Jackson Laboratory

  www.jax.org
  www.jax.org

Jackson Laboratory Reviews

Updated November 29, 2014
Updated November 29, 2014
49 Reviews
3.0
49 Reviews
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Jackson Laboratory President & CEO Dr. Edison T. Liu
Dr. Edison T. Liu
11 Ratings

10 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    A World Class Non-Profit Research Institution Experiencing Growing Pains.

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

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The Laboratory prides itself on providing well for it's employees. This is clear when the health care benefits and 403b retirement packages are taken into consideration. The plans are equal to or better than most other research organizations. The plans high quality is likely driven by competitive benefit packages offered by other institutions. There is an unusually long waiting period to begin receiving these benefits.

    Cons

    The organization has understaffed its operations departments. There are many managers that do very little work. These same managers are quick to insist that their subordinates take on an unrealistic workload. I have personally observed promotions that appear to be based on relationships rather than skill level. Many good people have left because of that. Changes need to be made or the loss of talented technical and professional employees will continue. The losses will become more frequent as economic conditions improve.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop acting as if you are a for profit corporation. There is no benefit to this type of organization by displaying that type of behavior. The aloofness displayed by operations and middle managers when communicating to their subordinates must not continue. There needs to be regular and confidential 360 degree reviews of all operations and middle managers. Employee feedback requests will assist senior management in identifying the entrenched operations and middle managers that are not inspiring their employees to work smarter and harder. An independent and responsible third party organization must be used to retrieve the 360 degree review data. There is a lack of regular communication between operations and middle managers with their subordinates. That behavior is damaging moral and leaves the operations and middle managers uninformed of operational issues. Regular department meetings for operations employees must be implemented and enforced by senior management. After the 360 degree data has been gathered, it will be found that some very long term operations managers only appear to be doing a good job. Find the courage to get that data and act on it. Your operations employees must be inspired by quality leadership or you will continue to lose them.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Great internship

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

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory

    Pros

    Friendly supportive mentorship, beautiful town, wide range of research, small labs, collaborative environment, people with a range of backgrounds and interests, dedicated to research

    Cons

    limited time to get results, wish there were more interaction between departments

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    more opportunities to work with mice, more faculty talk events

    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    The work environment is very intense.

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

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory

    Pros

    If you work as a postdoc in Jackson Laboratory, you can get good research training on the frontiers and get better chance to publish papers in the top journals.

    Cons

    The work environment is very intense. People are pushed to work hard and longer, even come to work at weekends.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Only because..."What else is there?"

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

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Retirement, Benefits, Outward facing mission to cure human disease.

    Cons

    Congested traffic 6 months of the year.
    Place people in positions of authority that have no ability to deal with people.
    Management has a "good-ole'-boys" mentality.
    COO with severe Napoleon complex. - more concerned about himself/salary/getting ahead than others. He is there to be served by the organization...not to serve the organization.
    Management doesn't like people who think for themselves...they only want a "yes" person.
    Their excuse for wanting a "yes" person is "customer service".
    Management knows that there isn't much in this area and exploits the fact.
    CEO (Liu) is dis-connected and either doesn't see COO's (Charles Hewett) poor management practices or doesn't care.
    They like to hire outside and pay a lot more than people doing the same jobs for longer periods of time.
    Some departments have 50 people and of that 50 are 21 managers....talk about a leaning tower!
    'Hand-picked' and created jobs for senior management's favorite people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Knee-jerk reactions to situations are not beneficial to the institution or employees in general.
    Exponential increases to COO's salary is a sad reality of this institution while employees scrape...Oh, and watch out for the "Average salary at Jackson Lab" reports...they include many over-paid, senior-management heavy departments. Not a reality.
    Increase base wage from $10.25......this hasn't changed in over a DECADE!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Has the potential to be a top employer

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

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

    Pros

    - Good benefits package: insurance and great retirement
    - New gym (built late 2013), New Cafeteria (built early 2014)
    - High rate of company expansion = never a shortage of work
    - Lots of overtime opportunities for workaholics
    - Decently diverse work force (in Production anyway)
    - Possibility to work with really good people
    - Work shifts help avoid traffic (start times anywhere from 4:30am-7:30am)
    - Sometimes the company springs for lunch

    Cons

    Regarding the Sacramento Animal Care branch:

    This company has an enormous amount of potential, but expectations of employees are set too high to realize this. The bottom line seems to be the primary influence when it comes to decisions about workflow.

    Production teams are minimally staffed--the company only staffs just enough technicians to one group so that weekly assignments are only completed on-time if everyone works at 120% all day, every day. This extreme demand for employee efficiency creates a never-ending pool of overtime to cover for anyone that calls-out, giving technicians an even larger workload than the one they were already working extra hard to finish. These high demands often result in employee injuries, which further aggravates the under-staffing issue.

    While compensation is somewhat decent (starting entry level wage is $12-14/hr), there are several competing companies in the vicinity that offer better pay for much less work. This is one major contributing factor to the high turnover of employees--a running joke among nearby competitors is that JAX is a stepping stone; they train technicians for other companies. It's sad because this company easily has the capability to be on the opposite side of that joke.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This is a non-profit company. Stop acting like you're not. While expansion is great, you need to not lose focus on one of your foundations--the Animal Care Technicians. Employee morale wouldn't be so low if you not only listen to concerns, but actually take them into consideration.

    Have realistic growth expectations. You can't expect to double production within a year, when it'd take twice as long to build the competent, loyal, and satisfied workforce to support it. You end up putting too much strain on the existing technicians.

    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Best in the area

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Animal Care Technologist II in Bar Harbor, ME
    Current Employee - Animal Care Technologist II in Bar Harbor, ME

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    People know each other and help out. Workers care about their jobs. Salary is pretty good for the area, and it's hard to get a job with benefits better than this.

    Cons

    Advancement and promotion are slow. Some departments have backstabbers, but you will find that everywhere.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Overall, great, but my group poorly managed.

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

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory

    Pros

    Acadia National Park surrounds the attractive campus and small-town life means no gangs, few drugs, low crime rate, etc. Fantastic place to raise kids and to enjoy outdoor activities. Some nice benefits like a turkey, ham, or fruit basket (or donate same to charity) for every employee at Xmas. Some (rare) managers are truly fantastic.

    Cons

    Management skills are frequently sorely lacking as most senior and junior managers are people with Ph.D. in science with no management training or natural skills. Professional development is nonexistent for software employees.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    neutral

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

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory

    Pros

    provide good benefits for postdoc

    Cons

    the place is too isolated, and the research groups here are not very strong

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    N.A.

    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    It is a place good for family with young kids.

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

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory

    Pros

    Jackson Laboratory allows for the flexible working hours and sometimes work from home. Bar Harbor is a very nice place to live.

    Cons

    This place is good for biologists, but not other technical professionals. The training opportunity is very limited if you are not biologist.

    No opinion of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    It is a place where supervisors do not seem to want to treat you like you are a person with some intelligence.

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

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory

    Pros

    Best reasons: Vacation/Sick time. At one time I would of said it was because Rick Woychik was leading the Jackson Lab. He cared what his employees thought and instituted a lab wide review once a year to get inpute from everyone at the lab. He showed that he cared about the people that the Lab employed by taking an interest in us!

    Cons

    Not enough feed back from supervisors on the job you are doing, they tend to tell you only what they feel you should know, we tend to learn the rest from gossip. They are not always truthful and seem to fight communication. If Supervisors were more proactive in communicating with their employees, maybe there would not be a need for the amount of gossip there is at the lab!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When we use to have a survey done once a year at the Lab. It seemed that the managers were more concerned with who said what. Maybe they should be more proactive in dealing with the problems instead of just emailing people after the survey was done, saying, "If you need to talk with me please feel free". Then after emailing this to their employees, they feel that they have done everything they could to deal with the department problems and nothing else gets done. Rick Woychik cared about the employees and showed it in everything he did at the Lab. Now that he is gone, I hope that the Lab does not go back the the way it use to be before Rick came to the Lab!

    Approves of CEO

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Great lab gym

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