If you're like millions of people around the world, you've ordered products from Amazon. A day or so later, their cute box with a happy smile on it arrived. It's Amazon; it's fun, carefree and on the cutting edge of retail.
Amazon is great, and it's doing something right. These days, Amazon has surpassed retail giant Wal-Mart, with a market valuation of $250 billion.
Yet, that's only the Amazon we see. Inside its offices, Amazon is a nightmare for its 180,000 employees.
That's according to about 100 former and current employees, many on record, who spoke to the New York Times for a scathing profile in its Saturday edition. The article is titled, "Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace."
Many workers are pressured to work well past midnight every day, says the Times. Some staffers get angry text messages in the middle of the night asking why they're not answering company emails. Some employees say that Amazon staffers are regularly fired en masse, which the Times says a representative for Amazon previously confirmed.
These Amazonians, as CEO Jeff Bezos calls his employees, paint a seriously dark picture of Amazon. Some of them say they were given terrible performance reviews and fired after they battled cancer, suffered miscarriages or other traumatic events.
Bezos is on the counterattack today. He sent his employees a letter telling them to read that New York Times article and to contact him personally if they witness what he says is a cold, callous workplace that he doesn't recognize.
Bezos also pointed them to a more positive profile of working at Amazon. This one, on LinkedIn, like the New York Times, also describes a work environment where employees are encouraged to work hard, to be innovative, and they're rewarded for it.