Jackson Laboratory Reviews

Updated May 12, 2014
Updated May 12, 2014
47 Reviews
3.0
47 Reviews
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Jackson Laboratory President & CEO Dr. Edison T. Liu
Dr. Edison T. Liu
11 Ratings

9 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Animal Care Tech-Production

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Animal Care Tech in Sacramento, CA
    Former Employee - Animal Care Tech in Sacramento, CA

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    There is plenty of work to do, always overtime.

    Cons

    You are a complete slave. You get paid nothing. You will be injured from the work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop treating people like they are machines.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Senior professionals considering relocation to work at the Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor should be very careful

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Manager in Bar Harbor, ME
    Former Employee - Manager in Bar Harbor, ME

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The Lab is situated in a very beautiful remote rural area with a combination of mountain and seashore attractions and the proximity of the Acadia National Park, and is a dream for an outdoor enthusiast (although this can be a serious “con” for those who have no such inclinations and prefer an urban or suburban lifestyle). Working to support the mission of the lab in conducting and promoting research into causes and potential cures for human disease is very gratifying, and was my primary motivation for seeking a position with the Lab. It has great healthcare coverage. Most of the people at all levels of the organization who work there are extremely conscientious, dedicated and diligent individuals with whom I enjoyed collaborating during my time there.

    Cons

    A caveat - I worked in the area responsible for inventory management, marketing and sales, so my comments don’t necessarily generalize into the science and educational areas. I understood I was being hired to help introduce new approaches to managing operations and related quality assurance issues but I found the senior management, as much as they paid lip service to “developing a quality culture”, reluctant to engage in any serious assessment of how they do business or set any meaningful strategic direction for making operational improvements. Ideas which didn’t align with current practices were typically poorly received, and persistence in promoting such ideas precipitated challenges to personal competency and motivation. Several senior managers were heavy-handed in treatment of subordinates, and expected similar treatment to be shown down the line – resistance elicited the same sort of non-professional criticism. Initially, I questioned myself, but found several other people over time with similarities in professional background and aspirations whose experiences echoed my own. Another obstacle to succeeding in an operations-based role is the dependence on IT, and that group, which apparently suffered challenges for years, continued to address issues with its own operations and turnover while I was there and shortly after I left. After a year, the dissonance was greater than I would tolerate, so I resigned my position. Alternatives for professional work in the area are very limited, including at the Lab. I applied for two other positions in other areas in the Lab (one before, and the other after I resigned), but in both cases the original job postings were pulled, and job descriptions re-written and then re-posted after I initially applied.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My advice to the management is much the same as they received in at least one internal employee satisfaction survey. It is that they engage the talents and insights of the many people who are committed to the mission of the Lab, and capable of making significant contributions. The treatment it seems most people receive, at least in the areas with which I was familiar, is very de-motivating and largely encourages risk-averse and conformist behaviors. The tenor of senior management attitude toward subordinate input is to filter and restrain what is offered, rather than to channel or foster. For an organization with aspirations to expand in size and complexity, and the need to compete with other organizations for revenue as government sponsored funding diminishes, the senior management does a great disservice to the mission of the Lab in the way it treats its less senior staff and undermines contributions they might otherwise make. It also discourages others with potentially valuable experience and insights gained elsewhere who might be inclined to consider joining Lab to think very carefully before making any commitment; that at least would be my advice. As much as one would want to support the mission of the Lab, it should not come at a cost to one’s career, professional integrity and/or personal welfare.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Not recommended for IT work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bar Harbor, ME
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bar Harbor, ME

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The campus is very nice, with interesting things happening. There are a lot of nice people, good health club if you work in the Bar Harbor office. The work is ultimately for a good cause, assuming you don't have strong beliefs against true medical animal testing. Mice are treated well.

    Cons

    This review is for IT only. I don't know what it's like to work on the sciences or mouse room side. The Jackson IT department is sadly disfunctional. Site staff are afraid to rock the boat, so things are slow to change. The IT consumer groups are really running the show, though they don't have the IT background to do this properly. The systems are badly hacked together, with numerous manual processes baked in. Working in Jackson IT is somewhere between functioning as a software engineer and as an admin assistant.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Time must be allocated for IT staff training within the work week. Information does not get transmitted up the organization as it should, so one-on-one chats with hands-on IT staff would be helpful. The enterprise systems need to be audited for best practices. There is a good deal of empowered but overwhelmed and inexperienced staff between top management and hands-on IT workers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    A need for change

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - In Vivo Lab Technician II (RA II) in Sacramento, CA
    Former Employee - In Vivo Lab Technician II (RA II) in Sacramento, CA

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Learned a lot of techniques in a short period of time, by a really great trainer. The techs are the smartest/ambitious/social/friendly people I have ever met. Just the best group I have been around.

    As long as things can stay balanced between home and work you will learn techniques that are very unique and in a short period of time.

    Free lunches often from various catering.

    Bar Harbor staff VERY friendly and approachable.

    Cons

    The only training program is for beginning techs, which is great, but there are other positions in the lab too that should have some sort of training program in place.

    Expecting techs to work 50+ hours a week is unreasonable. There is nothing in the job descriptions about mandatory overtime, yet the techs are expected to stay.

    Be ready for your schedule to change daily.

    Responsibility is often shifted from one person to the next, and when the ball falls, the last one holding it is the one to blame.

    All the other cons from the other reviews I stand by. I came into this job, knowing the reviews, but also knowing I love science. Until the head of the leadership changes, do not work here. It doesn't matter how optimistic you are, how much you love research, how much you love to work, this job (as it stands now) will suck the life out of you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be reasonable. For a company that is non-profit, you sure do focus on the "revenue" side of things. Bringing in as many projects as possible, as many procedures as possible without the thought of the quality/work environment. Do not set processes in place and expect them to only be followed as long as it does not screw up what you are trying to get done.

    Also, have better communication with those who are on probation periods. Don't cancel their 1:1's for weeks and weeks at time. To potential employees: make sure while you are on probation to have great communication with your recruiter, this is as much a benefit to them as it is to you, and have clear written instructions what will lead to you either being hired or not.

    Have training programs for all positions that are in the lab.

    There needs to be change in leadership. The pressure of revenue and lack of presence in the lab, alongside the techs, has caused nothing but problems. Techs leave often before two years, and the techs remaining often explain why everyone is leaving and what needs to change. Yet nothing changes or if there is change it is too late. I believe the reason why Bar Harbor receives such high marks is because of the compassion the employers have for their employees. Anytime I worked with anyone from Bar Harbor they were very understanding and reasonable. If some training could be done between the two management teams, I think it would be very beneficial. It is just time for change in leadership, before no one is left.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Never work here

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Animal Care Trainee II in Sacramento, CA
    Former Employee - Animal Care Trainee II in Sacramento, CA

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    It was a job that paid money.

    Cons

    Treated like a machine. If you like killing many animals on a daily basis, this job is for you!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please quit.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    JAX West is like waking up in a nightmare 5, 6, or sometimes 7 days of the week.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Sacramento, CA
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Sacramento, CA

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory

    Pros

    You get the technical skills and experience you need quickly, through the daily demands of an insane work schedule, to attain a real career position at a real company.

    Cons

    A regular work week is 10 hours/day M-F and then your weekend is coming in for 6 hours here, or 4 hours there depending on the demands from being short staffed. Work-life balance is non- existent. If you have plans outside of work supervisors will expect you to cancel them to stay late while they leave early. There is too much work for too little people in In Vivo and this is known by upper management yet ignored to meet the bottom line and accomplish their yearly bonus incentives.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Decrease the workload expected out of technicians to maintain a reasonable work week of 45-50hrs. Increase employee compensation and show appreciation for all that they accomplish for you on a daily basis. Finally, expect from your employees what you expect out of yourself; it's utterly ridiculous that technicians are required to put their lives on hold to stay late and come in on weekends while other members of the "team" are out the door or home already.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Have had one foot out the door for the past 2 years... sad, very sad

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Sacramento, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Sacramento, CA

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory

    Pros

    New facility
    Some of the coworkers that are down to earth are still here (only very few)
    Very hard working folks (taken for granted)
    Oh, and 2 big screen tvs in the breakroom

    Cons

    Non profit trying to run like corporate, without the money
    Lots of gossip
    Have to fight for your job, even though you cant get goals accomplished
    Lack of teamwork and communication, even though they want that environment
    Lots of people are miserable but dont want to leave
    Unfairness in how people are treated
    Too many politics for a nonprofit research
    High turnover rates
    Inconsistincies within Sac facility and across both coast facilities
    Lots of frustration throughout the facility
    They dont want to fire people because they dont want to pay unemployment

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Follow through with what you say you are going to do. Listen to your folks, dont just say "yes" when we really know you mean "no". Also, there are some very intelligent people working for you that you continue to refuse to listen to, and still listen to the bottom dwelling bum kissers that are making the high dollar mistakes throughout the facility. And how many more supervisors/ leads do we really need? How about just letting us do our work for once without changing it every 5 minutes. I have worked with this company for awhile, and feel so dragged down and disrespected that I can't even believe we are still operating when I know so many others feel this way too. I think at one point you even wanted to hire immigrants to do the work so there would be less complaining? I don't know how we are supposed to get on the top 100 places to work out here in Sacramento when you dont take your employees seriously, dont listen, and continue to be stubborn or incognizant about true changes that need to take place. You really need to nurture people, give them more resources for work/life balance and fun. And stop making it seem like production runs the show, there are far more other people here working just as hard.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    There was a time where I couldn't wait to go to work at Jax but now it is a paycheck .

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bar Harbor, ME
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bar Harbor, ME

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory

    Pros

    The lower level employee's are like family,very conciderate of others.

    Cons

    Certain managers treat individuals differantly than others as far as promotions. It should be based on merits and past experience and performance reviews not on who they are firends with.

    Certain areas there is intimidation, managers towards employee's

    Certain areas,a blind eye is applied to certain actions of emplyee's but others are held accountable for their actions by mangers. ie one sided views and disiplinary actions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There needs to be a 360 review applied to managers from employee's so that the senior managment team can be aware of how the managers are treating their employee's as far as shareing important information,respect,handleing issues within their department and overall support of the mission that the institution is provideing.

    When it comes to guidelines,rules,disiplinary actions everybody should be treated with the same standards and respect and be informed to obide the same rules and guidelines and be subjected to the same standards and disiplinary actions. That is not always the case.

    Example: You have 2 people that are at the same level position,same pay level,same requirements.
    One walks around all day from person to person discussing what is going on in their life,what they did during the weekend,what they are planning on doing on vacation,and so on.

    Then you have the other employee doing what is required by the institution earning their pay and applying themselves totally to their duties and abideing to the rules and guidelines.

    When certain managers are approached about the issue at hand ,it is ignored until pressure builds up,then the person that addresses the issue is usually the one that getscalled to the office and spoken to. Not the person that is not applying themselves or following the guidelines stated by the institution.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Love the Work; Hate the place. Upper management is a joke.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - In Vivo Technologist in Sacramento, CA
    Current Employee - In Vivo Technologist in Sacramento, CA

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory

    Pros

    The people that I work with are some of the best technicians I've ever worked with. Very skilled technicians, hard working, and great talent. The job duties itself are pretty amazing you learn a lot about a lot of things. The work load is really crazy. Its a sink or swim type of place.

    Cons

    Upper management are the worst. Bar Harbor I hear is a great place to work, but thats not the case in sacramento. You have to beg for supplies that you need. People are expected to over see 10-15 different studies, and do technical work and not make mistakes. Management has said they were going to make changes to make the technicians life better. . . lies! Really the worst thing is that we are over worked and underpaid. Under appreciated is the life at Jax -west.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Appreciate your staff! You cant expect to work people this hard and have them not make mistakes. Stop lying to your staff about what your going to do, In fact, stop having meeting all together. nothing gets accomplished. nothing ever changes. why have them? Communicate with your technicians better; Fire people that are dead weight, and hire people that can succeed at a sink or swim job. Pay your employee's more. Being a non-profit isn't an excuse to treat people like this. The education system seems to be able able to pay more than you with WAY less expectations. And the education system is talking about cutting PE programs because of lack of money. how can they pay signifigantly more than jax? You cant make things better without spending more money. either hire more staff (and make work conditions better) or pay us more. stop thinking about your bottom line so much. . . your a non-profit remember!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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