As the media and politicians sustain this COVID-19 mess until November 3rd, when I have a feeling it will miraculously abate, it makes looking for jobs all that more complicated—and hiring for employment on the flip side. Everything has to be done virtually, which I have no problem with, but many companies still haven’t been able to adjust to the disruption as smoothly. It’s been costly in so many ways. I have friends paying rent on buildings where no one’s going—and then having to hook them up with the technology so they can WFH.
Plenty of companies have put out openings for jobs they think they may have, contract-type jobs, and some have legitimate openings. Even with the pandemic, it’s a better job market than when I graduated with my undergraduate degree. And I’ve had some great interviews lately that I believe will turn into something fruitful. I’m feeling optimistic.
I’m still working at Amazon in the meantime, though, as a “placeholder job.” I don’t mean that as a slight to the job itself, the people that do it, or in an arrogant way at all. Not only am I happy to have the job, but I also enjoy it a lot of the time. I’ll bet many people can’t say that. It allows me to stay healthy physically and engages me mentally, and myjob(s) there have a gamification aspect to them, which keep them interesting and make the time go by very fast when I’m there.
There are a lot of people that work at Amazon. A lot of very different people who have very different backgrounds, stories, and motivations for working there. I’ll bet there isn’t a more diverse company on Earth. And the people that work there are generally pleased and like working there a lot. That includes me. It’s not what I’m qualified for or in my vision for what I have planned long-term, but it offers some special skills and unique, meaningful work. If I had to gripe about anything, it would be the socialistic compensation pay program and the also rather socialistic management styles and tactics. But that’s about it. Getting around the enormous rat maze that’s our building could be made more straightforward, but there must be a reason it’s like it is.
I get to see and be part of the way the most significant and most valuable company on Earth does business, and it’s something to behold. They do take good care of their employees, and take good care of their facilities and keep them clean and above-par as far as safety, and a working environment goes. Top-notch. It’s all standardized and data-driven. It’s how the government should be run; if it had to obey the same rules and regulations as the private businesses, it depends on for fuel.
Amazon’s Standard Work Tenets
They offer good benefits and want their employees to feel like they belong, are heard, and have a voice there, which is a feat with hundreds of thousands of people yelling about something.
The building where I work is enormous, and it’s several floors. And everything is grey and yellow and looks the same. That means if you aren’t careful, getting lost in, there is a real possibility. It happens all the time. I’ve been a rat trapped in a maze in there many times, and it feels reminiscent of nightmares I had as a child, where I was trying to escape some vast wild world and couldn’t. It’s like being in space, where you don’t know which way is up or down (what floor you’re on) or where in the building you are. You could be anywhere. I have total freedom to roam, and there are no landmarks or ways to gather your bearings at all. It’s vast and endless, and did I mention enormous? And that’s just one operations facility. It’s a big one, but still, there are dozens. The operations there are insane. There are lots of people in the building and you could go a very long time without ever seeing a single solitary person. I’m sure I’m being watched though. There are cameras everywhere of course. The security there is a joke for the most part. I’m sure they’re well-trained, and diligent, but they aren’t there to defend the castle, should we be invaded by a Wal-Mart Army, for example. I’ve never seen anyone get in trouble for anything there, no matter the infraction. I’m sure it’s happened, but such an occurrence would be so isolated and stomped out so quickly, no one would ever now if something happened.
Conveyors and yellow totes are whirling all around you containing the latest and most extraordinary items the world has demanded and will be receiving in a day or two. The genius that Jeff Bezos has demonstrated by building such a company is astounding. Learning how it operates is a thrill as an MBA. I drink it all in. There are so many things to wonder about and be in amazement of in that building I don’t even know where to start. It’s an engineering marvel. And a construction masterpiece. A technological undertaking on the grandest of scales. To be built as well as it is to work as hard as it does and do the things required of it, day in and day out, and be kept in such immaculate shape and chugging along and safe and comfortable is mind-blowing. Technology helps with a lot of it, but it’s all out of sight. Things just work, which is an exemplary design.
I can see what’s trending in America and what this country is buying in real-time. I won’t get into that here, because frankly, it’s a bit disturbing. But it’s fascinating from a sociological perspective as well. I will say this: our population is very overweight and likes to have fun in the bedroom.
What’s nice is working somewhere you now you don’t have to stay forever, but still enjoy working there while you do, and they make it super-easy for me to interview and exit. And if I ever wanted to work for Amazon again, I have no doubt they’d hire me right back. It’s good to have something like that in your hip pocket in these uncertain times. There are lots of people who are there to make it their career. And lots of “elderly” employees, which is excellent. And lots of young ones, too. Lots of just about every type and shape, color, ethnicity, gender, and whatever label you have for a person works there. As long as you work hard and are halfway driven, they will make a place for you to help. I hear so many different languages spoken there, and see so many cultures represented; it’s like a World’s fair. Deaf people, amputees, people right off the boat, felons, runaways, retirees…you name it. And even MBAs.
A lot of the work there is great if you’re an idiot savant. There is so much volume, so many items coming through at such a fast pace, and everything is done so quickly that you need a brain that works like a computer to do some of the jobs well. People would be surprised at how mentally and physically demanding some of the typical jobs there are. It seems like you can do and go as far as you’re willing and able. They keep tabs on your productivity and quality no matter what you’re doing. Time off task and any useless nonsense are monitored as well. That’s not to say you can’t and shouldn’t take breaks or regroup every now and then. You have to, and they encourage it. But you’re expected to work towards and achieve if not break goals.
I never had a doubt that Amazon would become the world’s most valuable company, and make Jeff Bezos the richest man in the Universe. It did, and he has, just as planned. He’ll be a trillionaire. That’s pretty rich.
Amazon has the scale and abilities to take over the world and beyond, and I have no doubt it will. It was designed to succeed at scale, and it has. It’s what makes it so successful. So the bigger it gets, the more prosperous it becomes and it’s like the snake that eats its tail. Elon Musk and his companies will be right there behind him. Apple, Microsoft and the rest are has-beens. Yesterday’s news. Google doesn’t have the type of people it needs to be alongside them. Google has brains, but it takes more than brains to do what Jeff and Elon have planned and are doing. Google is a more insidious company, as well. As is Apple.
Ways to cultivate your vocabulary. These days, there are lots of tools to do this. There’s a screen saver that introduces you to new words. There are apps that help you expand your word set. Reading of course helps, and when you come across a word that you don’t know, look it up write it down or ask Siri or Google what it means. Read thoughtful pieces by people that have large vocabularies. William Buckley was a great role model for this, God rest his perspicacious soul.
It may also help to learn how words are formed. I took Latin, so I know the basis for a lot of our language, which helps. But if you remember your English lessons or studying for the SAT you might recall that words are made up of parts, which can be transfixed to one another.
Another way might be to read poetry. Poetry may not be for everyone, but give it a chance, and once you realize its function and how to read it as intended, it can be pleasurable. A lot of people become frustrated by poetry, which is understandable. If you don’t approach it with an open mind and with the right toolset, you won’t get anywhere. Keep a dictionary handy, or a way to look up the various meanings of words. Many words have different meanings, and used jointly, is what builds context and weaves a tapestry of art that becomes poetry. You can see what the author is trying to express, and use your mind to extrapolate and try each meaning of every word to see what works best. It takes time and patience, as does everything that’s worthwhile in life.
An interesting thing happened in my family recently. A tragedy, by any measure, to be sure.
Two women in my rather small family recently wrote another member off entirely, after calling their perspective on life “evil and delusional.” Pretty harsh. Both women are in their mid-seventies and have been married several times each. I don’t know if that has anything to do with their mindset, but those are some commonalities. One is very leftist politically, and the other very conservative. (I can’t use the label “liberal” anymore because it’s been redefined to the point of being nearly undefined.) They don’t share much in common other than age and my late mother as the fulcrum that brought them together. They are from the same hometown, Albany, Georgia, but couldn’t have been any different growing up. And are still opposites except for their sanctimony. One was a mousy introvert growing up, and the other a spontaneous activist-type that believes the world should know what’s on her mind at every moment. I love them both.
The interesting part of this arrangement they’ve decided on is where they each come from and what they did to reach their judgment and pass down their similar sentence to the person who happened to, unfortunately, land in their stern, but obviously fair, sights.
One is a person who presents herself as a devout Christian. As devoted as imaginable, with a prayer room in her house replete with an entire library, and love for proselytizing and posting scripture all over Facebook and sending it out unsuspectingly via text with no explanation offered. She lives in the heart of the bible belt in Alabama.
The other woman is her sister-in-law and lives in the Gomorrah of the US: Denver, Colorado. She and I have spoken of her interest in spirituality, many years ago, and she’s given up Christianity, dabbled in Buddhism and read about a few others it sounded like, and as far as I know, has ended up agnostic. There’s no evidence to the contrary.
Which begs the question: what does an agnostic base evil upon? There must be a set of commandments, decrees, rules, or life boundaries to determine what is right and what is evil. With no moral rudder to speak of, what is “evil” based upon? That’s one point of pontification. You can’t have “good” without “bad.”
The other is that the other lady held court in absentia. Meaning, brought that person in question into her court, held court without that person able to defend themself, without charges ever being mentioned, and held them guilty, and passed down judgment and punishment all without informing the “defendant” what she was doing or why. It still hasn’t ever been told what brought on her decision. Both of them did this.
But what is interesting is that for years she has sent out scripture about how wrong it is to judge others. The Bible says it, Jesus says it, and it’s a core belief among Christians, which you’d better believe she counts herself among.
These women got together and talked about the person behind their back and concluded together that their “perspective on life is evil and distorted.” And never speak to them again or have anything to do with them again. No reason was given, just the harshest of sentences handed down, final and just, and for all eternity, with no appeal. And they’ve gone on their merry ways to judge another. My aunt in Alabama felt the decree was relevant enough to inform the person via a brief text, and the other sent out no notice whatsoever.
Evil and distorted, indeed. Do their actions constitute benevolence and straight-shooting? In their high esteem, yes, it does.