Critical Mass Reviews

Updated April 27, 2015
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Critical Mass CEO Dianne Wilkins
Dianne Wilkins
23 Ratings

Pros
  • Most people are great to work with (in 13 reviews)

  • Offers a very good work life balance as employees are rarely required to put in late hours at the office (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Little to no growth in Chicago IT (no next level to move to) (in 4 reviews)

  • Long hours and rushed deadlines are the norm (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

32 Employee Reviews

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  1. Account Director

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Critical Mass full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great big clients. Growing with global locations so not only grow opportunities but they relocate you internationally if you're interested and match a fit. Good, smart people. Really good design and digital work - inventive, innovative. Really good reputation and growing brand recognition because of the work and people.

    Cons

    At the time I was there, it was a little bit like amateur hour from a structural and organizational standpoint. It was more like a "Critical Mess" in terms of procedures, approach to business, etc but I imagine the agency has matured and grown up more and is better overall especially if Omnicom owns them outright now.

    Advice to Management

    Continue listening to employees. Stay focused and prioritize legacy accounts and balance better with new business and new accounts.


  2. Just remember, it's all business

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Creative Director in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Associate Creative Director in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Critical Mass full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Some really nice and smart people. Lots of company-sponsored fun and drinking.

    Cons

    Passive-aggressive people, particularly in management. Some incompetent people who have leadership positions and doesn't seem to be any attempt to change that.

    Advice to Management

    Open your eyes to what is going on and don't just believe what people say - see if for yourselves.


  3. Helpful (3)

    Project Manager for 2 years

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Critical Mass full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Fun people when they aren't working.

    Cons

    Production work. Morale dropped. ZERO leadership.

    Advice to Management

    Figure out who you are. Try to retain talent.


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Helpful (1)

    Nice folks

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Pros

    Great folks, good attitude, nice office

    Cons

    Lack of inspirational leadership, direction


  6. Helpful (2)

    Good Stepping Stone

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Project Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Project Manager in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Critical Mass full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - Management promotes from within - Fair salary and benefits - Casual environment - Execs have an open-door policy and know you by name - Strong office and company culture - Good work/life balance for an agency

    Cons

    - Clique-ish, gossipy -- we're all back in high school again. While the culture is strong, it's not for everyone if you want some level of maturity in your work day - Most accounts are not very interesting and offer little professional growth - Lots of turnover

    Advice to Management

    Look at ways to bring in more interesting clients with diverse work--this will allow employees to build on their skills and possibly keep them longer. No one wants to work on insurance accounts for the long haul.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Good starting point, but you'll find better over time.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Creative in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Creative in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - Incredibly fun culture and the people are great. There are benefits to working hard with these guys. - Potential to work on some really cool projects for brands people recognize.

    Cons

    - Pay is great for people out of college and hungry. Those who've been around for a while can get paid better elsewhere. - Losing swagger, partly due to client roster fading over the years and burned out employees. - Home office doesn't know how to operate outside their geographical space, making expansion and sharing of great opportunities messy and poorly strategized.


  8. Helpful (3)

    A good place to start out. Don't expect long term career growth unless you are in with the right people.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Creative in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Creative in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    There are some smart, fun people. Like other agencies, the culture is a lax jeans and t-shirts kind of place with beer in the fridge. Random fun office events like Bacon Fest will happen. These things make the cons tolerable for the short term.

    Cons

    Weak client roster. A willingness to bend over backwards on projects with little to no reward. Poor communication with employees regarding vision and expectations as a company. If you cannot fend for yourself and stand up for what you want, you may as well be invisible.

    Advice to Management

    Transparency to some degree would be nice. Provide clear career paths and opportunities. The fun stuff is nice, but in the end people want to feel rewarded and respected.


  9. Helpful (3)

    Great times, Good people but little Growth

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Support Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Technical Support Analyst in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    -Great atmosphere/ culture. -Good people. -Always free food.

    Cons

    -No non-billable love. -Little to no growth in Chicago IT (no next level to move to). -A few cliques run the whole operation.

    Advice to Management

    Make non-billable a priority.


  10. Helpful (2)

    Talented People, Agency Capable of More

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Really good clients, some super talented people, nice people, Calgary is ridiculously cold so it is nice to be able to work for the company in other cities, some projects are very exciting, overall management is good, although my manager was a world class douche. Some reviews say hours are crazy but I've worked at various agencies and CM's hours are nothing compared to much of the industry. Definitely some very long hours at times but nothing consistently crazy.

    Cons

    Lack of big ideas, big thinking, not enough of a creative agency. Much of leadership aspires to more but it seems to fall a part at some part in the process. Unfortunately I think the agency cannot attract the required talent to Calgary to change this.

    Advice to Management

    Don't give up on becoming more of a creative big idea agency. CM started and grew utilizing talented designers because that's what drove digital work in the late 90s but the agency has grown and the world has changed and it'd be nice to see CM creating bigger and better ideas, not just pretty web sites. I think CM can get there but management needs to fight for it.


  11. Helpful (3)

    Good tactical digital agency, but you'll be limited

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Critical Mass

    Approves of CEO
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great culture of recognition and transparency. Very "Canadian" agency--the people are nice and they like to drink. Good place to get your hands dirty building stuff that works. Pretty good work/life balance.

    Cons

    You have to fight for a seat at the big kids' table with lead creative agencies. Strategy is not taken seriously. This is not a good place for planners unless your definition of planning is "wireframes and usability testing. (Leadership within the discipline is trying hard to build it out and professionalize it, but clients don't want to pay for planning. They just want their websites built, and agency leadership is happy to oblige.) Uneven project managers--some are awesome, some are unprofessional. The agency talks about creating "extraordinary experiences." The creative is decent, but it's not extraordinary. You're making websites.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you're doing, it seems to be working for you. There's a good living to be made building websites.



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