An Amazon worker worked remotely for four years, but when asked to go back to the US office, he chose to quit. He left behind $200,000 worth of company stocks, but the person, whose name we’ll call John Schonhoff, doesn’t regret the decision.
Schonhoff spoke to Business Insider.
Why did the man quit?
He explained that the company’s office return policy would have meant moving from New York to Seattle, abandoning the life he loved.
“I enjoyed my work at Amazon,” Schonhoff told the publication.
“For more than three-and-a-half years as a software development manager, I was excited about the work we were doing and the team I was building. If it weren’t for their crackdown on their return-to-office policy, I would still be there with bells on and a smile on my face.”
Schonhoff mentioned that he started working for the tech giant in April 2020. This was when the COVID pandemic led the company to implement its initial work-from-home policy. During this time, he had only visited the office a few times.
“I live in New York. My wife and I just bought our dream property. There was zero chance whatsoever that I was ever going to move (to Seattle),” he told Business Insider.
How did Amazon handle his resignation?
He attempted to negotiate with the company and requested an extension.
As a software development manager, he informed his boss that moving to Seattle with his family and livestock would cost him around $150,000 (about Rs 1.2 crore). He also inquired about the availability of a relocation package.
“I didn’t get an answer,” he said.
The company’s pressure grew, and there were discussions about employees being less productive while working from home. However, there was no data to back up these claims.
“And then we were being told, ‘We don’t have the data; we just know it’s true’—a phrase so patently un-Amazonian that it became hard to sit there and preach leadership principles… It didn’t make any sense. It still doesn’t,” said Schonhoff.
He emphasized that the return-to-office policy was the primary catalyst for his departure from Amazon.
He expressed a desire to continue with the company, but he couldn’t ignore the impression that how they implemented this policy seemed deliberate in pushing people away.
Currently, Schonhoff has found a new professional opportunity, working alongside a former colleague from Amazon at a startup, all while continuing to work remotely.
He speaks with enthusiasm about this fresh chapter in his career. However, he makes it clear that if he were ever required to work from an office again, he wouldn’t hesitate to explore other job options actively.
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