How would you like to get fired … by a robot?
If you work at Amazon and aren’t “productive” enough, it could happen! According to an April report from Business Insider, the online retail giant terminated more than 300 employees over a year-long span at its Baltimore facility. But instead of a supervisor sitting down one-on-one with the employee and, you know, talking things out like fellow human beings (because demanding and measuring production goals in and of itself isn’t a bad thing), an internal computer system simply issued the pink slip when the targets weren’t being met.
From Business Insider:
Amazon’s system tracks a metric called “time off task,” meaning how much time workers pause or take breaks, The Verge reported. It has been previously reported that some workers feel so pressured that they don’t take bathroom breaks.
If the system determines the employee is failing to meet production targets, it can automatically issue warnings and terminate them without a supervisor’s intervention, although Amazon said that a human supervisor can override the system. The company also said it provides training to those who don’t meet their production goals.
Talk about pressure! I mean seriously, if AOC had brought this up when she kept Amazon out of New York City, maybe she wouldn’t have gotten so much flak! It’s one thing to try to explain to your boss why you didn’t meet a deadline or had a slow week … Maybe your girlfriend broke up with you, your cat died, or you had the sniffles. Hey, the company should be thankful you even showed up, right? Those “production targets” can wait another week until you’re yourself again. Not so fast, slacker! Computer Boss isn’t quite as understanding as your weak flesh-and-bones boss. Heck, what am I thinking? Computer Boss isn’t understanding AT ALL. Miss the mark, pack your bags – you’re OUTTA here!
Sorry, I’m certainly all for capitalism and free markets, technology even, and I love ordering stuff from Amazon, but when your drivers are literally peeing in bottles, you might have a problem …
Nevertheless, Amazon’s mechanisms for exacting productivity are pervasive in many areas of its operations. For instance, drivers delivering Amazon packages have reported feeling so pressured that they speed through neighborhoods, blow by stop signs, and pee in bottles in the trucks or outside, Business Insider’s Hayley Peterson reported.
One of the hardest things about working at an employment agency is that we, from time to time, have to fire employees based on our clients’ needs. It’s their call, after all, and as long as the reason is a legal one, it can be any reason at all. It’s always a hard conversation, but the one advantage we have is that, provided the reason is reasonable, we can usually try to help them find work somewhere else that might be a better fit.
And hey, at least we’re not robots!