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What if Loudoun County gets the Amazon HQ?

Discussion in 'General Chat Forum' started by Sunstoner, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. Sunstoner

    Sunstoner Southern Walk||IMPERIUM IN IMPERIO||Not OB||

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    Okay, so the National Capital Area is a finalist for the new Amazon HQ. Some media show that the "Loudoun/Fairfax County line" is the site. What does that mean specifically?

    I have a few thoughts:

    1) Raze the under-performing Dulles Town Center and build the Amazon complex there. It's close enough to Metro, Dulles Airport, and a has large land footprint with hotels and restaurants nearby. It would also be hugely symbolic of the change in consumer attitudes towards shopping malls by replacing a once "high-end" commercial mall to Amazon, with the new king of commerce. (cool).

    2) Our area of Loudoun County would certainly be a desirable place to live. (Good for us and our home values).

    3) The job market for skilled technical workers suddenly becomes much more competitive as working for Amazon directly could be enticing, and if we are workers, good for us! If we are employers, tough for us (as we have to compete more!). But, I see a real positive effect on workplace dynamics that Amazon (and its culture) could heavily influence the Federal government workplace to be leaner, and more agile (telework, relaxed dress, more autonomy in picking projects) (Good for us).

    Go Loudoun!
     
  2. Mike OMalley

    Mike OMalley Active Member

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    Oh sweet summer child.
     
  3. T8erman

    T8erman Well-Known Member

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    My thoughts:
    1 . Won't be at the Dulles Mall since it was a joint Loudoun/Fairfax bid and the Dulles mall is ALL LOCO. CIT sounds like the only site that works for both counties. Close to two metro stops, bet Amazon would setup dedicated shuttle service from the Herndon stop. And they could easily open the exit off Rt 28 that already exists.
    2. Our area is already desirable but if Amazon does come here, it sure won't hurt us!
    3. The job market is and almost always has been very competitive, especially in the IT realm.
    Amazon already has a pretty good presence in the Gov't with their Amazon Web Services (cloud).
    Telework does exist but considering the amount of classified work, not so much.
    Relaxed dress already exists, especially for the "working class".
    As for picking projects, depends on the skill set. Engineers, developers, cyber security and a few others can pretty much pick their projects.
     
  4. Sunstoner

    Sunstoner Southern Walk||IMPERIUM IN IMPERIO||Not OB||

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    I heard about the CIT site. Boring! I was there once and access was not good. The ramp might help, but even still, building over tbe DTC makes a statement, unlike any other option.

    I am talking relaxed dress Amazon style. Not just IT anymore, but spreading into other areas of govt. Thanks for responding T8erman
     
  5. PP-Power

    PP-Power Member

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    Don't expect a lot of telework. That's not their thing.
     
  6. Capricorn1964

    Capricorn1964 Active Member

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    Ive been flown to Seattle three times by Amazon for interviews before --- Interviews there are BRUTAL- I was interviewed for 8 hours for three of those visits. Needlessly to say, I declined further interviews over time as I lost my appetite to work for Amazon over the years.

    My observations:

    1) Amazon does have a very relaxed work attire there-
    2) They allow people to bring in pets from home to work (Small pets at that)-
    3) They EXPECT people to WORK ungodly LONG hours there. Some managers there told me that people are expected to work late at night -- This may be the preferred work environment for young people but NOT for families. This is one of the major reasons why I declined to be interviewed after the third time they've invited me back to Seattle after I saw that they aren't going to change for families.
    4) I didn't see very many middle aged folks at Amazon- All I saw were YOUNG, YOUNG, YOUNG people there- A friend of mine that works still at Amazon said that there is HIGH turnover there because after awhile, the young folks want to move on after getting valuable experience from Amazon. Im told that Amazon is a very high pressure environment and you are expected to produce FAR more than you possibly think you can (and able to do so).
    5) I didn't see very much diversity back then-- They were a LOT of white people there when I visited the offices there- In fact, during my interviews there, I hadn't seen much diversity in the interview panels there (There were like 7-8 managers/staff that had interviewed me for each time).
    6) No one is allowed to work during the Christmas holidays- That means weekends too---You are expected to work around the clock during the holidays as that is their biggest money-making event of the year. They routinely deny all holiday requests during this time-frame. This puts a serious crimp in family time there.

    7) After reviewing their culture and talking to various employees there, I decided that I would not entertain future job interviews with them and Im still tapped by recruiters there but Ive declined for a number of reasons. One is that they are not disability-friendly there and although they will invite you out for interviews, they do everything possible to deny you the job. (Their recruiting department is HUGE so they don't always share information from one interview to another area...so the hiring managers are NOT aware that the candidate has disabilities from the prior interviews. They aren't as open minded as one would think.
     
    Mike OMalley likes this.
  7. Capricorn1964

    Capricorn1964 Active Member

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    Agreed.
     
  8. PP-Power

    PP-Power Member

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    As a former employee of Amazon Web Services, I will add my 2 cents in here.

    1) Agreed, I would regularly roll into work in my sweatpants and they don't care.
    2) Depends on the office, definitely a no-no in Data Centers, and only dogs for now (last I heard)
    3) This really depends on your manager, group, department etc. My manager was a big believer in work smarter, not harder. When he was in the office, he would go around at 4 on Friday and tell everyone to go home. Don't get me wrong, his expectations were high and we did some work after hours at home, but I regularly put in 70 hour weeks at IBM so, not a big deal for me.
    4) There were a LOT of young people in my group, but the managers were middle aged, with families. Agree that turnover is high and that "Amazon" on your resume never hurts. It also has something to do with their compensation plan breakdown.
    5) Diversity has picked up. I had a VERY diverse group, but I think again, it depends.
    6) Again, depends on your department. Because of the large retail volume, we were not allowed to touch anything in any of the Data Centers for fear of network failures. Because I didn't work in a DC, I had plenty to do, but I took time off for Christmas without issue.

    I didn't observe any issues with disabilities. They are a huge advocate of hiring veterans so I'd think they would take that into consideration. Interviews are indeed brutal. How many people you interview with depends on the level of the position (with some exceptions of course). They expect you to fit into their way of thinking, which isn't a bad thing given their success. But it's not an interview you can just skate through.
    They do expect a HUGE amount of travel, and this goes up the higher you go. This was my biggest hurdle with 2 kids, but others would jump at the chance.

    AWS and Amazon proper are 2 very different business areas, but all in all, it boils down to the group you're in, what you're doing and of course your leadership. I had no complaints.
     
  9. Capricorn1964

    Capricorn1964 Active Member

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    70 hours a week? Damn....I wouldn't work that many hours and nearly all of my bosses are not proponents of that. They feel that if you have to work that many hours, something is wrong. They believe in work/life balance. Killing oneself by working LONG hours never impressed any of my bosses and they felt that if you had to work that many hours, they question why you can't get the work done within 50 hrs a week (Give and take).

    I was told by the Finance Managers in Seattle in Amazon proper that they did not grant anyone any Christmas Vacations at all- They remarked that it was EXPECTED to work those weeks-

    When Im talking disability, Im not talking military veterans. Im talking about people who have disabilities OUTSIDE the military realm. I know of only one person who has the same disability as I do and he said that he was a "token" hire as he said they haven't hired any more people with the same disability as he and I have. In contrast, Microsoft has hired a BUNCH of people with the same disability as they believe very strongly in hiring all kinds of disabilities. When I had the interview, they told me that they only knew of ONE person with the same disability as I had.
     
  10. Sunstoner

    Sunstoner Southern Walk||IMPERIUM IN IMPERIO||Not OB||

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    So when folks at the Federal Agencies around here talk about making the culture "more like Amazon or Google" (especially the management) we should be careful what we wish for? I hear it at my agency all the time. While this might ring true with some of the people who want to show up in shorts, flip flops, and with their canine "in tow", but what they don't know is that the separation line between work and home is not as apparent as working in the agencies and as they age and their value system changes, they may not desire the same things and want a more traditional work setting. As always there are side-effects.

    Cap, that is too bad about your interview experience there. I really don't know anyone who works there to share any other stories.
     
  11. Capricorn1964

    Capricorn1964 Active Member

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    Sunstoner- I agree with your sentiment about the separation between work and home....Not to mention that I would gather that some people may have allergy issues and can file a complaint against the company if they encounter medical issues. Im not a lawyer nor an HR expert but I would think that it could cause issues in the workplace. What about potential dog bites? This can create liability issues down the road for the company depending upon the state that the workplace is in. I would think that service animals are exempt.
     
  12. Sunstoner

    Sunstoner Southern Walk||IMPERIUM IN IMPERIO||Not OB||

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    Delta Airlines just changed their pet policy- as there were many reports of people bringing about pets that caused trouble.

    One time, I took training at the AWS Building in Herndon. It was a very hot summer day, and in the middle of the training there was a fire alarm. We were on the top floor, and I remember only one fire exit, and having to walk down a set of crowded stairs. People were holding their laptops in one hand, further up their wrist was their dog leash, and they were using the other hand to type on the laptop keyboard and text on their phone that was set on the tray of the laptop. Trying to descend seven flights of stairs in flip flops (with their pup) didn't make it any easier for them (or us). After people were let back into the building, an ice cream cart was there to give people ice cream for the inconvenience.

    I remember going back to my agency and people were just shaking their heads at what they had just experienced. There will definitely be clash of cultures, at least initially.
     
  13. PP-Power

    PP-Power Member

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    I get what you're saying. I'm sorry to hear they aren't very accommodating or diverse. That's really a huge disappointment.

    I'm a big proponent of not working excess hours, but one week a month, during the accounting close cycle, I was at the mercy of their deadlines. I got used to it. But it dictated a lot of my time off (wasn't allowed to vacation in Aug or Nov, no time off during close cycle, etc). It sucks for sure.

    I've definitely wondered about the dog liability as well. I'm allergic to dogs but never had any one close enough to me that it bothered me. We were told that we weren't allowed to cook bacon in the kitchen anymore because some found the smell offensive. Go figure?!?!
     
  14. GenericEric

    GenericEric Member

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    My second hand experience with AWS mirrors PP-Power. It is a full time job and you are expected to produce results, but work life balance exists. And travel is extensive.
     
  15. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    Well like most things... people love to focus on the parts they want, without owning the full thing :)

    There are elements of silicon valley thinking like agility, lack of red tape, focus on speed, focus on producers instead of processes, open communication, delivering very progressive work environments and services, 'everyone needs to pitch in' startup mentality, etc. But there is also the backhanded side of lots of those things like

    - tons of services so you never 'have' to leave the campus... aka... put in more hours
    - tons of pressure to deliver
    - potential to drive people into the ground and weed out the ones that resist
    - cut-throat/ dog-eat-dog competition
    - working anytime, all the time... vs 'bankers hours'

    Obviously the best is somewhere in the middle... but Government work vs even the lightest of Silicon Valley workplace ideas are quite different. A place that respects 'work life balance' and believes happy employees = better employees goes a long way.
     
  16. boomertsfx

    boomertsfx Booyakasha!

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    Giving huge tax breaks to corporations? Didn't the feds just do that? Kinda silly to offer even more local tax exemptions to one of the richest corporations in the world.

    Signed,

    Amazon Prime member ;)
     

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