as an entrepreneur and the manager of Choice Fashion & Media? EVERY single day, I have to remind people to avoid getting caught up in the “watercooler” conversation – What is that, you ask? Oh, you know- the daily interaction from the “whiner in accounting” or the “cranky sales team” or the “marketing team who always gets to go to cool things”. The commiseration and negative feedback breeds simply said- more negative feedback, etc. From my birds eye view on the front lines, when I approach a candidate with an opportunity, the first thing he/she will do is ask about the company and then try to dig up info on it under every single solitary rock they can. I don’t blame them- BUT, know this… Everyone has a different perspective. Hiring managers are all relative. One person in one department could have a totally different point of view than another person sitting diagonally from them. Go on interviews, keep open minds, don’t judge books by their covers… see for yourself.
YOU REALLY NEVER KNOW UNTIL YOU KNOW.
Tons of fashion and media companies have suffered from “bad reputations” and they still manage to hire new blood because those souls were brave and knew that they could be the ones that change and pave the new path. Oh, and people like us don’t get paid if you don’t accept the role and stay in your position for a negotiated amount of time. We don’t want to put you in a bad place to work- morally, ethically, and let’s be fair- personally.
Last and probably the most important thought:
If the Times interviewed the hundreds of people who LOVE working at Amazon, the article would have caused quite a different kind of pot stir. Right? Google some of the response. It will really get you thinking.
Net net. Take a moment, take breaths, zip up your armor to those who are spilling negative information and see for yourself. Only go to the watercooler to fill up your S’well. Be fair to yourself and your career. No one is crying for Jeff Bezos. He is doing just fine! We should all be so fortunate to have a great idea, money to execute it, and with hard work and tenacity- have the ability to change the world.
Marissa Klein knows a little something about dreaming big… After building her career in beauty and fashion sales in NYC, she finally embraced her inner entrepreneur, left the corporate world behind, and started a successful handmade and custom gift company, Rissy Lyn. Throughout her travels, Marissa was always the “matchmaker”-constantly connecting people, helping people, talking to people, changing people. So, while promoting her namesake brand at one of the many trunk shows at Henri Bendel, she had an epiphany: why not bring these skills together and help others dream the way she always had? For the past decade, she has managed Choice Fashion/Media, the creative division of her family’s boutique staffing firm. Everyday, she helps people find their dream jobs. She believes that while inherently we may have more “grown-up” realities, at the end of the day, we all just want to be able to do what we love and be genuinely happy doing it. Marissa is also the author of the children’s book series, The Dream Big Academy. With the second installment on the way, she loves how she can marry her career and love of writing to teach children why we work and to always dream big! Marissa is originally from Harrington Park, NJ, and graduated from the University of Richmond with a degree in business. She currently resides in Hoboken, NJ, with her husband David, her two beautiful dreamers, Sienna and Summer, and her poodle, Simba.