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Dear Amazon,

A letter full of career optimism, friendships, mentorships, broken dreams, lies and betrayal.

By Crystal McGrawPublished 2 months ago 11 min read
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Original photo taken by me, Crystal McGraw. Edited, also by me to become an Amazon frown rather than smile.

Dear Amazon,

Imagine that you have great employees, great employees who have great work ethics. Employees who bust their ass for the company and have nothing but the drive and desire to do be a benefit to the company and make a career out of it. Imagine that you have these people and this person. Someone who can legitimately say they've put their blood, sweat and tears into the company and imagine that you let one person destroy this person's entire career.

Dear Amazon,

That person's whose career and livelihood you allowed to get destroyed, is me. No one significant to you. But someone who highly valued her career. Someone who worked her way from the bottom, so to speak, up into a leadership role. Someone who worked so many hours and put so much time into it, being a valued asset to the company, all while being a true Amazonian, at least in Amazon's Leadership Principles of what an Amazonian should be. Almost 4 consecutive years of my life I put everything into my work, with no plans of going anywhere. Then everything changed and I got stuck with a Direct Manager who made my life hell. Everything I did was wrong, no matter what I did. When I asked a question for something that I needed better clarity on, rather than it becoming a developmental opportunity as it should have, it always became a problem, a condescending lecture, to the point where I just stopped asking. And yes, I discussed issues with higher ups and HR, clearly, it got me nowhere. Even though I thought those were also people who were there for my best interest. They weren't. After just over a year later, after I made an extremely difficult decision to leave Amazon, one I feel was forced, I thought I would be "over it". But truth is, I'm not. Therefore, I feel it's worth telling my story for and defending my career in my own way.

Dear Amazon,

February 3rd, 2023 was sadly my official last day at Amazon. It was heartbreaking. I put everything into my job. I worked my way up from a Seasonal Tier 1 Associate to an L4 Area Manager and in between that time I was an L3 Learning Coordinator, during Covid at that. And as you can imagine, I was very busy. I also had the great opportunity of launching 4 Delivery Stations as Learning Support, including Launching with my own Delivery Station. Despite by busy schedule and crazy hours, I would no trade this experience for anything, So, now we're going to fast forward a bit to when I came into my Area Manager role. Due to some personal things, I ended up back in my original city of my Amazon beginnings, just at a different site. My training as an Area Manager in a new type of facility was subpar at best, and yes, this was mentioned on my part, because I felt I needed to know more. I knew enough to fulfil my role as Area Manager but I wanted to know enough to exceed my role and move onto my next level in my Amazon Career. My overall Amazon career plan? Keep moving forward, keep moving up. So, we'll fast forward a little more, to when I ended up with the Direct Manager from hell. Someone who came in as an Operations Manager, he didn't start at the Amazon beginnings like me or some of the other Managers, he came in as an OM..... from Target. This particular site I was at, changed the Area Manager schedules about every 3-4 months, which meant associates got new Direct Managers that much, as well as us Area Managers getting a New Operations Manager that much as well. This is worth mentioning when telling my story, because when I found out I was going to be having this specific Operations Manager as my Direct Manager, I spoke with my Site Leader to either request to stay on the overnight shift and/or to not have this person as my Direct Manager. And my reason for that? My first experience working a shift with this OM was extremely negative. He was so rude to me and talked to me in a manner that he thought I was "less than". It was so noticeable that even my Process Assistants whom I was working with at the time asked me what his problem was and why he was "on my ass" like that. I told them I didn't know. But I did request to have a meeting with my Site Leader to discuss the issue. He met with me about a week later. After that, this particular OM was a decent human being to me....until he became my Direct Manager despite my request to not have him as one. Not only did I discuss his behavior with my Site Leader but also in a group setting with my Site Leader, HR and other Area Managers as well as a one-on-one meeting with HR going into detail about every issues. And HR even stated that he was not developing his Managers like he should be.

Dear Amazon,

Despite the fact I did sign a severance agreement and that I would not try to sue or tell my story to news media. And the fact that I was put into a coerced compliant resignation situation, I found out later on Amazon documents stated that I was involuntarily terminated. This is so far from the truth and I have literal proof that I hesitantly resigned due to toxic management, so why lie? I will not have my work ethic be questioned and I will not allow any company to make it seem so by stating a reason for my departure that is not true. This could potentially break any agreement to not sue or not reach out to news media. But let's be real, am I asinine to take on a Corporate Retail Giant like Amazon in a lawsuit, despite the entire wrongfulness of my career ending? No, I'm not. In a sense I was forced my intimidation to leave the company, basically you do this, this and this, the way your Direct Operations Manager wants you to and if he doesn't think it's good enough (which nothing I ever did was good enough for him even if I had facts to back up my decisions), then we can let you go later one. You can't transfer sites during this time, oh by the way, you have 3 months and this person who is so toxic to you remains your Direct Manager, take it or leave it.

Dear Amazon,

I think it's worth mentioning that during my almost 4 consecutive years at Amazon I never even had a verbal warning for anything that I can recall. I wasn't at the same site the entire time either, so I feel that this alone speaks a lot of volume. And I think it is interesting to mention that maybe 2 or so months after my situation ending my career, this particular Operations Manager parted ways with the company. After putting me through so much hell, he left anyways. I know the reason I was told that he left but I don't believe it. I wasn't the only one who had a complaint or complaints against him, so in my opinion I think that may have had something to do with it. But after all the shit he put me through, he left the company. Why not just leave me alone and let me be if he was leaving the company anyways? One Manager, one Manager only was left in control of my entire career, a condescending, know-it-all, who seemed to have a great problem with female leadership, left in charge of my entire career, after everything I put into it. And he destroyed it, emotionlessly, destroyed it.

Dear Amazon,

Let me go ahead and tell you about some of the many things I did for you despite you letting one person destroy me. I am a great worker and I will absolutely argue my work ethic with anyone. My Manager never even addressed any of my accomplishments or good doings in any of my reviews during the time he was my Direct Manager and my HRBP at the time even stated that wasn't acceptable. Out of about 20-30 Managers [AMs, OMs and Site Leader included]. I had the highest Engagement Scores of all Managers on the operations side in the building. And that, to this day is something that I am still highly proud of. This Manager of mine even told me at one point that I needed to teach the other Managers how to bring up their Engagement Scores. I may even have proof of that conversation somewhere. How do I do that? I can tell the other Managers until I'm blue in the face what I do to have good Engagement scores or how to be good with their people but I can't actually make someone be a good people person. There were a lot of external Managers at this site (Managers who came in as Managers, not those who worked their way from the floor up). So I had a different relationship with my associates and a lot of the other Managers didn't have, being that I could literally relate with them in a way other Managers couldn't. I could put myself in their shoes and mean it when I said I've been where they are.

Dear Amazon,

Let's talk about some of your Leadership Principles and how I became them, followed them, in every true Amazonian definition:

"Have Fun While Being The Best."

I was assigned to run an early morning shift PEAK 2022 to dispense some of the PEAK volume and reduce that work from other shifts. I came in at 5am until about 430-5pm during that time, shift ran 5am-9am. I (and my employees) consistently broke volume goals and we made it a fun challenge to always out do Front Half for this every week and we did, even challenging ourselves to break our own goals. Consistently challenging each other in a positive way. My crew always killed it!

"Hire and Develop the Best "

They did that with me, I truly believe this. Someone who strived for the good of my building, my employees and the company.

I also developed my own associates and direct reports into their next roles. With 2 of my Direct Reports moving from T1 roles to T3 roles. Reviewing resumes and helping other T1 associates move into their T3 roles. Explaing my own interview experiences with them.

"Learn and Be Curious"

I went from a Tier 1 Seasonal associate to and L4 AM within 2 years at Amazon because I have this quality. And I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Learning Coordinator, having my own building to do this as well as assisting in the launches of others. And my Manager training in a whole other state that I had never been to before.

"Earn Trust"

This one kind of falls back to my employee engagement skills. If I wasn't trusted I wouldn't have those Scores nor would I have the respect from the employees I had. How many other Managers do you know would actively go around and introduce themselves to their Direct Reports every time their Manager changed so that their employees knew who to go to? Well, this was me.

I could go on and on with the leadership principles. But I'm going to move back to my last site, with my last Manager and on to Sustainability, I was assigned as Sustainability Ambassador, during this time I was able to recognize a flaw in the dock doors and their lack of sealing [this is in issue in both warm and cold weather]. I contacted the necessary people to get this issue taken care of on 13 dock doors that had this issue. By doing so I saved that site alone $15K a month in energy cost. [Take Action]. This was far from impressive to my Direct Manager, why? Because it didn't get done as fast as he thought it should and somehow, I was in control of when the Maintenace Crew could come out and fix this. Realistically, I was not.

Although I took the necessary steps to move into an L5 position, I did my White Paper )which is something in Amazon Land that you are told you need to do to move up from L4 to L5) on the benefits of latching the carts together to move them, this included timing how much time to move X-amount of carts 1x1 and then moving 3 carts at a time latched together. The time saved doing so this way as well as the safety benefits of moving carts latched together as they're intended to be made to do. There was a lot of physical testing, numbers and math involved to make a good case to implement something that made work more efficient for my employees. My Site Leader even stated that he appreciated the research I put into this.

Dear Amazon,

My point to all of this is that I, an extremely good and ethical worker was done wrong by one ONE OM who was put in charge of my entire career when that should've never been so.. This situation should have never been thrown out so quickly. ys heavy on my mind and to me, that means it's worth mentioning until something changes I guess. Closure that makes sense? It being made right? I really don't know. What I do know is that the entire situation should've never happened. And I was extremely wrongly done. And the reason I am writing this is because there was no ending that was justifiably acceptable and right. I am not only writing this for myself but for other employees/Managers who may have been dealt the wrong card when given a Direct Manager with a lack of developmental skills and the ability to offer advancement opportunities or make a path for one. And for those that lost their careers and livelihood for the same reasons.

Dear Amazon,

Let me make one thing clear, I don't regret my time working at Amazon. I thoroughly enjoyed and miss my career. Even now, when people ask me about the rumors of Amazon being a horrible place to work or how bad they treat their people, my response? "It's not like that, I left because of a bad Manager who had too much control."

I doubt anyone of any Amazon importance will ever see this. But to me it was worth writing. Because it means something to me. And maybe it will mean something to other Associates and Managers who have been wrongfully done. And maybe just maybe in the smallest off chance it will make something change.

Dear Amazon,

Listen to your Associates better, especially the ones who worked their way from the bottom up. And never put one person in charge of someone's entire career. When someone has a complaint, take is seriously. Don't let bad Management rid you of your good people.

Sincerely,

An Area Manager who was Done Wrong.

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About the Creator

Crystal McGraw

I'm always speaking my mind, When I'm better off biting my tongue

I'm a bad joke at the wrong time .Hell,I'm a legend in my own mind

I'm good for some but I'm not for everyone~Brother's Osbourne.

I'm here to write stories& tell my story.

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