In my view, the personality traits that are conducive to promotion up the Amazon leadership ladder are strongly aligned with loving work-from-office. Most people L10 and higher not only don't understand the desire for permanent work from home, I think maybe they cannot understand it. It's just too foreign to many of them.
The first announcement was "We can't wait to be back in the office, and we know you can't either". Senior engineers started quitting. Then it was "Okay, okay, you can work from home 2-3 days per week, but only with your L10's approval". The exodus continued.
Now it's "Fine, you can work from home with your L8's approval, but you better be ready to show up on 24 hour notice if we say so!". The biggest benefit of work from home is not needing to commute, and lower cost of living by leaving the HCOL cities.
They don't get it. Other companies do. And anyone who has spent 5 or more years working for Amazon is well-trained enough to get a better paying job with a company that understands the cultural shift that just happened to the developer world.
Edit: I know not all developers are anti-office. But for those of us who are, working for people who don't understand us, who make policies based on what works best for them, is a problem.
I need 30-45 minutes to get there, and our public transit system is supposedly good. But the metro's still too crowded, dirty, smelly, etc. And I even usually avoid rush hour and take an automated, hassle-free line.
Commuting by personal motorized vehicle is hell, so you can forget that.
I'm contemplating buying an electric bike, but only because I'm lucky I have a place to keep it secure both at the office and at home.
The situation may be better in smaller cities, but I think that this consideration still affects a quite sizable bunch of people (20% of the country's population lives in the Paris region).
A threshold for me is probably around 5 minutes, counting from my apartment's door to the office door. Anything more feels like wasting time, so I'll avoid it for as long as I have the option.
On the other hand I have an 45m2 apartment, since I would rather have a small place in the center of Stockholm than having a bigger one in the suburbs.
For example, I would much rather prefer to walk 30-40 minutes instead of taking a crowded, smelly metro for 20. I actually used to regularly walk 50 minutes to get home in the evening because I didn't want to deal with the transit.
There's also the fact that this is the time it takes when everything works well. Again, I take an automated line, which is fairly reliable.
But most of the other lines have "incidents" going quite often (more than once a week). In this case, if the delay isn't extreme (less than 30 minutes) people will just wait and stuff themselves in the even-more-crowded trains when they do show up. Or they'll try taking another line, adding to that train's usual crowd.
When there are too many people, trains usually have delays, because they have to deal with people literally not fitting in the train at the stops.
So even if you're OK with riding a train packed to the brim (say you ride from end to end, so you're guaranteed to have a seat and won't have to fight your way off the train), you still can't count on getting at your destination on time.
I won't walk for 5 minutes sandwiched between a fast road strip-mall parking lots, industrial facilities, or open fields.
Edited to say I suppose I am privileged enough to have the option, and that I have traveled more than an hour before (I just wasn't happy about it)
It's fine if you walk you can think about anything, but if you drive a car you waste your time.
The rest of the world would prefer you to think about driving a car when you drive a car.
When you're walking, OTOH, thinking about anything is OK. (The only person you'll kill by doing that unthinkingly is you.)
God, Americans are weird.
I used them as synonyms because I assumed the GP meant "thinking" as in thinking with concentration about some specific issue(s), which tends to divert your attention from your surroundings far more than the idle stream-of-consciousness / daydreams we all have going in the back of our heads all the time. Didn't you?
Should probably have said "When you're driving, the rest of the world would prefer you to concentrate on your driving and your surroundings, traffic, pedestrians etc. Deep actual thinking is far better done while walking than while driving."
But that wouldn't have made for a snappy turn-his-own-words-against-him comeback. :-)
Once you get used to a life where you do not have to drive more than 5min to get everywhere, it would really suck to have go further. Even better than a 5 to 10min drive is being walking distance.
I cannot even imagine not being able to rewatch part of a lecture as a student. That seems incredibly bad.
I miss taking the train when I was in Europe compared to driving in the US. I had the option to read a book some days or play a game. Definitely more options to find joy when compared to driving when I can only choose from podcasts, music and audiobooks
The main difference for me is the mode of transport provides different possibilities for joy or benefit. While the cons of biking or walking maybe be sweating and climate, there’s a lot of joy and health benefits to be had if the times are comparable (e.g., 20 minute walk, 20 minute bike ride)
This is the standard way of commuting in most of the US.
Hmm, European cities weren't built for commuting or public transport, almost all of them were laid out in the medieval era for walking. They then acquired one or more railway stations in the 19th century, creating commuter ring #1 and becoming an order of magnitude larger, and may have been partially redesigned for cars in the 20th century, creating commuter ring #2. A popular conversion was demolishing the medieval-era city walls and replacing them with a ring road. Some were entirely flattened during the war, although generally rebuilt on the same plan.
Now most American cities were by comparison entirely designed for commuting ... by car. The problem with car commuting is that once you're over capacity it slows down the experience for everyone. Public transport just jams you in physically, which was uncomfortable before the pandemic and now just a nightmare. An overcrowded train is not slower than an empty one. (Subway throughput can be embark/disembark limited, though)
The difference to me seems to be the walkable core. That in turn depends on norms about use of public space and perceptions of public safety.
I'm slightly biased, but I think the Edinburgh New Town design with a couple of modern adaptations could be the ideal even for the 21st century. Grid layout, four to six floors, high ceilings, decent size windows, wide streets, occasional shop on the corner or restaurant in the basement.
("New" here means 18th century https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Town,_Edinburgh, not "new" as in postwar new town or medieval New Forest)
I have taken the "California Train" which runs from San Francisco to San Jose, and advertises its capacity to carry bicyclists. Numerous times, however, bicyclists were denied boarding (each had paid for his ticket) because the carriages had become overcrowded, with the subsequent train arriving in forty-five minutes' time.
This experience made me understand why many commuters in that region embrace the automobile in spite of its many drawbacks.
Likewise Berlin, though a bit taller: https://goo.gl/maps/HyMJsSFKQNErfWJZA
(New Town reminds me a lot of some parts of Cambridge; I think it’s the stone colour and some of the motifs).
I moved from the Middle East to the US. Cairo was a shit city for commuting. But that didn't stop socializing, because the other big difference between the US and many other countries is how individualistic and work-based society is. Back home, I had relatives, child-hood friends, etc that I was not only able to see, but often EXPECTED to see (even when I didn't want to).
In other countries, life was much more social, and work was just a tiny part of your social life. In the US, everything is individualistic (and nuclear family oriented) and people rely on the office for socialization.
so no commute is certainly better pretty much just anywhere.
This is the same argument has "what about the rain ?" for people who don't want to commute by bicycle.
Yes, it happens. But it's only a few days a year. Contrary to traffic. So you can adapt. Human is supposed to be great at adaptation.
And the rest of the year it just works.
As for rain, the average where I am is about 120 days a year. While some of those days are "not much rain", it's still enough that walking/biking to/from work would be fairly annoying a large number of days per year. Plus... winter and snow (which is included in the number above, but more of an issue).
It only matters if it rains in the few minutes you spend cycling. Yesterday it rained here, but I assume it was before dawn.
A few days a year? Thanks for the euphemism, it made for a good laugh.
Well, until recently I've lived in a very much French city for twelve years and I've never had to face a strike or any problem besides bus traffic being shifted around due to road work. To the point I've now got to get a driving licence in my thirties, as I've never needed it before. Maybe that was just luck.
It's working well and reliable enough.
> The city with the best public transport in the world is probably Tokyo in terms of frequency and service reliability but it is constantly over capacity and things are not getting better.
Things absolutely are getting better; crowding is better than it was. A healthy growing city will always have some capacity issues at any given time, but that's the same as anything.
> so no commute is certainly better pretty much just anywhere.
Not at all proven. Most people choose not to live right next to their workplace even when that's an option. 15-30 minutes' separation is helpful IMO. Even if I'm not commuting, it takes me that long to get my head out of "work mode", and having my home be my workplace makes that worse. "You don't take your work home with you" was always something I looked for in job applications.
If you change jobs, the new office might be on the purple line. Which does not cross the red line. So now you need to take the red line, to the green line (15 minutes + 10 minute layover = 25 minutes), and then change trains again to get to the purple line (15 minutes). That's assuming there are no delays, weather, construction/remodeling at any of the stations. If your morning coffee takes too long you might miss your connection, and now you've blown out your schedule by another 15-20 minutes, especially if part of your commute takes one of the less-frequent suburban lines.
End result is your 20 minute commute to your old office, has turned into a 40+ minute commute one way, assuming no delays. On a good day. Plus walking to and from the station.
My old office used to be on Castro Street in Mountain View, a 5 minute walk from the Caltrain Station. Then they leased a large building in the warehouse district, a 20 minute walk away. My old train commute + walk was almost exactly 1 hour from San Francisco; with the new office relocation it turned into 1 hour 15 minutes each way, which meant when I got home in the evening, the tram I wanted to take home had already stopped running, meaning either walk 45 minutes, or take a $9 (probably $15 in today's economy) uber home.
What point was he making? Well, switch jobs, and just move closer to your new office! Easy! Just never buy a house and only switch jobs at the end of your lease term, and rent forever.
Sounds precariously close to "you'll own nothing and be happy" or something along those lines.
Clean, blanket statement, what a good argument to make!
based on what metrics exactly?
Around this German state, a 30 minute drive turns into 2 hours commute into each direction if I go with public transport.
And this is one of the places with best connections.
Back home in Portugal, and many other southern countries, good luck with the bus connections that only come around once per hour, and better not skip the 2nd connecting bus/train.
It depends. Though German public transport is one of the best in Europe.
There are tons of places where car is the only option, or after 8pm there are no running public transports (you are supposed to stay home, I guess).
I wish I had American citizenship tbh.
Seems to me that many people here simply project their tourist experience while vacationing in London of Paris, as a result getting a wrong image of how people in Europe actually live their lives.
Citation? I think we travel less far, but that's not because people choose to stay home so much as because you don't have to travel so far to achieve the same things (e.g. we probably travel less far to visit relatives than Americans, but still visit our relatives more often and spend more time with them).
Sounds like you two are nit picking over the difference between the I495 loop being the "DC area" vs everything east of Fredricksburg/Front Royal/Fredreick being the "DC area".
[EDIT:] So, sure, most of those cars must be owned by inhabitants of the Greater Helsinki area. Heck, I live in Helsinki proper, and I have a car. But... Up until last year, when I still worked at the office in the more central parts of town, my daily commute there was by bus and metro (and will possibly be again sometime soon). And AFAIk I was(/am/will be) far from alone in this combo. [/EDIT]
I'm not sure this is true. Ireland went from one of the poorest nations in Western Europe to one of the richest from 1990 to now. In Dublin, commuting to work via car has been falling since at least the late 90s, driven by increased traffic, and greatly improved public transport and cycling infrastructure (though still quite bad by European standards); it hit 30% by 2018. The number of cars per capita is still, as far as I know, rising, but they're being used to commute to work less.
Rural areas of the country are much more of a mixed bag, and prosperity did drive an increase in driving there (though it has started to fall off a bit during the recovery after the financial crisis). But in urban areas, prosperity does _not_ seem to drive increased car use.
Ah, the classic joke, "nobody drives in Manhattan; there is too much traffic there".
> The number of cars per capita is still, as far as I know, rising, but they're being used to commute to work less.
Alas, 75% of Irish workers commute by passenger car, either as driver or as passenger. Only 10% of workers commute using public transit. That's what I meant when I said that Europeans are very much car dependent too: even in Dublin, the capital, most of the workers drive, and small minority uses public transit. Outside Dublin, cars dominate even more.
#2 I live in Zagreb, Croatia - recently drove from Austria back through Slovenia to Zagreb, ended up spending more time in Zagreb traffic at 11:30 am then driving across three countries.
OTOH they extended the Metrobus and Expressbus like mad, at least it felt so after my initial disappointment from around 2004.
Most bus stops have an electronic timetable, dynamically updating their 4 rows. The busses are prioritized on traffic lights and partially have their own reserved lanes.
For when- and whereever I need to go I simply don't care when exactly, because a few minutes later the next one is coming, which applies the same way for sometimes necessary switches.
30mins max from outlying suburb to core, rather 20mins, maybe 50 to 60min from my edge to another edge of town, not necessarily through the core.
Only at night the intervals are getting longer, and the net is less 'dense', but not catastrophically so.
And it is fu****g expensive for single tickets :-(
When was the last time you used the HVV?
Besides that usually I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle, bicycle... ;)
edit: Try this?
Yup, inner centre is pretty great for a bike.
Even in another much smaller German city of only ~50k inhabitants, my school commute for years was ~40-50 minutes (dependent on season etc.; EDIT: 40-50 minutes per direction, also on mondays and another weekday my schooldays started at 07:05 not at 08:00) when the trip by bicycle to the same school would only take me ~20-25 minutes.
Add to that the rapid aging of the population combined with the old people having the absolutely stellar idea to go by bus during the 07:15 morning school rush. Not like they have the whole day free to schedule their appointments... oh, wait
And after years of having to deal with these fossils (most with that creepy perpetual half-smile-half-smirk) who think they're entitled to demand that people of all pre-pension ages (sometimes even heavily pregnant women) vacate their seats for them instead of literally just walking one or two steps further to the next seat, thereby not only clogging up the bus corridor while everyone has to shuffle around but also being a general nuisance I've got enough and for years haved avoided riding busses in this city like the plague.
I've seen public transport done differently and better in other cities, one key feature for working better AFAICT being tram lines with low intervals, not like in the above example relatively short busses every ~15-20 minutes per line.
Well, you get used to it. I like reliably crowded trains much better than occasionally crowded trains.
Why would I want to go to the office???
I had to, though, be intentional about setting up my commute so i had time to read a book to and fro, and I’m sure not everyone is willing to think about it in those terms.
I foresee a movement in a few years of “commute forward” people trying to improve on their work-life balance, once they realize how much of life they’re going to be missing once they start commingling work and home life together.
Could we just agree that people are different and that some of us do not feel the way you do?
When I'm working I put on work clothes, I sit at my work desk and I take my work coffee cup. When I am done, I roll down my roll-top desk, and go pick up the kids on foot.
Arguably I appreciate that work culture in North-America and Asia may not be conducive of this. But ultimately we can all have the separation we need.
For me I built it around routines and work/leisure separation. For you it is your commute. Could we not let us both have what we want?
I live (well lived) within easy biking distance of the office (and commuted by bike nearly every day) and after the first few months of COVID work from home, I didn't ever want to go back to the office. We have an open floor plan office that's loud and not conducive to concentrating on work, and we have a distributed workforce (3 USA locations and 3 international locations), so most meetings had at least one zoom participant.
I took advantage of working from home to move farther from the office (now I'm within biking distance of a transit station that will take me to work, but the commute takes over twice as long as it used to), and will do my best to go to the office as little as possible. (we don't have a return to office date yet, but we reportedly won't be expected to be back 5 days a week)
But I hate being at the office. There's nothing I like about it.
Noise, disturbances, poor desktop setup, too hot in summer, too hot in winter, no place to take an actual break...
It might be nice for a change of pace of a specific purpose (i.e. planning meeting that is just easier in-person).
If I want to go downtown and socialize with coworkers, I can do that after work (and have while WFH).
Obviously this isn't viable solution to many people, and cycling has lots of risks, but its just an anecdote I had.
ALSO, the days I had to drive my car in the city were some of the most stressful ever(big car too).
Unless you're rich you will be living 40 mins - 1hr out, I am more like 1hr20 so I can own a home that isn't tiny or in a high crime area.
The commute costs, if I pay a year in advance, ~£5k/yr, set to go up by 10-15% next yr.
Generally speaking, and especially taking into account the climate crisis, it really doesn't make much sense to do all this even when there is more infra.
It is time for more companies to accept that WFH is largely a win/win.
House prices are obscene in/near big cities, and commuting still sucks (used to do 2 hours each way in London!).
Been "from home" for the last 20 years as I am an ISV and pretty much "enjoy some social life" without any commuting to work.
* Zoom fatigue is real.
* I find it much harder to collaborate with peers.
* I feel like less of a part of the company. Not being in the office, so I'm no longer seeing that busy bee activity on the floors, not able to mingle with other people from other teams, not seeing new faces, no team activities, and no desk with my name on it. It's a very isolated feeling.
* I find it even more Groundhog Day. To wake up from bed, walk a few steps to my desk, and start plugging away. Yeah, commuting can suck, but at least there's more stimulation and "life" to it.
* Deadlines, at least from my perspective, got even more ridiculous since WFH started.
Companies that are embracing remote work are changing the way they work. Becoming a true distributed organization isn't easy and we're not really sure what that looks like yet, but it's much easier to cope with than WFH in an organization where the executives say "we can't wait to be back in the office, and we know you can't either".
Edit: Of course, if you can't wait to be back in the office, maybe Amazon is just the right place for you in the long term. That's perfectly reasonable. I just doubt your experience is representative of the emerging industry trend toward permanent remote work.
I've worked at two companies that have embraced remote work, and are hiring "anywhere", though still obviously limited by language, jurisdiction etc. The changes I've seen are mainly cultural: preference for asynchronous communication and preference for structured coordination over ad-hoc. So fewer meetings, and those that remain tend to be standing meetings on a regular schedule with a defined leader and consistent agenda, and they often get cancelled or ended quickly if possible. Slack tends to be more asynchronous; you're not expected to respond right away, and people turn off notifications when they need to concentrate. Waaaay less email, to the point where it's mainly meeting invitations. More writing and documentation, but even then, a preference for things like Jira, Notion, Coda or Team Retro over more unstructured tools like generic documents or spreadsheets.
Now obviously none of that is new or confined to remote-first organizations. But I do see deliberate thought about how to collaborate more effectively, and how to mitigate the downsides.
There are real traps when it comes to WFH that need to be considered, even outside COVID. Trying to work from the couch or bed is 'possible' but 99/100 a terrible idea. You will likely need a fairly dedicated space, setup that supports your workflows. These things take time to workout, and having a supportive company that gets this can make such a difference.
Once I found what works for me and was clear about what I expected from employers, things were generally a lot better. Saying that, if your bosses ever become heavily anti-WFH, they can make things suck pretty quickly, but the same bad office politics/dynamics I guess.
The issue I had is once we started going back to the office 2x a week, all my meetings were STILL on zoom all day, I just took them from my cube with my mask on. It was a total bummer!
One on ones with the boss are much nicer when we can go outside for a stroll....
This. People keep talking how much more time they have for work now that they don’t have to commute, and don’t realize how terrible that is for them.
For me, the dealbreaker is the groundhog day effect that working from home has. Never heard anyone one describe it that way, but it’s so true, i will probably steal it. It’s the primary reason why it still feels like April of 2020 for me. Time paused then, and hasn’t moved since.
IME different life seasons can bring different preferences. With a young family and project house I don't want to socialize as much with coworkers as I did when I was a single 20 something.
It seemed like a pretty good experiment, but I don't think it caught on. Maybe Slack (or Teams) should aquihire them and implement something similar.
I was wanting to do that for my birthday last year, but I know too many people who don't own laptops
The question is whether there are enough developers like you to run one of the largest software companies in the world, while maintaining 'the bar'.
You're allowed outside for non-work reasons too though haha. I've incorporated an hour of just wandering around into my day and it's the best work situation I've ever had
I try to do it every day.
Working from home is amazing if the company and the employee can embrace the changes that come with it. If your social stimulation happens to come from your office and your commute, maybe that's a problem? Same goes for meetings, usually embracing work from home comes with more async communications, more emails, documentations and less meetings.
But I agree, even at it's best work from home makes you come across less people face to face than a commute + office time. And I think in the coming years we will see some cultural impacts of this between people who love work from home and people who abhor it.
Some members of the team, for example a woman that does documentation, I see almost not at all any longer because she's not one of the WebEx invites. But she was always just down the hall in the office.
How about replacing your commuting by a morning walk outside?
But TBH, after the pandemic hit, I found written communications to be far better than they had been previously.
That really leveled the playing field for me. But from my point of view, I've derived much of my communications from mailing lists, forums, listservs over the years. When people get around the water cooler and and I am just hanging around Thunderbird, I'm at a big disadvantage.
In particular, "remote-first" can effectively work, and bring diversity in the work place that is always welcome. It requires discipline and a real buy in from every layer of the company, but when it works I think it's the best.
A culture that will always prefer an hour long zoom meeting to a 2 minute exchange on stack. A zoom based culture is one that hasn't fully walked away from the office.
What an advantage in life to have chosen this career path over any of the above ones. And what a shame whenever we come across one of those "I am a developer and it's horrible!" type of posts.
I looked it up so you don't have to.
Success leads to ossification, which creates opportunity for new life to exploit untapped potential.
> Senior engineers started quitting.
> The exodus continued.
The Toronto office (where I worked) is seeing a shift in the seniors vs juniors ratio. The rate of senior engineers leaving is exceeding the rate of promotion and hiring- not that Amazon has ever had an easy time hiring senior engineers in Toronto.
The other big names will pay you the same or more and treat you better.
Amazon also has an on-call culture that - depending on the team - can be brutal. And it's often viewed as the team's own fault and problem to fix.
There are some really wonderful niches within Amazon that I will continue to refer friends to.
I figured, well, at least he was honest with me.
However, I'm anti commute all the way. I'll never go back to working full time at a office where I need to commute to.
Can anyone name some of those companies? I would like to start applying in those places.
Using a camera cover, and working butt naked.
The folks I know who work there were almost entirely all prepared to quit if the company forced their initial "everyone back in the office" requirement, especially in this current job market.
It feels rare to see Amazon ever make a change to such a publicly stated policy like this, I can only imagine that the groundswell of feedback from employees was quite startling in how much of a problem their retention would be with such a hard rule.
> Lambda School to Launch New Backend Engineering Program, Jointly Developed with Amazon
> Inspiration for the new backend program came from Amazon Technical Academy, which trains current, non-technical Amazon employees for software development engineering roles within the company. Amazon Technical Academy’s curriculum is based on the critical knowledge, skills, and attributes required to succeed as a software development engineer at Amazon, which Lambda’s program will cover in their entirety. Amazon Technical Academy is part of Amazon’s commitment to upskill 100,000 of its own employees by 2025.
Getting expensive to move to Seattle though
"Oh but they can just google the solution. Welcome aboard."
Amazon fails to understand that it is currently a worker’s market in software engineering so they are the ones who have to convince engineers to work there.
I get pinged by Amazon recruiters almost every week right now, and once I discovered the assessment was 2.5 hours during my last job search, I had trouble finding the time and energy to fit it in amongst all the other job search requirements I had to do.
Ended up getting so far along the process with 6 other companies that I just didn't bother to take it. Still ended up with a job offer with a 60% bump in pay and what seems like a better environment than Amazon would have been, without any threats to force me back into the office or needing to relocate.
Lots of equivalent paying companies in Canada now, yet alone USA.
None of this is a reflection of the value of unions from the employees' perspective. But it's important to realize that unions are one of the instances where the employees' and employers' interests are not aligned. So, emailing a recruiter and mentioning unions has only one possible outcome - none.
The interview was, and I hate to use this word, followed a template clearly put together by an MBA who went into middle management without any work experience, The two people to whom I talked showed the enthusiasm of a dead wet beaver while asking the questions. This was for a storage position that I've been doing for 20+ years at some of the biggest accounts all over the planet.
During the 2 hours, I got asked two very basic questions. Then a bunch of weird generic scenarios - what have you done that fits this scenario and how did you handle it.
About half way through the second interview I decided there's not enough money in the world, and decided to have fun with it. I tells ya what - I made up some of the most ridiculous obviously fake <and then vanilla ice walked into the meeting> stories ever. They sent me a rejection letter, just to ask me to interview for a similar position two months later. I asked their recruiter to read their employee reviews and only contact me again if they offer 7 figures. Been a year now - nothing. Maybe they got the hint.
Sorry about your bad experience though.
well, let me correct myself. for this sr position in storage, i was asked one question about storage. "what is the difference between object storage and file storage."
imagine you are interviewing to work as a mathematician. a sr level one, you walk in, and the ask you no math questions, except "what is the difference between multiplication and derivatives."
here is the issue i take with this completely undeveloped script: it tells you zero about someone's technical skills or abilities. this means the hiring criteria, for highly technical roles, might as well be what color car I drive. if this is what leadership uses to determine who is good during an interview, they're going to have useless, illogical, and bogus criteria for performance. and this means the job will be frustrating and will wear me out. oh look - that's what all the tech employees are saying about amazon on glassdoor.
"This interview has a simple three step format. There's no gotchas or narrow trivia here. I'll start by asking you technical questions about the work you say you did until I've gotten the information I need about that. Then there will be a few social questions. Lastly, I'll open it up for you to ask me anything you want about working here."
Doing this seems to help the people with social anxiety and/or autism. Setting specific concrete expectations right up front and then sticking to it really comforts people.
That part was particularly frustrating; often I couldn't think of anything relevant to the specific wording.
At least you got a rejection letter, though. Multiple interviews over >1 day and I had to log in to the Amazon Jobs account to see my application's status had changed to "no longer under consideration".
Jeff Bezos recently stepped down as CEO. Google tells me that happened July 5th of this year, a few months ago.
He founded the company. It's essentially under new management for the first time ever.
I don't think you can infer much from this incident. There are too many unusual factors at play and we don't have an established track record for what the "new normal" (post Bezos) will be for Amazon.
Jeff accepted it like, "Oh well." You could tell he couldn't care less.
But Andy Jassy looked ashen. I think his becoming CEO was the reason Amazon changed course. If Jeff had stayed, he would have let HR decide the policy for the entire company, and it would have been disastrous for AWS.
I am just envious at how developed your tech scene is.
It isn't being picky, it is employees having actual worth and choice. Employees can "pick" the pay, conditions, and benefits that suite them best: In this case moving out of one of the highest housing cost areas in the country.
Turns out sometimes not only is the grass greener but it's much better tasting as well.
Ironically the place I left announced a "developers can work from home forever" policy a couple of months ago (after they'd lost 7 out of 9 senior devs off their 9 teams - the attrition rate wasn't much lower for non-seniors).
They are so fucked it's not even funny - literally decades of accumulated domain/business knowledge walked out the door.
This is not possible everywhere.
I realize a fair number of people can't do that or, commonly in my experience, feel that they can't do that but it's not actually impossible if that's what you prioritize.
To be explicit, there's nothing being sacrificed. People leaving their jobs because they don't want to go to an office are finding new jobs that pay the same amount or even more. They're not giving up anything.
Europeans work to live. Americas live to work.
So you may as well come over and get a share of the spoils
The recruiter was great, super nice, got me all organized for a full-day loop. They gave me some things to prepare, so I did. Admittedly, I was under-qualified for the job as a fresh grad but was assured that'd be fine.
Still, the entire team made it abundantly clear how much I was apparently wasting their time even being in the room with each of them as they took turns throughout the day talking to me.
Felt so unbelievably toxic, and even though this was in the early 00s, I have never even considered working there since.
I contrast that with another FAANG interview I had, where you had lunch on campus and they tried to leave a positive impression.
- 4 straight hours inside a room
- every hour the interviewer changed
- got asked the same questions over and over again
I was quite upset that I didn't pass... couple weeks later I was not, what a shitty experience it was.
- got asked the same questions over and over again"
It's the same in UK, at least they standardised it!
All that is moot now because of covid.
The current job I'm at was like 5-6h of interviews, it was hard to pass, but it didn't feel like the interviewers were trying to play "good cop, bad cop"
They blitzed him with leadership questions and were “not inclined”. Incredibly dumb given their current situation. He’s not even bad on those dimensions, they just can’t get pretty off topic imo.
A recruiter call doesn't mean a company has interest in a candidate. It just means the Amazon job description and your resume both included the word JAVA.
He even suggested that it would be totally okay if I was one of those people that wanted to study for a month or two before interviewing. Study?! For a job interview?
It was a weird experience. I normally shun recruiters, but I was just curious enough to hear what this guy had to say. His LinkedIn profile didn't indicate any past involvement with recruiting, so I wanted to know why a senior manager would spend time recruiting random people -- he must spend every waking hour on these calls.
My Facebook interview was weird also, but the people were super nice and the coding problems were fairly easy. I failed on distributed systems architecture, oddly enough, as it was an area I had no experience in for a senior hire (but I got an offer from Google the same day I was rejected from Facebook, so I didn't have much time to be sad about it).
But managers recruiting random people, just seems weird to me. If they wanted me for my specific skill set, that would be great! But if they were just looking for general hires, they must have lost a bet or something.
And considering their current controversies, my opinion on working for them has not changed.
If they ever contacted me again, I'd probably just laugh.
Neither of us get any attention from “good” companies whatsoever, but we both at least got a handful of messages from Amazon recruiters. They seem desperate. I didn’t bother pursuing as a little research showed they wouldn’t offer enough for me to relocate anyway. I’m not a fan of the FAANG hiring/placement and would probably not engage Amazon on that unless they could offer me a particularly enticing role, at least not now. Am I missing out on money? yeah probably.
The most interesting thing though, was how robotic the recruiter felt. The messages I got felt more like some mass automated messages than someone reaching out to speak to me about open roles.
They seem to have a lot of recruiters and I'm surprised if this even got you off their "contact every month" list.
People seem to forget that outside of the supermega metro areas the typical downtown/financial districts are basically dead.
Before working in tech I lived in mostly small and medium sized cities. The downtowns were always packed, and usually the artists were local, but as much as I hear "artists and musicians" brought up with respect to a cities value, they don't lure people in. It's just a bonus. What does is good schools, affordable home prices, stable jobs, and a decent economy.
How long ago? If you compare downtown Seattle to downtown Seattle 10 years ago, it was much better back then. Things changed quickly this decade, I wouldn't be surprised if the places you left packed are struggling today.
Seattle in general isn't struggling at all, it grew 25% this decade and the housing market...but downtown has a huge hill to climb in going to back to a fun place to visit on the weekend.
But when I tell my son Seattle center used to have arcades and a roller coaster, he doesn’t believe me. Or when I talk about sending my great aunt and uncle off back to Alaska on the ferry at the water front (the Alaska marine highway used to start at Seattle rather than Bellingham).
If I'm reading it right, the problem you're calling out is that it is unaffordable to live in a downtown metro after it reaches a certain density. People still think they can hack together solutions by subsidizing housing, rent control, applying grants, etc but I'm more of the mind that there's probably a max size to a city, where once you hit a threshold it either takes a nosedive into poverty or becomes so unsustainably expensive that it chases out what desirable things may have existed there in the first place.
I don't know where you got that. Affordability downtown isn't really what is keeping people away (and it is not like rental buildings have lots of vacancies, nor are close to downtown condos, towhomes, and SFHs difficult to sell), but retail and restaurant choices have been decimated over the last decade, it isn't thriving from the point of view of someone going there to do things.
The homeless factor can't be understated in Seattle, especially with all the encampments downtown. I worked at 3rd and Pine McDonalds in the mid-90s, and for as bad as it was back then, it is ten times worse today.
So at least as far as its peers in the PNW, Seattle isn't very much of an outlier. Well, unless we can compare to other Seattle-area cities like Bellevue, which can simply push most of the homeless problem onto Seattle.
The city is trying to move people into housing but there's a lot of mental health and addiction problems that make many people resist the outreach support.
Sounds very dependent on what stage of life you're in. I can see how people who are already looking to start a family would want the things you mentioned, but for those of us who haven't married yet, good options to socialise and meet people are a prerequisite before we even start to think about schools and buying homes.
Just the other day I visited Capitol Hill around 15th Avenue and an entire park is full of tents, and a person defecated in an alley by Kaiser Permanente in broad daylight. Reminded me of Tenderloin district...
Feels like the city is going downhill - especially if you have family I'd stay away
The question really comes down to how much downtown real estate is paid off or under mortgage, which basically depends on how recently it was sold to a new owner.
Anything under a mortgage will be subject to a CMBS that was valued based on the worth of renting out the units in the building. These will have terms setup such that if the owner lowers the rent, they will be required to pay an additional down payment to cover the lost value in the mortgage's collateral (the building) from the now lower rents.
CMBS's will be invested in by multiple investors at different risk levels, creating different incentives on modifying or maintaining the collateral requirements, and anywhere from 50% to 75% of the investors will have to agree to any changes to the loan terms.
In short, some landlords downtown are bound by terms forbidding them from lowering rents without having to pay a huge capital expense for the privilege to do so.
The lack of downtown workers going into offices. Effectively there is no one working near those restaurants.