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Friday, April 3, 2009

Miller and Co: You'd better listen to this

Anonymosuly contributed:

This comment was moved from the post "GM: when will bloated ULM be reduced?" because I feel it reflects the realities of a poorly managed lab and the low morale of employees. People are leaving now in a bad economy. Will there be anyone left when the economy improves?

I left ~4 months ago - not because of the layoffs, not because it was so hard to get WFO funding, not because I didn't enjoy the work, but because there are a vast swathe of over-paid useless managers at LLNL. I was tired of watching these managers and overheads eating the money I'd worked so hard to get into the lab. There is a culture of "getting by" within management at LLNL - they do whatever it takes to keep their job and salary but almost nothing to be genuinely useful to either the organization or the projects. This was true of my group leader (head of a group of 6!) and everyone above her. There's nothing that can change this culture because it has been honed over many years of "fail upwards" promotions, academic timescales, and political backstabbing. It made me so depressed and angry every day - i just had to leave.

So - how many in total are left at the lab? What was the percentage of personel at group leader or above 12 months ago and what is it now?


Anonymous said...

I don't think LLNL has to concern themselves with this. The economy is not going to turn around for about 10 years and by that time the nation will be in a very bad situation, so working at LLNL will be far and few between. There will be cuts years after year after year until we have the $10T debt made in 77 days under control. I did hear today we are now $30M short from last year but what I need to know is this. Is that shortfall for NIF alone or the entire lab. You people need to read and understand the facts

Anonymous said...

I fully agree. I might add, what I see managers doing is managing to their own self interest with almost no regard for what is good for the lab. This is near universal in GS. If something is good for the lab as a whole, but not good for that manager, that manager will not support it, or try to block it, drag their feet to delay implementation with the hope of slowing it enough to kill it etc. And in GS, these very people they keep promoting. The few good managers are swamped by this tidal wave of self interest, and as a result cannot get anything accomplished. I work with many other on projects, and many of these coworkers are quite eager to work together, collaborate, work as a team. But almost every time we have to deal with the managers, trying to figure a way around their efforts to stop these efforts. My days are very numbered at the lab, because with GM (ultimately this is his team he put in place) it appears he either has little knowledge (or interest?) in effective managers. I am getting out because it is very clear at this point this is not going to change. For those of you planning on staying, learn to live with it, because this is not going to change. And the result of it will ultimately be the non-managers getting laid off over time. As we saw, managers were too important to even consider laying off.

Anonymous said...

2:06 pm.

I have the same observation in GS. The program managers are out for themselves. They will block others who are a threat to their own self interest, rather than trying to build upon a nucleus of talent.

Anonymous said...

As the worker bees leave and LLNL is left with an ever increasing number of useless managers, the overhead taxation on the remaining worker bees must be increased to pay for the bloated overhead functions. Eventually, like an unstable eco-system, the whole thing goes into sudden collapse.

My guess is this collapse is not very far away. Maybe another year or two. Three at most. Any worker bee with a brain should be able to see this coming by now. The smart worker bees will begin moving to a more healthy hive ASAP.

Anonymous said...

I also believe there are too many managers at the Laboratory. George, I love this lab and I love the mission. But, do we really need team leads under group leaders in service areas? In my experience, team leaders get a lot of credit in terms of % pay raise for writing PA's once a year. Otherwise, they do as much or less work than the technical staff. I believe that GL's should not pass on the responsibility of writing PA's to team leaders. Let's get rid of the multiple layers of management and stop favoritism.

Anonymous said...

Yup. I did a stint in Z and saw the same self interested management. Unfortunately the culture at the Lab is fundamentally flawed to favor the ladder climbers. If you do good work you are a threat and get knocked down by your GL or DL. Saw a better picture in A and B. More collaboration and teamwork.

Anonymous said...

Yup I was in Z too, terrible management, especially at the top. Self promoters to the extreme and pretty abusive.

Anonymous said...

Z Div is incompetence hidden by secrecy.

Anonymous said...

Z managers would have to actually do something to be incompetent, but they haven't so they are ok.

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