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Amazon Drone Engineer Told to Work More Despite Burnout

His manager told him to "try to get more hours out of the day."

Patrick McGah reported to his manager at Amazon that he was feeling burnt out as a result of balancing home life, where he is a parent of two children, and work life. The manager’s response? Work more. 

McGah, an engineer in Amazon’s drone program from 2019 to 2021, said his manager informed him in February 2021 that he was considered a “low performer” by Amazon’s employee evaluation system. When he asked for an explanation on his ranking, Amazon managers provided no details

Business Insider reports McGah was then placed in the company’s “Pivot” program where he had the option to agree to a 30-day performance plan or accept severance.  

When he conversed with his manager on bettering his work performance, McGah claims the manager told him he should “try to get more hours out of the day” and create “structure in ambiguous situations.”

The manager suggested McGah carry out this plan by working an average day, squeezing in a brief one-hour nap from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. and then continuing to work as late as one or two in the morning. The manager justified it by saying he also has children and follows the work system himself. 

Surprising to no one, McGah no longer works at Amazon. He submitted his letter of resignation a few days after the encounter. 

McGah is working with Washington State lawmakers to pass legislation that would require employers to provide information regarding worker performance reviews in personal files. 

According to McGah, an Amazon HR representative said the company does not consider performance reviews a part of personnel files. 

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