OT: Moving to Seattle, taking job at Amazon

I got an offer to work as a software engineer at Amazon, figure I'd ask here in case people have worked there in the past / currently work there. Trust me I've heard/read a lot of horror stories, but I also know some of it might be overblown based on how big the company is. Would love to hear any experiences, since TKP is one of the most reasonable internet forums I frequent.

Also in that vein, does anyone live/has lived in Seattle? What neighborhoods would be good for someone looking for a quiet place but also accessible to restaurants, coffee shops and things like that? I'm bringing my car, but ideally would like to minimize it's use as much as possible. Ideally I'd be able to walk to work, but I know that's going to limit my choice a little bit.

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I hope you don't like the sun and love the rain. Hippies aside Seattle is actually a fun town with lots of good breweries. I have not lived there in 35 years so cannot comment on the neighborhoods but travel there for work every few years and definitely have wandered into good eats and brews on a few benders...

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
โ€œI served in the United States Navy"

ah nice to hear, any brewery recommendations in particular?

Freemont was my favorite when I visited a few years ago

Holy Mountain might be my pick for best brewery in the country. I was in town for about a week and went repeatedly because it was so good, then stashed enough cans into my luggage that I was only allowed to fly with it thanks to a sympathetic weight checker.

And it's been said repeatedly, but the rain thing is a (mostly) a myth, we actually get more rainfall in Richmond.

Holy Mountain and Pike's if fuzzy memory serves correctly...

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
โ€œI served in the United States Navy"

I haven't lived there but I know some people who do. I can put out a feeler if you need it. Where in Seattle is the Amazon HQ?

thanks! Amazon HQ is in the South Lake Union neighborhood I believe

One of my best friends lived in Tacoma for a few years (30 mins south of Seattle) and the traffic there is terrible...it's worse in Seattle. South Lake Union is expensive but if you can walk to work (or ride public transport or bike) you'll be WAY ahead of the game. It rains more on the east coast than Seattle, but it is one of the cloudiest cities in the country. Great place to be young, though (tons of great food/beer all over the place), congrats on the new opportunity. I'm envious, that's for sure.

I worked in Seattle for about a year around 2018 (I flew back and forth from DC to Seattle every weekend).

The "headquarters" building is on Terry Ave (which is South Lake Union), but Amazon occupies a whole bunch of office space in downtown Seattle and probably other locales in Seattle as well. I "lived" in South Lake Union area and walked to/from downtown past the Amazon Spheres building everyday for work, so I know the area pretty well.

Do you know which building/address you'll actually be working in?

Seattle has some great things and not great things about it (depending upon your perspective on things). Seattle and the surrounding areas can be as beautiful as anywhere in the lower 48. There's nothing like a sunny day there. The weather isn't as bad as it's portrayed, but the forecast of a low of 35 with a high of 46 and a 50% chance of rain from Dec thru April or May gets old. But the good news is it doesn't really rain like we know rain - it's generally more a drizzle or light rain. And summer months there can be spectacular. Everybody wears a Columbia or similar rain jacket in the rainy season. And many office bldgs simply have an umbrella container in the lobby for employees.

I'll ty not get into politics here, but suffice it to say, the city politics leans pretty far left - to the point that sometimes even Amazon, Costco, etc push back.

There are good restaurants there - but as someone who had to eat out every night, the variety of menus became boring. Edgy becomes cookie cutter when everybody is just following the latest trends. There are lots of food trucks for lunch in the downtown area - and the Whole Foods a few blocks from the Terry Ave bldg has/had an awesome outdoor lunch special for $8 or something all year long that was as good as something you'd get for $30 at a restaurant. Tell Chef Hayden I sent you. But you have to get in line at noon or so because it's usually all gone by 12:30 or so.

The Terry Ave area was just starting to expand with some biotechs, etc when I left and a bunch of restaurants were opening about then, but I don't know much about them.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

"Everybody wears a Columbia or similar rain jacket in the rainy season. And many office bldgs simply have an umbrella container in the lobby for employees."

LOL Jim Gaffigan has a comedy bit where he says everyone in Seattle is dressed like a hike could break out any minute!

From the 2018 VT-uva game-"This is when LEGENDS are made!"

Never lived there, but most of my immediate family were there for years. Ironically, no 2 people went together. 1 brother was a mechanical engineer at Boeing and the rest moved out one at a time. They were in Renton and mostly liked the area, although they hated the constant gray and drizzle. From when I visited, it seemed fairly quiet and you had access to various restaurants and the like nearby. Renton is a big place, but their area around Meeker Middle School would be one to check. I will ask them. Is there anything specific you want me to ask about beyond what you have listed?

By the way, Seattle does not get that much rainfall. Less than Philadelphia. It is just the constant haze and drizzle. The first time I visited, it was sunny when I arrived. The rest of the week, I did not see the sun until we went out to visit Leavenworth (really neat place) and Cashmere as we got up over the cloud line.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

thanks! I think those are probably my main criteria for looking for a place. Thats interesting about the rain, I heard it rains a lot but didn't know it was mostly drizzle vs heavy rainfall

Average annual rainfall Seattle? 38 inches ith std deviation of about 5 "; Richmond , VA? 43 inches with std deviation of 17"

Average rainy days Seattle? 156 days ---Richmond, VA? 112 days.

As noted it's more the overcast and cool, dampness than actual total rain. Here in VA we get big summer thunderstorms and tropical storm remnants. And year to year variability much greater in VA

From the 2018 VT-uva game-"This is when LEGENDS are made!"

It was so rainy in RVA this year, I started seeing frogs and turtles in my yard. It's a hike to get to any water for those guys, but my side yard was a gentle stream there for a good month and a half.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Alas, he really did not know much about Seattle City itself. Just Renton where they lived and the parts near Boeing Field where he worked. Can't offer any useful advice for living in Seattle proper.

None of us are big city types, but can suggest some good outdoor places to see if you want. Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens are great, Snoqualmie Falls is a good short hike, Blue Lake is a good longer one, and North Cascades is okay. Never went to Olympus but the wife says it's great. Snoqualmie Pass is also a great drive in winter with the snow on the ground. Some nice spots to check out are Leavenworth Village, the Liberty Orchards factory in Cashmere, Columbia Crest and Chateau Ste Michelle wineries (right across the street from each other).

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

Thank you! appreciate the recommendations! yea looks like the PNW is chalk full of a lot of great outdoor sights

I'm kind of surprised they are making you move there in this day an age. Software Engineer sounds like a job that should be able to be done remote. Unless of course you need to a guy to talk to the customers and walk the plans down to the engineers or something.....

lol I love office space. I think currently everyone in amazon is working from home, my recruiter told me their deadline to go back to the office is June, but that's probably gonna be pushed back even further. The only real reason I'm moving is because my current lease is ending, otherwise I might've stayed put for a little bit longer. I think a lot of tech companies, even big ones like Google and Facebook embraced remote culture more than Amazon has, seems like they want people to be back in the office whenever it's possible.

I lived in Seattle from 2014 - 2015 and my brother currently lives there and works for Amazon. He's in the business development side, so I can't share any insight into the Dev culture at Amazon, but he's worked there for almost 4 years and loves it.

The South Lake Union area is great, but pretty pricey. I think my brother rents a 2 bedroom/2 bath for 3,000. His place is over the top fancy, but I think rents are around 2k in that area.

Avoid renting anything near the stadiums - traffic is terrible during game days, but do attend games and bar hop to all the breweries within walking distance ! Even if you're not a Seattle sports fan, they all have great atmospheres. I think the Sounders were my favorite!

A few neighborhoods in Seattle that meet your criteria are: Capitol Hill, Queen Ann, Green Lake, and Ballard. If you go too far north or south the walkability goes downhill quickly.

I lived in Renton because I wanted more space for my pup, but the commute was horrendous. Normally 1.5 - 2 hours for what should've been a 25 minute trip. So beware of going too far outside of city limits if you want to avoid a bad commute.

I would also avoid the Bellevue side. It's not a bad place to live, but can be a tough morning commute. There are also bridge tolls to consider.

I'm happy to answer any more questions if you want. jmecca at vt dot edu.

ah yea, I've been seeing a lot of nice apartments in SLU, heard it's kind of soulless though? not a lot do, but I guess it's within walking distance of other neighborhoods. I think a lot of them are giving 1-2 months of free rent right now which is kind of nice. Heard good things about the other neighborhoods you mentioned as well, will need to check them out!

Welcome! I live about 45 min south of downtown, but been in this general area for almost 8 years. Don't listen to anyone who hasn't lived here - it actually doesn't rain that much and no, the entire city is not being burned to the ground right now.

If you can afford it, I would live in Capitol Hill. Best bars and restaurants (once COVID is over and you can go to them again). My personal favorite local breweries - and there are TONS - are Georgetown, Reuben's, Silver City, and Elysian. Also in the Oregon area, Deschutes, Rogue, Ninkasi, so many.

I used to live in the U District and public transportation in the downtown area is pretty good, so getting around is nice. There's a big Seattle Hokies FB page and they used to all get together to watch football games too

oooh will be sure to join the Hokie group, I'm hoping watch parties become a ting next fall! I really like Elysian's IPAs, didn't know they were based in Seattle. Heard Cap Hill mostly caters to the just out of college early-20s crowd though? I guess thats not too bad, but I'm not quite a recent grad anymore lol

What is a chemE doing in Seattle

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

My friend has worked at Boeing in Seattle since graduating in 2013. I have been fortunate enough to visit him 4 times. Love the city. Ballard or Queen Ann would be my choices to live, but there are a lot of good spots. Make sure to get a sandwich from Paseo.

First off, I hate you. I love love LOOOOOOVE Seattle. I used to visit once a year when we went to JBLM to train cadets. Haven't been in years, so I can't offer any reliable brew & eats recommendations, and didn't live there to know the neighborhoods.

Secondly, ...oh yeah, Congrats!!!

Edit: BTW, if it wasn't clear, /S was implied on the hate.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

I heard CHAZ area of Seattle has low taxes.

Must be making some good money to actually live in Seattle!

I live just outside of jblm (Tacoma/spanaway) The winters are more grey than they are rainy. The summers are surprisingly dry. Lots of hiking.

ah nice, yea I'm definitely looking to exploring the surrounding areas as well, looks like there's a lot of cool outdoor stuff to do. I feel like I can't get away from high CoL areas lol, grew up in NoVa, lived in San Francisco for the last 6 years, Seattle might actually be the cheapest of the three lol.

You should immediately add Twin Peaks and The Killing to your watch list and binge them as soon as feasible to familiarize yourself with the area.

Cannot let a Twin Peaks suggestion go un-cosigned. One of the greatest feats of television/cinema (The Return, imo is more movie than television) ever.

I third the twin peaks suggestion if you have not watched.

Loved in North Bend where the diner is located. It is worth a visit. Great potatoes.

The Killing was a great series. Daaaaaaaaaaaayum Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinden!

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

"Come to it, little girrrrl...."
That cop character was the Wizard of Ooze. In an great way.

Oh, and: Ballard

Congrats, you made it further in the interview process than I did!

Good luck!

Thanks! If you ever want to apply again, I can probably put in a referral after I start

Thank you, but I got out of that game a few years ago, now I'm too old to deal with silicon Valley pace.

I hear you on that, I've only been in software for 6 years, all of them in the bay area, and love most things about it, but WLB can be rough at times, and most software engineering interviews are the absolute worst

I'm in commercial real estate and my company has retail and office properties in Seattle, as well as in West Seattle and Issaquah. The area is beautiful and full of things to do if you enjoy the outdoors. The city of Seattle is a mess right now though. It's had a homeless problem that has got exponentially worse through COVID. There's been significant flight to the suburbs by both residents and companies.

Amazon has done some relocating, but the mothership is still in South Lake Union. If your working there, living in the suburbs can be a bit of a chore if your not already use to traffic. As a previous poster mentioned, Seattle's is one of the worst traffic cities in the US.

There are nice places in Seattle to live though. I'd recommend Queen Anne first, which has a great feel and is close to SLU as well as UW.

Hope this helps.

Not related to Seattle, but if you could do me a favor and let me know the work environment at Amazon I'd appreciate it!

My peers have said they want to apply for that company and with them coming to NoVA soon (where I live) I'm curious what their work life is like now a days in 2021 and beyond

They'll really get after ya

yea will do, maybe I'll post an update in like 3 months lol

Sorry, don't know much about Seattle or working for Amazon but I wanted to take a moment to congratulate you on the new job! We could all use good news in our lives and I want to celebrate good news. So congratulations ๐Ÿ˜Š

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Thank you! Yea this year's been hard for everyone, hoping 2021 goes well for evryone!

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I don't have any for-sure #sauces, but from what I hear, you are pretty much expected to wear Hokies shirts everywhere you go in Seattle. Just keep this in mind and buy plenty. Keep wearing them everyday no matter what people say. Best of luck!

#MakeTheMove . . . "Vick, dashing back . . . here he comes again . . . Electrifying . . . and have you ever seen anything like this?"

Dude I went to high school I believe is a software engineer for Amazon in Austin. Seems to like it according to his social media. Seattle (only been once) was cool as shit, I thought. If you like rock climbing, the first rock climbing gym in America is up there and holy shit it's amazing. Edit: http://seattle.verticalworld.com/

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

I worked as a software engineer at Amazon then Microsoft while out there, but moved back to VA. Amazon is hit or miss with software engineering jobs. Mine specifically was terrible. Terrible environment, terrible co-workers, and I was working on the same thing that two other groups were working on which was very annoying. Microsoft was much better in almost every single way. I don't want to scare you too much because I have heard of good experiences, especially within AWS so I do think it depends.

As far as places to live - I definitely recommend Capitol Hill or Ballard. Ballard is quieter but still has access to a lot of things including public transportation straight to Amazon using what's affectionately known as the SLUT (South Lake Union Transit). Capital Hill was up-and-coming when I was there but I think that has been well established at this point. Think of that area like Scott's Addition in Richmond. Good food, drinks, easy access to Amazon, etc.

Let me know if you want to catch up any further. It's been years since I was there so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

There was also a fairly active Seattle VT alumni group and a bar in Ballard owned by a Hokie that hosted football games. I think the bar has closed now, though.


ah so sorry to hear that about your time at Amazon! It's definitely a concern for me, but I've told myself if I really don't like it, I'm prepared to leave, had a terrible job before and I can't do that again. Talking to my hiring manager it does seem like a pretty good opportunity though and he says he doesn't micromanage at all which is nice. Thanks for the neighborhood recs! looks like a lot of folk mentioned Ballard, so I'll have to check it out

I'm in the data center industry, so this may be more applicable to AWS: was really only looking at Amazon coming out of the Navy, since I wanted to work in NoVA and wanted an easy transition (all my 6-year-and-out associates were doing it). What I kept hearing from others in the industry is that they'll work you to death, and pay bonuses in stock options. Some friends like it but anyone that worked just about anywhere else (MS, small data centers, etc) found better quality of life and fulfillment. I went somewhere else.

Again, this is data center side (that 99.9% uptime requirement), not engineer at HQ, but their Core Values permeate everything.


-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

The Hokie Bar in Ballard (the People's Pub) is closed right now. Don't know if it's permanent.

One of my kids worked at AWS for exactly 5 years after Tech. She moved on the very day that her stock options vested at Year 5. Which is fine, actually. If you're young, grunt out 5 years and gain the skills/resume/resources to do whatever. Many competitive fields try to grind you out when you start (medicine, law, big CPAs, maybe the military IDK). Work-life balance is your responsibility to maintain. Revisit in 5 years with a solid gold resume and significant resources ($) at your disposal. IMO

I hope that evil Bezos pays you a "living" wage and let's you take bathroom breaks.. Isn't that the narrative?

I can't believe it but there are actually people upvoting his ridiculous comment.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

And now someone downvoted this comment? Legged to get you back to zero.

Par for the course for that group of posters.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Go to a Sounders game.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Never been to Seattle, but a good friend that I worked alongside for 5 years loved living out there so much that he has been fighting to get back there after being on a project (construction) out there. He's gotten as far as Colorado for now.

Congratulations! I moved to Seattle from NOVA/DC a decade ago and love this city more and more each year. ย It's super progressive. In fact, I would argue it's the most liberal and progressive major city in the country at this point and you feel that vibe through everything. And Washington is probably one of the most progressive states in the county now (first with $15 minimum wage, first to vote for gay marriage, marijuana legalization, guaranteed sick and family leave, pro-environment/immigration/LGBT rights, etc).

As far as neighborhoods, there are many, many choices. Thanks to public transit, it's getting easier to get around. Our subway/train system will nearly match the size of DC's by the end of this decade, matching it by the 2030s.

I've seen a few folks mention Capitol Hill - been on the Hill (never "Cap Hill" - only newbies call it that) for nearly a decade. ย It's a terrific, vibrant neighborhood. ย It's the historic heart of the LGBTQI+ community that's been going strong since the 1970s. If you're in the center of the Hill, you're within a 15 minute walk of 15 gay bars/clubs. And that's not even counting the dozens of gay owned restaurants, shops and galleries. ย Every bar, even "straight" bars, are welcoming. I've seen homophobic/transphobic people (always visitors) get tossed out onto the sidewalk (literally) from straight bars/clubs for being jerks.

There's a huge neighborhood wide Pride celebration in June called Capitol Hill Pride (one that is different from the city-wide Seattle Pride festival). It kicks off with a huge Trans Pride march/festival on Friday. A couple of years ago, some far-right groups threatened to attack the parade, and THOUSANDS upon thousands of people, gay and straight, trans and cis, came out to support trans people. The city and residents REALLY support trans rights - it's probably one of the most trans friendly cities in the country.

The main go-to park is Cal Anderson, named after a local gay rights hero, and that's where the festival takes place on Saturday. The main business street gets shut down during Capitol Hill pride and all bars, gay and straight, celebrate with parties and drag shows. It's so much fun.

I have a feeling Capitol Hill is going to explode into a roaring 20s type situation - I've heard of plans to open more gay bars and events to keep up with the pent up demand.

I lived in Fremont before this and that neighborhood was great, too. Lots of great bars and restaurants and the fun Solstice Parade (a huge parade and festival dedicated to the summer solstice).

As far as climate is concerned - it's pretty similar to northern Europe, and most especially the UK (where I used to live). We are further north the Montreal, so long days during the summer, long nights during the winter, with glorious summers and can be dark and dreary winters (like the UK). ย We call it The Big Dark, and there's ways to get through it. It rarely snows, but some of the snowiest places in the world are just a short drive away (ilke Mt. Rainier).

You will be within a few hours drive of some of the most remarkable parks/outdoor areas on earth. Olympic National Park, the Pacific Coast, the Cascades, Hoh Rainforest, Mt. Rainier, fjords of the Hood Canal, San Juan Islands, wine country.

Plus you're just a couple of hours from amazing British Columbia and Vancouver and Victoria. Get an enhanced ID when you move here so you don't have to take your passport when you cross.

The future transit system. I would say it's about more than halfway done at this point.

Check out the Olympic Peninsula, when you get a chance. They might have the best bbq I've ever tried:


I'm not huge on camping trips, but Mount Rainier was the best one I've been on yet.

VT '10--My avatar will flip, when things are right at VT again.

Rick Monday... You Made a Great Play...

Romanes Eunt Domus

Dang that menu looks good. Wish I had known about that place when my family was living in the area.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

well It's been 3 months since I moved here, and I thought I'd give an update. As far as Amazon goes, ramp up's been rough, they use a internal stuff for everything, even non dev stuff, and you have to get permission to see a lot of things, not gonna lie a little frustrated, but pushing through, it's only been 3 months.

As far as Seattle, it's been great! Really like all the nature in and around the city. The food's pretty good, the weather's been mostly pretty good - it's only rained hard a handful of times, and we've had a few sunny mid 70s weekends. Everyone I talk to out here has been hyping up Seattle summer, so I'm excited to experience that soon. I moved from San Francisco, and prefer this weather than the constant high 50's/low 60's of the bay. Seattle's also much cleaner than SF, but thats kind of a low bar lol

Glad you're liking it! My brother works at Amazon and it took him a good 1.5 years before he really felt comfortable and like he had a good grasp on things. Watch out for downpour rains! The slow drizzle doesn't phase people, but when there's a thunderstorm or heavy downpour everyone forgets how to drive.

but when there's a thunderstorm or heavy downpour everyone forgets how to drive.

this seems to be a common affliction across the US

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Agreed! But I was baffled by it considering how much it rains there. Took a bit to get used to.

I think it's kind of a cultural thing. In the US people drive to get from A to B. It's a means to an end here. The best drivers in the world come from places where, culturally, driving is considered an art and a science. They get introduced to driving at a very early age and they are schooled much more heavily than here in the US. People here just don't really care about driving (or driving well) and they're just doing it to get around. There's no passion to it. Getting a license in this country is ridiculously easy. Show up at the DMV (in most states) and just take a quick multiple choice test on a computer and sit for a photo. Then voila, you have a driver's license. The result is lots of people who have no idea what they're doing behind the wheel flood the public roads. They can 'pass' as decent drivers in great conditions but the instant the conditions change they are little better than toddlers in Little Tikes toy cars.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

when there's a thunderstorm or heavy downpour everyone forgets how to drive.

This gets said a lot and I think the issue is the opposite, people aren't forgetting how to drive in adverse conditions, the problem is that they were never taught how to properly drive in them in the first place.

Requiring mandatory car control clinics & instruction could help solve this but we struggle teaching people how to parallel park so this will never happen.

My car parallel parks for me, I dont need to know any more!

The summers are beautiful in Seattle.

I hear the Summers in Newport Beach are better.

My 2020 Season/Covid19 Challenge: only comment with Marvel memes.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

Really, it's the summers, autumns, winters and springs that are nice at Newport Beach.

๐Ÿฆƒ ๐Ÿฆƒ ๐Ÿฆƒ

Oh you are from San Francisco?

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Lived in Tacoma for 3 years (about 20 years ago), and the rain drizzle is accurate. Whether its raining or not, get out and enjoy - that alone immeasurably helps to counter the effects of consistent overcast conditions.

Be wary of black ice. In the winter months, I simply got into the habit of pumping hard on the brakes when I first backed up in the morning, just to see if the car was going to slide. (I also found out the hard way a few times when I stepped onto the sidewalk. Good thing no one was looking...)

Loved my time there - for regional attractions Mt Ranier, and Olympic Park (Sol Duc Falls was a favorite) are must see, and the Colombia River valley is great for an complete change of pace, too. The sheer variety of micro breweries was impressive.

Hope you enjoy.