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Monday, June 23, 2014

Does LLNL deserve 3.4 stars on Glassdoor.com?

Does LLNL deserve 3.4 stars on Glassdoor.com?

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gee, let me guess what this blog's answer to that might be.......

Anonymous said...

For post-docs and early career individuals, it's not a bad place to start out. It's just not so great for anyone who decides that they want or have to stay.

Anonymous said...

"...For post-docs and early career individuals, it's not a bad place to start out. It's just not so great for anyone who decides that they want or have to stay.."

Agreed. 2-5 years for early career folks OK for experience and resume building only. As unfortunate as it is to say.

Anonymous said...

Funny you guys should make those comments. If you read through the reviews it appears many of the very positive ones are from interns or post-docs, less so from career employees. I think p-docs are paid well here compared to other places, but not sure on this. So good place to do your fellowship.

Anonymous said...

Don't know about anyone else, but my unofficial polling would say, 75% of employees hate the lab and are either trapped and bitter, or are actively looking to leave. 25%, mostly young people including postdocs, give it a thumbs up. Pay is still pretty good especially at the lower levels, and for now anyways there is still some prestige in putting the lab on your resume.

Anonymous said...

yeah lab postdocs get paid much much much better than a typical science/engineering postdoc at, say, a university.

Does LLNL still have the 25% rule with postdocs, where postdocs can us 25% of their charge time on independent research?

Anonymous said...

3.7: LBNL
3.7: ORNL
3.6: PNNL
3.6: SNL
3.5: LANL
3.4: LLNL

Anonymous said...

3.9: JPL
3.7: Ames
3.7: LBNL
3.7: ORNL
3.6: PNNL
3.6: SNL
3.5: LANL
3.4: LLNL
3.3: Best-Buy

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - when working at Best Buy just isn't enough.

Anonymous said...

It always takes a booming labor market to get LLNL to make efforts in retaining people. Until then, it attrition wont hurt.

Anonymous said...

It'll get really bad for lab employees looking elsewhere once the outside finds out that recommendations from the lab don't count for that much either.

Anonymous said...

June 24, 2014 at 10:43 AM

hmmm, inversely proportional to talent.
JPL at top, LLNL/Best Buy at bottom.


Anonymous said...

It'll get really bad for lab employees looking elsewhere once the outside finds out that recommendations from the lab don't count for that much either.

June 24, 2014 at 5:25 PM

There's actually *a lot* of truth to this statement. The "scientists" at all the weapons labs (LLNL, LANL, and SNL) are 2nd rate (or lower!) scientists and *are not* well-known or regarded in their fields. Both academia and industry look down on the weapons labs staff as lazy employees.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that all 3 weapons labs are actually clustered near the bottom of the Glassdoor rankings. I guess Glassdoor is surprisingly representative of reality.

Anonymous said...

As long as post-docs make enough at the weapon labs to afford a $2,000 top-end bike and a brand new Camaro, life for them is great. If you read the stories of how hard it is for young people coming out of college during the Great Recession then you'll understand where these lab post-docs are coming from with their high morale. It's bleak out there in the job market for most college graduates these days and they've heard the sad stories from their college buddies trying to survive and living in Mom & Dad's basement.

For career labbies who haven't been out searching in the job market for the last 10 years, things look pretty dismal working at the weapon labs. The job security has weakened considerably, benefits have been cut and management seems to only care about safety and security metrics that will keep a dysfunctional NNSA happy and off their backs. The science is dying, though there are still some isolated pockets of good work being done.

NNSA and their private management pals are in the "pretend and extend" mode. It can go on for many more years before the bottom finally drops out due to bureaucratic rot. However, the rot will eventually do these labs in and the NNSA complex will continue to shrink.



Anonymous said...

3.4 stars out of 10 maybe.

LLNL is awful. Within weeks of starting there I went looking for a new job.

Anonymous said...

How long ago did you start looking?
PhD?
And you are still around?

Anonymous said...

I don't think this blog is very representative of the entire lab, it seems to be relentlessly negative. I have worked at LLNL for more than twenty years, with a great group of people (young and old) who feel similarly. We publish regularly and are well respected in the broader scientific community. I would also agree the postdoc salaries and their 25% self directed work time are especially good (that is how I and many of my colleagues started).

This is not to say the lab is perfect, it spends far too much of its overhead money chasing mirages instead of reinvesting in its most successful endeavors for example, but what workplace is perfect? I am in regular contact with my colleagues in academia and industry and each of those have their problems as well. There is an issue in general with choosing a scientific/technical career in an era where financial and some business professions will always be better rewarded. Most of us chose the science path understanding that going in. All in all I still think LLNL remains a pretty good place to pursue a scientific/technical career.

Anonymous said...

I think it actually is fairly representative, though there certainly are people who think the lab is still a great place to work. The people who think that tend to be in "safe" positions, especially computational people who don't need many toys or much floor space to do their work.

Anonymous said...

This blog is pretty representative based on what people privately say at work. They are very, very fearful of speaking up because so many have suffered retribution. I have seen the retribution myself and heard others stories which were even worse than mine. In my case, the work I do is pretty interesting and exciting and I quite like it. That is not the problem. The problem is the managers who seem to care little about the mission at all at least in my division. What I have learned is that addressing issues important to the nation seems important to those of us doing the work. The managers show no interest and do not reward work that has impact in this area. But supposedly this is the basis for compensation at LLNL. Its not. I don't know what the basis is for reward at LLNL is, impacting the mission is not it. Having done some very significant things seemed to result in managers downplaying the accomplishments while folks in DC are thrilled and heap praise. That is why I will be leaving the lab shortly. Getting a little tired of top management talking about how important the mission is yet their management team below them show no interest and are an impediment. Maybe it is different in other parts of the lab, I don't know. If Goldstein cares, he might want to implement a system of input where we can provide candid feedback on his lower levels of management. And most importantly this would have to be done in a way that guarantees we would not be subject to retribution. This all assumes if upper management even cares. Bet you will never hear about something like this at an all hands. I am sure LLNL management reads this blog. How about addressing this? If this were different, it would be a pretty satisfying job. So my work is very satisfying. My job satisfaction is as low as it can get solely because of our divisions management. What a shame. It could be a great place to work. So there you have it a positive comment, interesting and satisfying work. But that does not make a good work environment by itself. If you look at Glassdoor, over and over the career employees say the same thing, bad management. But many say the work itself is interesting, some say exciting. Really tells you something about the management when people say the work is exciting but would not recommend someone consider working at the lab. Maybe someday management will care. No evidence of that yet. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

It was refreshing to actually see a post that matches my experience and feelings about LLNL (i.e. June 27, 2014 at 5:44 PM).

The people who regularly post on this blog are so far off from what I experience everyday at LLNL, it isn't even funny. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if the majority of posts are by half-a-dozen people. The bitterness and arrogance in many of these posts is really too much...

The vast majority of people I work with are top quality, enjoy living in the Bay Area, really enjoy being at LLNL, and have a lot of respect from people in industry and academia. The complaints I usually hear are about a the often unclear mission from up top and unhappiness about pay increases over the last few years.

I have worked in quite a few companies in industry, and by far the culture and people at LLNL are definitely a cut above. Maybe I've just been lucky...

Anyway, flame away. I've seen what sort of response people get on here for daring say anything positive about LLNL or the national labs. That uncivil behavior is what I'd call the real shame.

To, June 29, 2014 at 10:54 PM, sorry to hear you are planning to leave. My management has been stellar, but in an org of 6,000+ I'm sure there is going to be good/bad (and even terrible). Good luck to you. :(

Anonymous said...

I also thinking working at LLNL is great. The work is always at least interesting, and more often than not, it's exciting. I've had the pleasure of working with big teams and small teams, and I find the folks at LLNL a cut above the outside average.

I think congress did us taxpayers a real disservice by throwing UC management overboard, and choosing to spend limited money on profit and state taxes. It also heightened the importance of "compliance", which was what congress wanted.

Nevertheless, LLNL has found ways to pursue important technical work, and has succeeded in moving ahead despite the additional "compliance" dead weight.

It's still a great place to perform important and interesting work in service to the nation.

Anonymous said...

To ask "what workplace is perfect?" is the question that a bad manager will ask. The right question is "whats a better workplace for you, given your situation, and is the difference worth the move?" There is a lot of work that is interesting to you if you happen to line up expertise-wise with that narrow set of work. And maybe you are willing to put up with more BS if you have to support a family.

There absolutely is better out there for probably 50% of Livermorons. If you've been at LLNL for a long time, but haven't accomplished as much as your peers in the private sector, then it will be worse out there for you especially in the best and most competitive industries.

Anonymous said...

It's over 100 degrees outside today yet it is under 60 degrees in my office. I had to go home at noon to get a winter coat. My hands are cold. My feet are cold. Other employees have space heaters turned on in their offices. It's been like this for several weeks due to a faulty building AC system that remains to be fixed. We had similar problems last year, except back then there was a 2-week period when the afternoon office temperatures exceeded 90 degrees. Employees in other buildings report similar issues. This isn't the fault of the existing maintenance staff. It is the fault of a Laboratory management that made a conscious decision to reduce maintenance support.

This wouldn't be such a problem if it wasn't for the excessive overhead taxes we pay. The site support tax is currently over 50% (actually more, since overhead is levied on top of overhead). As an individual employee, I or my projects pay well over $100K/yr for "facilities support." And that's just me. Similar payments are obtained from everyone in my building. A decent working environment doesn't seem like an unreasonable expectation considering the amount of money we pay. It doesn't take me weeks to fix a maintenance problem at my house, and I don't need to shell out $100K either.

This is not an isolated event and it is not confined to facilities issues. This type of dysfunction is so pervasive throughout the Laboratory that everyone simply takes it for granted. Direct funded employees receive nothing but unfunded mandates in return for the excessive taxes they are required to pay.

Laboratory management is grossly incompetent. It is a joke. This is self-evident considering the negative rates of return observed on our high overhead rates. We have high costs. We have declining budgets. We have a demoralized workforce. LLNS said the opposite would happen. They failed. Who has been fired, other then maintenance staff that actually benefited the Laboratory?

Anonymous said...

There are a few bitter posters who constantly post on this blog. They are not representative of how the vast majority of the professional staff feel.

Most staff feel the new management team has done a spectacular job at improving the lab. This lab is far more efficient and cost effective and the new managers now care about the careers of their scientific staff. It's been an 200% improvement since LLNS came aboard with savvy business assistants from world class companies like Bechtel.

Bravo, LLNS! Keep up the good work. Your workforce is rooting for you! Together, we can accomplish great things.

Anonymous said...

The managers care about the careers of their staff???? That statement gave me the biggest laugh. The last two years were the worst in terms of the relationship between performance input and performance appraisal outcome. The golden boys have done well I am sure. They are the ones who think the system is fair. Maybe you are one of them. Failing your way up the ladder. Good for you. Keep up the kleptocracy. In the eyes of god, you are a criminal like the rest.

Anonymous said...

Some people have no sense of humor, and cannot even recognize good humor when it is typed before their eyes.

Anonymous said...

July 1, 2014 at 7:41 AM - The first post on this blog that really lives up to the "true story" title.

Hear, Hear!

Anonymous said...

It's over 100 degrees outside today yet it is under 60 degrees in my office. I had to go home at noon to get a winter coat. My hands are cold. My feet are cold. Other employees have space heaters turned on in their offices. It's been like this for several weeks due to a faulty building AC system that remains to be fixed. We had similar problems last year, except back then there was a 2-week period when the afternoon office temperatures exceeded 90 degrees. Employees in other buildings report similar issues.

June 30, 2014 at 4:31 PM

Knapp solved this problem at LANL by forcing his weapon engineers to go work at the facilities. This also turned out to be a humongous failure, however, this probably won't stop him from trying it again. Good luck Livermore....

Anonymous said...

Knapp solved this problem at LANL by forcing his weapon engineers to go work at the facilities.

July 3, 2014 at 5:03 AM

That statement should scare the hell out of everyone. Imagine that our nuclear weapons are as in as bad shape as our facilities have gotten to be since Knapp did this!

Anonymous said...

That statement should scare the hell out of everyone. Imagine that our nuclear weapons are as in as bad shape as our facilities have gotten to be since Knapp did this!

July 10, 2014 at 3:17 PM

No worries, we have one-point safe toilets that can endure the B61 stockpile-to-target sequence at LANL now.

Anonymous said...

Wait, you mean your toilets aren't safe for number 2's?

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