Year 1 at Amazon

My perspective working at Amazon as my first job out of college.

Background

After graduating college in May of 2021, I took a job at Amazon. I also had offers from PepsiCo and a small logistics company, but I felt I would learn the most, have the biggest impact, and gain the most opportunities from working at Amazon.

When people hear you work at Amazon, they think that you’re a part of everything. I’m not. Specifically, I work for AMAZON XL (AMXL). We are the heavy bulky/large parcel arm of our transportation network, delivering things like TVs, Treadmills, Mattresses, etc… (The big stuff)

My Job

My role involved helping launch new warehouses, new connections between warehouses, changing times trucks would depart warehouses, other supply chain related changes, automating tasks for partner teams (Python, VBA, SQL), writing queries for partner teams (ETL, SQL, VBA), etc…

Accomplishments

Automated the analysis of launching new lanes between warehouses based on distance and number of packages that would be added to those trucks.

Implementing a directed graph in Python, I evaluated every opportunity to connect an unconnected Origin-Destination pair given current network constraints.

Saved my team and partner teams thousands of hours of work annually through a variety of automation projects and queries.

I’ve done other cool things, but it’s difficult to describe some of them in a way that would make sense in the context of our supply chain in less than 400 words…

What I dislike about Amazon

My Value:

-I feel like some of the best data visualizations, automation projects, and queries I’ve built are underappreciated/underused

-Disheartens me from continuing to go above and beyond for any other reason
than my own learning

-Maybe this is my own doing: failure to distribute, educate, and advertise

-I feel like people are under/over compensated for their contributions

-I wonder if this will be a ubiquitous feeling throughout my career as an employee

    -Maybe it's just the fact that I'm not experienced in the corporate world

    -Maybe, at some point, I'll feel I'm way overcompensated for what I do...

Tons of bureaucracy:

-Many upstream/downstream stake holders must sign off on every change making things slow and difficult to approve (Not necessarily anyone’s fault, probably unavoidable with the size of the org)

-It's difficult to loop all relevant stakeholders in on a change that will affect them

-We needed to make a change to our underlying transportation system to connect more
Origin-Destination pairs

    -The request was postponed into extinction

HR is slow:

-Waiting long periods of time for offers, even more bureaucracy here

-I've never actually spoken directly to anyone at HR...
**EDIT** I have spoken to someone from HR, he was very nice,
 and we have common interests

Organizational Silos:

-People are good at what they do but have no clue what most others due

-This leaves large gaps when people leave that may or may not have documentation to
clarify things with new hires (Overall poor training for new hires).

-This makes explaining things to other people cumbersome and time consuming

-When your silo overlaps with someone else’s, there is often friction and incoherence
until people realize they know nothing

    **If one party in the overlap doesn't care you can kiss your
    change/invention good-bye, it will bureaucracied into extinction**

-It can be difficult to explain your wins/accomplishments to hiring managers/partner teams who aren’t deeply familiar with what you do

What I like about Amazon

There are lots of smart people to meet:

-Most people genuinely try to do a decent job. The distribution is skewed toward smart/hardworking employees

-The vast majority of people who have made it decently high up work hard, are smart, and
genuinely care about what they do.

Interesting projects/initiatives:

-There are always interesting/high impact projects that you learn about and get involved in if you poke around enough

-It's not very difficult or time consuming to develop a reputation as a hardworking
individual contributor

-Your large wins are broadcast to hundreds/thousands of people

-Can be very useful for your career/reputation

Career:

-You have access to a variety of different jobs/orgs that you can switch to based on your interests/career trajectory

-I understand that there are some roles/orgs at Amazon that do NOT have this flexibility

-I feel like holding a significant tenure at Amazon will be a positive in my future
job search, but I could be wrong here

The Future

Overall, I’ve had a positive experience. After a little over a year, I’m being promoted to a business-analyst with the hopes of becoming a BIE or Data Scientist. I’ve opted for more of a tech path, but feel like I could transfer back into a supply chain management role should I want to… I don’t know if I could do the other way around, thus, I’ve chosen this path to keep my options open.

I’m starting to understand that I know little in a large pool of people, working on a variety of different goals, with different ambitions, and an underlying directive to meet pre-defined metrics.

Relevant Links:

“Learn how to learn from those who offend you”