About a year ago, a new Amazon hire contacted me for some personal career coaching. "I was excited about the opportunity at first," she said. "But these people work ridiculous hours. And they are really rude." Another way of stating this, of course, would be "I prefer to work a 40-hour week and have people care about my feelings."
In psychology, there is a field of study called "attribution theory," which looks at how we assign causality. Simply put, when something good happens to us – an award, a promotion – we tend to attribute that result to our own amazing qualities. But when the reverse occurs – a project fails, we lose a job – we quickly blame factors outside ourselves.
Unsuccessful or unhappy employees almost always attribute the problem to their company, boss, or colleagues, and they eagerly share these perceptions with anyone who will listen. So it is hardly surprising that two reporters found ex-Amazonians who were ready to complain. But like my coaching client, many of them had probably just landed in the wrong place.
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