Two months ago, The New York Times ran a piece on working at Amazon that went on to become its most commented-on story so far, with 6,600 comments by the paper's count. The article depicted a workplace in which 80-hour weeks were common, and work-life balance in short supply. Famously, the reporters cited one former Amazonian who said, "Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk." Now, Amazon is responding to that portrait, claiming that the stories included in the article were biased, or presented without context, and that they don't add up to an accurate picture of what it's like to work at Amazon.
This week, the question on everyone's mind was, can working at Amazon really be as bad as the New York Times article made it out to be – and beyond that, do employers have a responsibility to create work-life balance? PayScale's latest blog roundup looks at whether it's possible to be dedicated to work and family, plus 65 businesses you can start to help you escape the rat race, and 15 things you can do to be happier at work right now.
Ever since The New York Times published its scathing, 5,000-word takedown of work culture at Amazon, the topic of work-life balance has been the talk of the town. The commentary won't stop, whether it's from Amazon's most rabid defenders or passionate opponents. Even famously silent CEO Jeff Bezos has issued a response. The resulting debate has been fascinating (and probably a bit cathartic for anybody who found themselves working over the weekend), but searching for a definitive answer about whether Amazon is "good" or "bad" probably won't make a difference in your daily life or sense of job satisfaction. What you can, and should, take from the ongoing conversation is the importance of corporate culture in general and its effect on the way you think about the idea of total compensation, and ultimately, the way you negotiate salary.