Want to know what it’s like to work at Amazon? In our Profiles in Pay series, the people who make Amazon so great share what it’s like to work here. In this edition, Launch Specialist Miguel Cortes talks about how he launched his own career at Amazon in Luxembourg — and what continues to keep him motivated to “work hard, have fun, and make history,” both in and out of the office.

Can you tell us more about background and career path leading up to Amazon?

Before Amazon, I studied business — and then I moved to Europe where I worked as an intern at a different company in Luxembourg. After my internship, Amazon hired me as a Merchant Support Specialist in the Integration team - the same team I am on today!

What’s your career been like at Amazon? What does a typical day look like for you?

In terms of my career at Amazon, I think it’s been very good so far — I’ve learned quite a lot since I joined the company in 2016, and I’m still learning.

Everything at Amazon moves very fast, just like the online payments industry, and you can’t ease the pace at all, time flies. I still remember that when I joined the team I wasn’t sure if I would make it, to be honest. Everyone on the team was so clever and had a lot experience, and I was very young with very little knowledge of the industry — and, like I said, everything changes very quickly. But it has been quite a good four years, where I’ve been promoted, changed positions, and most important, I’ve been able to pay back the knowledge that was given to me, and now I can help others.

I don’t really think that a typical day exists on the Integration team. Maybe the only typical thing is that we check every day what our customers’ and business’s needs are, and then plan the day or the week from there. Every day is not the same, but that’s one of the best things, in my opinion — it keeps you very motivated!

What do you enjoy about the Amazon culture? Or what’s one thing you’ve learned since your time at Amazon?

I think what I enjoy the most is that you have the chance to discuss stuff that’s happening in the company; what’s most important is that your opinion matters. Additionally, I think one of the things that I’ve learned in the company is to trust each other. We have ambitious goals and we all have to push forward to achieve them. We have to be really good team players and trust that things will get done, as we say in my country, “like a Swiss watch.”

What is your favorite leadership principle and why?

“Learn and be curious,” without a doubt. Everything since I started at Amazon is about constant learning, and the more you learn the more curious you get. I’m always trying new stuff, and I like to know the “why” of things, especially when I don’t know anything about it. But honestly, I have amazing people around me, and it’s hard not to learn everything that I can from them. It‘s like a chain: You learn and then you share that knowledge with someone else. That is how we all get better in my opinion.

What has been your proudest or fondest moments at Amazon?

It’s not easy to pick just one. We’ve had huge challenges, and I’ve been part of how we’ve succeeded. What comes to my mind is two very cool projects that I collaborated on in the past year. It’s the second year in a row that I managed to collaborate with the same two Solutions Architect on my team and help build something useful.

What’s something you’re excited about outside of work that your coworkers may or may not know about?

I’m a huge fan of football soccer; I watch games and sometimes play with my friends. I’ve met many people that are now my friends through sports; I like basketball, volleyball, and everything where we can compete (Hmmm.... Wait, I just realized I am very competitive).

I also like to visit other places and discover new countries, especially the culinary side, of course — it’s the best part. I still have a lot places in Europe that I want to visit. Last year was a bit tough for everyone, and a bit more for some people than others, but I hope this 2021 brings a lot of joy and happiness to everyone, and also allows me to travel.

What is the best piece of professional advice you were ever given?

"Nothing comes easy, you have to work for it. If you want it, you have to earn it.” I think there is a lot of truth in those words. “Hard work takes sacrifice” is the best advice I’ve been given. Some people may say that this is not true, but it depends how you see it. Work is also about perseverance. If you don’t have what you want yet, maybe it’s time to rethink the way you are doing stuff, or maybe it’s time to get out of your confront zone. Apart from a very few things, I believe that there is always a way.

What guidance do you have for someone pursuing a career at Amazon?

If you don’t achieve something at the first, keep trying. Don’t let go. If you really want it, work for it.  I think this is very Amazonian, as the slogan is “work hard, have fun, and make history.”

Interested in a career at Amazon? Check out some of the openings at Amazon Pay.

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