Celebrating 10 Years at Amazon

Wow, I can’t believe I am celebrating my 10 year work Anniversary at Amazon (aka Amaversary). January 27, 2014 feels both like a lifetime ago, and oddly enough, in some ways like it was just yesterday. Leaving my previous employer and work family was definitely a hard decision. ROOT SPORTS was the place where I started my career, but as we all do at some point or another, we find that it is time to move on. For me, it was Amazon!  

This milestone has been something I have been looking forward to since I celebrated my 5 year Amaversary (orange badge). There is something about being at the same place for 10 years. It feels like a milestone that needed a moment to commemorate. 

Why Amazon?

Haha, I would counter… Why not Amazon? When I realized I was going to have a career as an Executive Assistant (EA) (check out my post here), I really wanted to work for a large company because there is more scope and possibilities to grow my EA career. Sadly, at my previous company I had a glass ceiling. So, what bigger company is there than Amazon? 

Amazon is full of opportunities and a company I highly respect. Not only does Amazon deliver smiles to their customers but it is also giving back to the community and planet with various initiatives that often get overlooked. 

I have been very blessed while working at Amazon.

  1. I was able to work as an associate fulfilling orders from our fulfillment centers (FC) during my training.
  2. I have gotten to explore new locations with travel to New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona, London and Madrid.
  3. I have been promoted twice and now support a C-Suite.

A lot of blessings I wouldn’t have received if I worked elsewhere. 

One thing that isn’t talked about regarding Amazon, is the people. I have built some of the most amazing friendships in my life working at Amazon. In addition, the network of people who have helped me to get where I am today. From executives I have supported to team members I have worked with to mentors who still coach me to this day, I have my career at Amazon because of these people who taught me some of the best lessons that I share with others starting their careers at Amazon.

My Journey

As this anniversary approached I found myself thinking about how I got to this point. The path to get that coveted offer seemed long and at times restless. In fact, I think it took me 6 months or so from my initial application to Day 1. 

So how did I get here? 

Well, I blindly applied to a series of EA roles via the careers page on the Amazon website. After some time, I received an email from a recruiter saying Amazon was interested and if I would be available for a phone interview. I was so excited and nervous. I remember I wanted to be as prepared as possible, so I researched Amazon on LinkedIn and Glassdoor to collect as much information as possible. Thankfully I also received resources from the recruiter but I really appreciate the additional tips I found on LinkedIn and Glassdoor. 

Some tips I learned:
  1. STAR responses (Situation, Task, Action and Result)
  2. Be as detailed as possible
  3. Data, Data, Data
  4. Create as many situations as possible, so I don’t repeat myself.
  5. Have questions prepared to ask your interviewers
  6. Know the Leadership Principles
What happened next

After my phone screen was over, I waited impatiently for next steps. Sadly, I didn’t get the role. Luckily I was asked to do another phone interview with another team. I wanted to make sure I had new examples to any questions I am asked, just in case. As I mentioned above, I didn’t want to repeat myself. 

Once again the phone interview came and went. Unfortunately, the job didn’t work out, luckily there was another role. Of course another phone interview. I’ll be honest, this went on and on until FINALLY, I got the news that I was going to speak to the hiring manager (HM). I was thrilled because this was the next phase and one step closer. 

Meeting the Hiring Manager

It was Friday, a week before Christmas and I was scheduled for a phone interview with the HM. Due to the importance of this call, I wanted to be especially prepared. 

Here is what I did:
  1. Researched the HM on LinkedIn
  2. Rehearsed with a friend
  3. Prepared questions for the HM specific to how they work and what support they are looking for so I could share examples in response to these questions

Once the call was completed, I felt like the conversation with the HM went well. It felt brief or that it went by really fast. Maybe it was 30 mins. Even after all my preparation, the conversation was very casual. The HM asked me a few questions about my background, working style, then we had some small talk. It felt less stressful than my previous phone interviews. When we hung up, I kept thinking how did it go? It felt good, maybe I was too casual? I was overthinking every word, and verbal cue I could remember. Gosh, it was the longest two weeks ever. Thinking back, knowing what I know now, two weeks is VERY UNUSUAL for Amazon to wait to give a candidate a response either way. I thought for sure I didn’t get it. 

In Person Interview

After the New Year came and went, I was still eager to hear back. I decided to reach out to the recruiter for a follow-up. Thankfully the recruiter responded back. I was moving on to the in person interview stage of the hiring process! 

This process at Amazon is a long one. The interviews are scheduled throughout the day with various people within and out of the HM organization. I have never been more EXCITED to interview in my life (crazy I know). With all this excitement, a new interview outfit is in order. 

I happily went shopping with my mom for what I believed to be one of the most important outfits of my life. Gotta look good, right? Along with the shopping, I did more preparation for my interviews. The recruiter does share a few more resources to help prepare for the day.

More tips:
  1. Research the interviewers on LinkedIn
  2. Prepare more examples of my work
  3. Rehearse some more with friends and work on my fidgeting. 
  4. (this is silly) I drove to the interview location so I knew where I was going in the morning

Finally the day of my interview arrived, I was beyond nervous. I worried about the typical things such as  being late or not knowing where to go, spilling my breakfast on my new outfit, you name it I was probably worried about it. So I arrived 30 mins early. Since I was so early, I waited a bit in my car and prepped my materials. About 15 minutes before my interview I went to check in. Gosh, the closer I got to meeting my first interviewer the more the butterflies were fluttering in my stomach. 

Now if you were to ask me what my day was like, I couldn’t tell you everything but here are a couple things I do remember:

  1. I was asked to review and edit a white paper for one of the executives. 
  2. One of my interviewers needed to wrap our conversation early because her 12 week old Yorkie puppy was getting restless. (BTW… I didn’t mind. The puppy was adorable and seemed to like me)

When it was all done, I got home and started to stress and over analyze everything that happened that day. Then the waiting began. I don’t know how many days I waited, I just remember feeling like it was FOREVER. I’m sure it wasn’t that long but it sure felt that way. 

Hallelujah! I got the email from Amazon extending me a job offer, I was SO ecstatic. I reviewed all the paperwork, had my dad take a look at it before I accepted.

Day 1

Gosh, this day felt like it was the first day of school. To top off that feeling I was taking the city bus for the first time. Upon arriving at the office, I was greeted by another EA who took me to New Hire Orientation (NHO). This 4-hour meeting included filling out my insurance benefits, getting my laptop, swag and doing a few initial training courses. Once NHO was complete, the same EA picked me up and took me to lunch at the building’s lunchroom. After lunch, I got set up at my desk and started work. 

Amazon Camp

I had the best opportunity to go to two weeks of orientation in Phoenix, AZ. My friends and I call it “Amazon Camp”. It is where I met one of my dear friends and drank the Amazon Orange Kool-aid. It started with Operations Leadership Orientation (OLO), where I really learned about the Amazon philosophy and immersed myself in the cherished Amazon Leadership Principles (LPs). We got to hear funny stories about the release of the last Harry Potter book and the chaos during Holiday Peak. I was laughing so hard hearing the various stories. To this day, I don’t remember the stories but I do remember laughing so hard my belly hurt and thinking I am so grateful to be here. 

The second week of “camp”, I participated in Associate Experience Week (AEW). This week I got to work in an Fulfillment Center (FC) as an Associate, picking and packing, instock and outbound. Outbound is where we load the truck with the boxes in a tetris to maximize the space. Gosh, being an associate is a lot of work but we had so much fun competing on who could pack the most boxes. I really bonded with my fellow team members. After this week, we still managed to meet for lunch. 

Once “camp” was over, I went back to a normal day at the office. I guess normal is a relative term, LOL. Let’s face it, at Amazon the demands are higher, the pace is faster and the campus is bigger and I LOVE IT. 

I should call out that sadly, Amazon doesn’t do “camp” anymore. It’s such a bummer because I really think it is the best opportunity for new employees to be immersed in the Amazon culture. 

Are the rumors true?

Ok, Ok… It hasn’t always been hunky dory. I mean sure, I have had my moments of frustration or being so stressed I shed a tear or two. But, at the end of the day, that can happen at any job. Also, I’m an Executive Assistant so your Executive’s stress is also your stress, which means I am carrying twice the load, which can be really heavy. Of course, I’m not naive to the reviews on Glassdoor, Blind, and so on. Of course, I read the news articles. I have even seen my friends, great Amazonians leave for various reasons including the demands of Amazon. Just like any job, Amazon will take as much as you give it. Here are just a couple examples:

  1. Long hours – I learned in my first 90-days that I was never going to complete my “to do” list, even if I tried. The list is always growing. I just prioritize what needs to be done “today” before I leave.
  2. We’re human – As humans we will never be perfect. As much as we want to try to be perfect, we’re gonna make mistakes. The key is to learn from those mistakes and move on. At Amazon it is easy to dwell on those mistakes because there are plenty of people who will remind you. But, you gotta let it go before it spirals into more mistakes.

At the end of the day, every company is going to have their areas of opportunity. Let’s just say the positives about Amazon definitely outnumber the negatives. 

Looking Forward to the Next 5, 10 Years and Beyond

Sharing my journey has been joyful. I loved reminiscing about all my experiences, from the hiring process, the people I have met and the lessons I have learned. Gosh, I really could go on and on forever, haha! 

Now that I have hit this 10-year milestone and the coveted red badge, I’m thinking about my Amazon future ahead. I have 1,825 more days until my next badge (purple, my favorite color) and I am so excited to see what is next. I am in an amazing role, working with an amazing executive and team doing challenging work and having lots of FUN.  

Are you a fellow Amazonian? Have you hit a milestone? Share your journey below. I’d love to hear about it. 

Until next time, have a joy filled day!

Random fact: Amazon is also a family affair, my brother before he passed away was a third party seller on Amazon.

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