Former Amazon employees say company is tough, worth it

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SEATTLE — A New York Times article that examines the atmosphere at on-line giant Amazon and its high expectations for its workers, is what many people are talking about.

People who work at the Amazon campus aren’t saying much about the New York Times article, but we spoke to some previous workers who say Amazon is a tough place to work at, but they say it’s may not be a bad thing.

“I actually had high blood pressure so I went to the doctor because I was having chest pains. They ran an EKG and said my heart was enlarged. He told me the only thing to do is quit my job,” said Julia Wigley, a former Amazon worker.

Wigley worked at Amazon from 2007 to 2011 and she said her first three years at the company were great.

However, in the fourth year, she says the demands on her time and toll on her health were too much.

“I would have stayed until I had a family but just the way things were turning out I had to leave before that. There was no way I would be able to get even get pregnant because it was so stressful,” added Wigley.

Wigley’s story is echoed in the New York Times article which looks at the company’s way of doing business.

The times claims workers are pushed to the limit with 80 hour weeks and constant challenges from their managers.

“It was a huge learning experience for me and I had only been in my career at that point, so it was very eye opening to see just a different way of running a business,” said Liz Pearce, a former Amazon employee.

Pearce took what she learned at Amazon and is using it as the CEO of LiquidPlanner a company designed to make project management more simple and effective.

“I do remember people being stressed or anxious when a new launch was coming up but I think its healthy pressure,” added Pearce.

The article claims some workers were given low performance ratings if they let personal life interfere with their performance plan.

In the wake of the article, Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos sent a letter to his employees assuring them he would never tolerate the ‘shockingly callous management’ style described in the Times article.

He goes on to say ‘The article doesn’t describe the amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day.”

We reached out to amazon for comment but we didn’t hear back.