Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Reviews

Updated November 1, 2014
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Bill Goldstein
7 Ratings

57 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    Many opportunities for different applications

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engineer in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Engineer in Livermore, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

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

    Pros

    Working as an engineer at LLNL, I have had the chance to apply my skill set to many problems. From pure research to applied national security problems, there is always a variety of interesting work.

    Cons

    Shifting funding and priorities make it difficult to focus for more than a few years in any one area. This is great for generalists, but makes it very difficult to become a deep expert in one field.

  2. Helpful (2)

    Basic Review

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great work schedules allowing for alternate work schedules for some people in some cases. Family friendly with flexible work hours. If you don't commit crimes or fail a drug test this can be long term employment

    Cons

    Slow to change
    Below average pay compared to tech companies in the bay area
    Small town Livermore
    No bart stations (In Livermore)

    Advice to Management

    3% annual salary increases does not compare.
    Having new hires starting at a higher salary then current employes with 2 - 3 years exercises sucks!

  3. Helpful (3)

    It depends on what you're looking for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - SQA Engineer in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - SQA Engineer in Livermore, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

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

    Pros

    1. work-life balance - slower pace than private sector so you can enjoy time with family on weeknights and weekends
    2. emphasis on safety culture - each employee can pause work if feel unsafe
    3. paid leave for you or family member (great for parents with young kids that are ill often); paid for going to jury duty
    4. functionality is valued more than latest technology so you don't have to constantly keep up
    5. short commute if you live west of Livermore (reverse commute on 580); don't have to commute to Silicon Valley or BART to SF

    Cons

    1. lower pay; don't expect any raise; if you do get a raise, it's nickels & dimes
    2. have to stress every year about layoffs due to budgets passed by Congress
    3. no career growth after a certain point; training budget is usually low so you must be creative to train yourself
    4. may not be able to work with latest technology; be willing to work with out-dated technology
    5. too many layers of upper management

    Advice to Management

    performance appraisal process/ranking needs to change or be replaced altogether; it is time-consuming and does not value employees whose positions require them to do the same things everyday (e.g., maintain code).

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  5. Helpful (3)

    There's good and there's bad

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

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

    Pros

    The projects you work on can be quite unique in the tech/science arena and can't be found elsewhere. You can take personal pride in working in something to help your country. The work life balance is very good, offering flexible hours, flexible schedules, 9/80s, etc. Very good maternity and paternity plans for parents. Very good retirement plan. There are a lot of super smart people here that you can work with.

    Cons

    The bureaucracy is mind numbing. Ridiculously poor performers can be kept for years because it is so hard to fire people. You are forced to do all sorts of unnecessary online training, I assume so LLNL can't get sued or something later on.

    Technical people are promoted instead of people who want to be managers. This leads to a variety of problems, most notably that they don't have time/interest in managing. If they control funding/money and have deadlines of their own, they have little interest in your interests in job mobility and career development. The word "fiefdom" culture has been strewn about a lot.

    In my division, someone was promoted on their technical merit despite the fact they did not actually want to perform managerial activities (e.g. writing performance appraisals). So a new layer of management was created beneath them to accommodate the situation. In any other company, this would be considered complete insanity, but for some reason it makes total sense to the management here.

    Advice to Management

    Stop promoting people based on their technical ability, promote people that specifically want to be managers. In addition, when someone becomes a manager, make management 100% of their job, not 25% or 50% of their job.

  6. Helpful (4)

    I could do better on the outside

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

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

    Pros

    I've worked here for more than 20 years.
    The pay is just ok. I could get more on the outside.
    Benefits are ok but I actually have my benefits through my spouse now with an outside business because they are better.
    The main reason I stay is I'm close to my small children and I do have the flexibility to do things with them.
    I really like the people I work with but find management doesn't have a clue what they are doing and they treat employee's poor. You might be a great scientist but stink as a manager.
    The Matrix system is really nice and I've been given the opportunity to work all over the lab on different projects. If funding goes away you can usually find something within a month instead of being laid off.

    Cons

    During the UC days it was great. We knew pay was better on the outside but we had a company mentality and wanted to retire here. Now new people come in and then head off to Google or Yahoo for lots more money. Scientists don't make good mangers. In all my years I can think of only 2 or 3 people I felt were great managers and one got pushed out of management for not drinking the management Kool Aid.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the PADS and listen to your worker bees.

  7. Helpful (3)

    A changing lab

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Scientist in Livermore, CA

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

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

    Pros

    LLNL rewards people whose work aligns well with the laboratories programs, particularly if theyre successful in starting new programs

    Cons

    Science is no longer the prime motivation of the laboratory, and often the individuals best able to fund new programs are not the most competent

    Advice to Management

    Provide an internal review system to ensure that quality proposals are being submitted to sponsors

  8. Helpful (1)

    If only the pension still applied

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

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    If you were hired before the contract transition to private sector management, the pension makes everything worthwhile.

    Cons

    If you were hired after the transition, the deal isn't so good. A small 401K match is pretty much it, with some years with no raise at all, other years a 2% increase.

    Advice to Management

    The value proposition for younger employees needs a boost.

  9. Helpful (3)

    Engineer

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

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    No stress work place, lots of intelligence people

    Cons

    if yuor not in the inner circle you're not going up, too many managers.

    Advice to Management

    diversify.

  10. Helpful (2)

    Smart people, lots of bureaucracy and reluctance for new process

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Former Employee - Computer Scientist in Livermore, CA

    I worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (more than 8 years)

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

    Pros

    Smart people, friendly environment, interesting projects

    Cons

    People are reluctant to learn new technologies. Lots of lifers with limited exposure to current trends and practices.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to employees, realize that pedigree doesn't always trump innovation and outside experience

  11. Helpful (3)

    Great people and opportunities, but funding uncertainties

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

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time

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

    Pros

    interesting colleagues, important work, good work life balance, great location in Northern California

    Cons

    at times focus feels almost entirely on finding funding, upper management seems out of touch with reality being dealt with by the work force, seems upper management top heavy

    Advice to Management

    focus on the real mission of the lab rather than propping up a sometime bloated bureaucracy

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