I came across a few news stories about Amazon’s recent “Pay to Quit” program where it’s offering workers from the company’s fulfillment centers money to quit. And we’re not just talking a few dollars, but a couple thousand.
According to a CNBC.com article:
Amazon said this week that it has started a program called Pay to Quit, in which it offers workers at its fulfillment centers between $2,000 and $5,000 to quit.
In his annual letter to shareholders, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said the company hopes its workers won’t quit—but wants to give them the option.
The story explains that, in his letter, Bezos wrote:
“The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”
CNBC explains that this new deal is offered once a year to fulfillment center workers who are employed directly by Amazon. The offer, headlined “Please Don’t Take This Offer,” begins at $2,000 for the first year. This amount increases by $1,000 per year until the maximum $5,000 is reached.
In essence, each year Amazon is going to offer to pay its employees to quit. And, from what I understand, the difference between those who stay and those who go will show the company who is truly dedicated to Amazon and/or who really wants to be there.
Stories also report that Amazon’s new program follows that of Zappos’, the online retailer it recently acquired.
Now, I personally know three people in my family who have worked in Amazon’s distribution centers. And I feel pretty safe in saying that all three would have taken this offer.
Hard labor for low wages doesn’t exactly thrill most workers. So, when presented with the opportunity to have a significant amount of money in your hands today versus a slow, but steady paycheck for the next X amount of months, especially coming from a job you don’t love anyway, the decision seems kind of like a no brainer.
Also, we cannot discredit cost of living. Many of these workers have families to support and bills to pay. A couple extra thousand dollars now can help pay a few bills today versus having to wait for the bi-weekly paycheck.
The offer may seem very tempting, and this is also true for workers outside of Amazon. What if tomorrow your employer implemented a Pay to Quit program? And what if the maximum limit wasn’t $5,000, but $10k, $20k or even $30k. Would you stay or would you go?
In this type of situation where your boss is trying to determine your “loyalty” I think it’s important to look past the instant gratification. Let’s say you genuinely dislike your job and an option of quitting for compensation sounds appealing. But what about after you’ve quit your job?
Do you have a backup plan? Because $5k and up can run out very quickly, especially when you don’t have any money coming in to replace those funds. Do you have enough savings, not including your quitting payment, set aside to cover all your expenses for at least three months? Have you researched your field to determine whether or not there are available positions for which you qualify?
And, most important, how will this separation affect your reputation? I’m not sure many employers would see “I quit my last job because my company gave me this option in exchange for cash” as a selling point during the hiring process. Potential employers may view you as disloyal and someone who only cares about getting a paycheck rather than a future worker who will be dedicated to the business.
Again, a chunk of cash in exchange for leaving a job you don’t necessarily enjoy anyway may sound like a good option at the moment. But I think it’s very important to consider the effects of taking this route—those that kick in once the instant gratification has run its course.
What do you think? Would you accept $5k or more to quit your job?