In last weeks post on Amazon, the blog focused on the New York Times article that did a feature on the mistreatment of workers and work life at the company. Jodi Kantor, who interviewed previous employees at Amazon and wrote about the intense atmosphere at the company where people cry at their desks because work life is too stressful. The article also points out that women were mistreated due to motherhood and wanting to balance raising children and a career, one female worker was told at Amazon (according to Kantor) that it is too hard to have children and be successful at her position at Amazon. Another worker talks about how their anxiety increased due to working in an atmosphere where people were addicted to succeeding. This raises a question for Amazon of how much drive and will to succeed is too much, at what point does aiming for perfection become dangerous?
The CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos made a reply by saying (writing a memo to his company’s 180,000 workers that) “The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day.”
As I searched for responses to the New York Times article, there is a Medium article written by Jay Carney, the Senior Vice President for Global Corporate Affairs at Amazon who comes back at Kantor for her poor use of fact checking. As I myself read reviews of Carney’s response to the New York Times, I couldn’t help but think why he was focusing so much on the details of fact checking, when he should be defending his company. Carney writes that Kantor never contacted him to make sure resources and times and dates checked out. Carney explains that he wasn’t happy when Kantor decided to make her story extremely one sided instead of hearing him out.
“Reporters like to joke about stories and anecdotes that are ‘too good to check.’ But the joke is really a warning. When an anecdote or quote is too good to check, it’s usually too good to be true.” – Carney
Although it is important to point out the importance of fact checking there could have been more to Carney’s response. What is interesting is that Carney spends a lot of time ridiculing the New York Times instead of owning up to actions or dedicating his response to a plan of action to make work life a better experience for employees.
The controversy presents a interesting approach to as where Amazon will take their employee work life critique and if conditions are worth it to the company for improving.