Ever wondered what it is like to work at Amazon? Curious about the type of people that thrive in one of the world's most customer-centric companies?
In this month’s profile, we learn about one UX designer’s experience working out of the company’s HQ in downtown Seattle. Learn about one of Katie Purnell's favourite perks at Amazon in the Q&A below.
How would you describe yourself?
A former Midwesterner and current beach lover, the Pacific Northwest has turned me into a mountain-climbing adventurer who loves to travel. I’m an INTJ (strong introvert), but I’m always up for a good coffee chat (oat milk latte with honey, please).
When did you join Amazon, and what can you tell us about your role?
I joined Amazon in May, 2017, moving halfway across the country from the Midwest to join Amazon as a User Experience (UX) designer. UX is more than just mockups; it’s about solving our customers’ problems by creating innate, delightful experiences during every step of their interaction with a product or software.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day involves everything from creating low-fidelity workflows and aggregating user research results, to collaborating with other design teams at Amazon and turning abstract requirements into tangible designs. My favourite thing about UX is that I get to learn about a vast array of industries. I’ve “studied” everything from nursing workflows to payments to grocery taxonomy, without ever going back to school.
What do you enjoy about Amazon’s culture? Or what’s one thing you’ve learned since your time at Amazon?
I love the risk-taking culture at Amazon, and it’s something I’ve grown into during my time here. While it’s easy to assume or hypothesise about a decision, you don’t really know how something will turn out until you try.
What is your favourite leadership principle and why?
My favourite LP would probably be “learn and be curious.” I love learning about what other teams are doing and seeing what ideas we can collaborate on. Curiosity is a great excuse to poke your nose into other businesses and identify opportunities for growth and innovation.
What is one of the reasons you enjoy working at Amazon Pay?
I enjoy working at Amazon Pay because of the vast, large challenges it presents. I’ve learned that the financial industry, while not the most “flashy,” affects my everyday life; it’s exciting to be a part of the future of payments.
How does Amazon support your career goals?
Working at Amazon doesn’t mean working on one thing for the rest of your career — this was a huge draw for me when I joined the company. The culture at Amazon supports and even encourages learning about other teams and getting involved, whether that’s attending a lunch-and-learn or even switching teams. There are thousands of Amazonians who can teach you and help you grow, all you have to do is reach out.
What's the best thing about coming to work each day? Is there a “perk” to your job that might surprise people?
Classic Amazonian, but I love to bring my dog,, into work every day. He’s a great excuse to get out and take a walk, and he always introduces me to a lot of new people!
Outside of work, what are some of your passions?
Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, I’ve actually learned to enjoy the outdoors! My husband and I love to hike, explore and adventure around our new home. I recently learned to ski, and hope to snowshoe one day soon.
What’s your superpower, or something about you that your coworkers may not be aware of?
This is so nerdy, but I love to read, a lot. My goal this year is to read 52 books. I read pretty much every genre, but my favourite subjects are memoir, self-help and historical fiction. If you have any good recommendations, let me know!
If you had a personal motto, what would it be?
The answer will always be "no" unless you ask.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Seattle isn’t as rainy as everyone thinks it is.