Why the New York Times’s Amazon story is so controversial, explained, updated by Ezra Klein (Vox)
On Sunday, the New York Times published a massive exposé of Amazon's "punishing" work culture. The company, the Times alleged, "is conducting a little-known experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers, redrawing the boundaries of what is acceptable."
It is here:
Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace ... the company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions, by Jodi Kantor and Streitfeldaug (NYT)
SEATTLE — On Monday mornings, fresh recruits line up for an orientation intended to catapult them into Amazon’s singular way of working.
They are told to forget the “poor habits” they learned at previous jobs, one employee recalled. When they “hit the wall” from the unrelenting pace, there is only one solution: “Climb the wall,” others reported. To be the best Amazonians they can be, they should be guided by the leadership principles, 14 rules inscribed on handy laminated cards. When quizzed days later, those with perfect scores earn a virtual award proclaiming, “I’m Peculiar” — the company’s proud phrase for overturning workplace conventions.
At Vox, Klein finds the middle of the target.
... Behind both the Times article and the responses to it is a larger debate about the future of high-prestige, white-collar work in America and the toll it takes on family life. This article, like many before it, is fundamentally about whether some of the most privileged, productive, and highly compensated workers in the world can have both the job they want and the life they want.
But it's important not to lose sight of a more urgent reality: As bad as white-collar workers may have it at Amazon and elsewhere, their blue-collar brethren have it much, much worse, and have much less power to negotiate better conditions.