Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Reviews

Updated August 12, 2014
Updated August 12, 2014
141 Reviews

3.6
141 Reviews
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Bill Goldstein
11 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • interesting colleagues, important work, good work life balance, great location in Northern California (in 16 reviews)

  • get to work with cutting edge technologies, very intelligent people (in 11 reviews)


Cons
  • Sometimes you have to deal with a whole lot of red tape and infrastructure (in 8 reviews)

  • Slow to change because of older employee base but they are changing (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

48 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Software Engineer

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

    Pros

    Full of challenges, management gives you a wide latitude to research and deliver solutions. You are treated like a highly trained individual, not a 'cog in the machine'. Good work/like balance for people with families.
    Working in Livermore means you can find a lot of affordable housing (example: Tracy, $300k houses, 20 miles east of lab).

    Cons

    Salaries are not very competitive once an employee grows their skills and responsibilities into a senior software engineer/architecture role. Your salary will typically rise to the average salary level, then plateau. This is good for people that want a stable, 40 hour job, and are more focused on their family, but frustrating for someone that is ambitious.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The salary ranking system for computer scientists constrains the size of raises that new, ambitious, hard working employees can get. I've seen this result in newer computer science employees learning a tremendous amount at the lab in their first few years, then getting disillusioned at the 3-5% raises they get. Facebook or Google is usually thrilled to offer them a 30% higher salary and grab them after we've done such a great job turning them into a highly skilled HPC software engineer.

    I think these issues are common across the DOE and other government labs. It's just exasperated because we're located net to Silicon Valley, a highly competitive area.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Pros

    Usually no reasonable limit to project funding. Store is very well stocked. Compensation and Time off comparable to industry.

    Cons

    Compensation and Time off comparable to industry.

  3.  

    Wonderful place to work. Best of the DOE national laboratories

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

    Pros

    Absolutely wonderful location in the San Francisco bay area, RELATIVELY affordable to live near by (in Livermore), and lots of opportunities to work on really unique and interesting projects. The people you meet there are absolutely the best part about working at a DOE national lab. Lots of employee activities through the abundant networking groups.

    Cons

    Lots of regulations and rules to follow. Compensation is very slow to respond to added responsibility. And if you have to deal with Washington DC, the politics might be more than some people can handle.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try to find what people are good at and focus them on that. Too many good scientists are bad managers. Promotion to management should be because of management aptitude, not because of technical achievement.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Had a good 13 years there as an admin. Not much growth opportunity in that area, though. Great if your a scientist.

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

    Pros

    Compensation, Benefits, Retirement, work-life balance, paid vacation

    Cons

    Budget issues, lack of communication, some management

    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Good work-life balance with limited career advancement opportunities on the administrative side of the organization.

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

    Pros

    Decent salaries and benefits. Work can be exciting if you are a scientist.

    Cons

    Very bureaucratic. As a government contractor constrained by congressional budget.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Think outside the box more. Hold managers more accountable.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Megacorp Policies with Government Regulations

    • 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

    Pros

    Good compensation, beautiful campus, interesting things to work on (outside of IT), good (low level) management

    Cons

    Terrible portable buildings for many workers, frustrating and enigmatic security policies, complicated political battles and territorial squabbles, nowhere to go professionally, tendency to offload employees to contractor positions, uncommunicative management, confused technical direction (in IT)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Still a Great Place to Work

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

    Pros

    Science in the national interest, worklife balance, love my job!

    Cons

    Salary increases were a challenge because of federal government budget issues

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Too much middle management and more need for SME's and individual contributors.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Best job I've had, by far, but still a couple things that frustrate me

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

    Pros

    1) Real purpose. The work we do here isn't to increase revenue by a penny or two. We are literally saving lives.
    2) Challenging. Because our work matters, this place only hires the best, and we all take our jobs very seriously. It's an honor to be among the best, and I regularly find my coworkers pushing me to grow and improve.
    3) Work-life balance. While there are times where I come in early or stay late to complete a project, I am never pressed to make that a practice. Soccer during lunch, great benefits. Massages when I get sore. Plenty of time off.

    Cons

    1) Bureaucratic. It seems to always take longer than expected to get things done. This is my biggest frustration.
    2) Old school mentality. I actually see this changing, so its much less of a con than when I came on board a few years ago. But resistance to change into a 21st century enterprise does still exist in some pockets.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reward speed and initiative, and embrace change.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Lots of opportunity, great work life balance, amazing coworkers.

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

    Pros

    I worked as an intern during my summer breaks at LLNL and had a great time. There are TONS of opportunities for interns, and you can really learn an amazing amount just in one summer. The staff who take on interns for the summer are over all very supportive and friendly. I always felt like I could go to my adviser if I had any questions about my work.

    Cons

    As with most DOE/government funded institutions, funding is key. Stress level of the management is clear when times are tough, and it is a constant worry for the individuals who do not procure the funding. People tend to get shifted around often, especially in administration. Admins are the first to be let go and are often over worked with mandatory over time, but I do not know that it is any more frequent than outside companies. However, through all the shifting, LLNL is more likely to move you to a different department than to hire someone new since it's less time and money to train a new individual and to have their background cleared.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more clear with with all employees about job security.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Happy with my job.

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

    Pros

    Good benefits, and opportunities to move around.

    Cons

    Lots of bureaucracy. Parney is no longer the director.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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