Amazon Pays Unhappy Employees to Leave

Published on April 17, 2014 by

How much money would it take to get you to quit your company and move on to another opportunity? Even if you knew what that number is, I bet your company wouldn't pay it. But two of the best companies in the world would and do; Amazon and Zappos. Why? Because they know if you’re unhappy there, it will cost them more for you to stay than it would cost them to pay you to leave.

If you’ve been at Amazon for one year, you would get paid $2,000 to quit. After five years, you can cash out at $5,000. While other companies complain about the lack of talent, Amazon and Zappos are magnets for the best of the best. One reason for that is they entice you to leave if you’re not happy and that increases the odds that the ones that stay, truly want to be there.

What's the lesson for you, since you likely don't work for Amazon or Zappos? The lesson is that it's costing you to stay where you’re not happy and engaged. How is it costing you? By staying in a job you don’t  want, you erode your self-respect and you stifle your passion at work. Most employees don't realize that until their dissatisfaction reaches a tipping point. Then, they have a big problem and it's more difficult for them to do what they need to do.

Here's my advice to you:

You need to be self-aware and proactive:

  • Reinvent yourself and your current work situation.
  • Find a company and a role you are excited about.

If you fail to do one of these two things, it will cost you more than you realize. The CEOs at Amazon and Zappos know that. Do you?


  1. Dan

    Hello Alan,

    I think it's smart to pay people to leave if they are not enjoying their work, and the amount Amazon and Zappos are paying is a small amount compared to keeping the person. If some hate the job they have they will do the minimum (or below) what is required. An ineffective or person who delivers low results will drain money from the business, the longer the person stays the more money they will drain. Great post!

    • Alan Allard

      Dan, I agree. An employee who doesn't want to be there will affect the profitability of the company. They do that directly by their underperformance and also in how they negatively impact others around them. Thanks, as always, for adding your insights to the discussion.

  2. David Rupert

    Talk about reverse thinking! To bribe people to leave works on their egos and makes them want to stay. Brilliant. here's proof You can "buy" happiness on the cheap.

    • Alan Allard

      David, yes, this is six years late but I'm just now seeing your comment. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

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