SoftLayer

  www.softlayer.com
  www.softlayer.com

SoftLayer Reviews

64 Reviews
3.5
64 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby
Lance Crosby
37 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • More free snacks than is probably healthy (in 10 reviews)

  • great benefits and compensation package (in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • Open door policy with upper management is not really open door (in 8 reviews)

  • HR tells employees right during new hire orientation that no raises will be given for tenure, and that increases are based on performance only (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

10 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 4 people found this helpful  

    One of the worst places I have ever worked.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Customer Support Technician in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Customer Support Technician in Houston, TX

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

    Pros

    - Had really wonderful health benefits before IBM came in. IBM's benefits are good, but SoftLayer's were even better before the acquisition. They had really low deductibles, premiums and out of pocket maxes compared to any other employer I have worked with.
    - Free snacks, soda and energy drinks.
    - Worked with some really awesome people.
    - Good place to gain experience in system administration and the hosting industry.

    Cons

    - Salary is subpar and way below the market standard for both the public and private sector, for my job it was at least 15K less than what I could make elsewhere for other jobs similar to this line of work.
    - Huge lack of training my first year and a half. Only in the last 8 months did they start to offer training to help you be better at your job and learn more advanced things/train people who needed it/didn't get it when hired.
    - Raises are hard to come by, I worked there for a little over 2 years and never got a raise after having the 2nd highest numbers in tickets, working extra projects, and helping out the manager with various tasks. This seemed to be a constant occurrence for multiple technicians who worked their butts off.
    - No heads up on new products being offered, often times you learned from the customer and had no clue what they were talking about, and even when you did know there was always a lack of training on them.
    - Pay rates after being promoted within and outside the department are way below the standard rate new employees to the company are given for the same position.
    - No promotions unless willing to move to Dallas. Was constantly passed over by inexperienced people who become buddy buddy with senior management.
    - Unable to move up to other departments unless promoted to a Customer Support Admin and that also required moving to Dallas even when positions for the job were in Houston.
    - Open door policy with upper management is not really open door. Senior manager constantly got mad when seeking advice or reassurances from upper management (VP and above) for things that had nothing to do with him or even the department.
    - Constantly placed in very stressful situations, overworked and under appreciated.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your employees and their concerns. Don't be mad when employees seek advice from upper management. Don't lie and say raises are performance based and not reward an employee when they go above and beyond and put in the extra work. This happened to a lot of people there. Pay your employees an honest wage and not something below the market standard. Give employees the opportunity to move up in the company without making them move especially when there are positions open in their location they are qualified for, and without making everyone become an admin first.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Management doesn't care

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Systems Administrator, Managed Hosting in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Systems Administrator, Managed Hosting in Houston, TX

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

    Pros

    Stepping stone to better jobs
    Potential to learn a lot
    Decent benefits
    Free drinks
    Christmas party
    Not much else

    Cons

    NO Raises
    Average or below average pay
    Management (lower, middle, and upper) don't care about the employees; only shift leads do, and they have no influence
    They also don't care about their customers; although managed hosting tries to make it look like they at least do, none of them actually do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take a lesson from Google and Rackspace and start treating your employees and customers like you actually care about them.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Horrible company to work at

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Data Center Technician in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Data Center Technician in Dallas, TX

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

    Pros

    I got a lot of work in. Sure most of the time I was doing unrelated stuff, like making coffee and cleaning the toilets, but they sure worked me hard.

    Cons

    They forced me to clean toilets and make coffee. I rarely got paid my full rate and they would make my hours disappear. One time I worked 95 hours in a week and I only got paid for 24 of them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Shut the company down and open a daycare instead.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 5 people found this helpful  

    Great on the outside; disappointing on the inside

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Dallas, TX

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

    Pros

    * Very good benefits
    * Free snacks, beverages, scheduled lunches, and occasional on-site happy hours
    * Opportunity to work with sexy hardware in certain hands-on departments
    * Employees in business departments seem to enjoy their jobs
    * $200 bonus for writing articles for the employee blog
    * Yearly credit toward company-branded apparel and accessories
    * Relaxed Internet usage policy; fast connection (it is, after all, a datacenter)
    * Casual dress code for those who care
    * Holiday parties with open bar

    Cons

    * All technical personnel is required to subscribe to an infamous mailing list that receives hundreds of e-mails per day. Most of the traffic is irrelevant to the majority of the audience, with a large chunk of the messages coming from automated monitoring systems that are only of interest to one or two specific departments. Employees are prohibited from filtering or otherwise disregarding any of these alerts, but most people end up setting up filters under the table because—let's face it—it's the only way to get any work done.

    * All software engineers are given a cell phone that they're required to carry 24/7/365. Management usually tells interviewees about this upfront, which is good. What's not good is that people are often told they will only get calls if their own code fails, when in reality, their names may end up (sometimes without warning) on a list of "who to call at 3 AM if X breaks," where X is a random part of the system they may have absolutely nothing to do with.

    * Compensation is below average, and the company maintains a strict no-proactive-increases policy. HR tells employees right during new hire orientation that no raises will be given for tenure, and that increases are based on performance only. Seems fair, right? Well, after working at the company for a while, people usually realize that not even performance increases are given proactively, with many employees completing their yearly reviews with no mention of compensation by their managers—regardless of how highly they may have scored. Even promotions are many times given without salary increases, causing good employees to avoid promotions or return to the job market shortly after accepting one.

    * Micromanagement is prevalent in certain departments, with employees being required to (a) attend daily "stand-up" meetings (which end up becoming 30-minute, sit-down wastes of time), (b) putting together weekly reports, and (c) responding to Lumbergh-like walk-bys by managers who don't attend their own "stand-up" meetings or even read the weekly reports that their employees spend valuable time writing.

    * It's a PHP shop. While I'm not against PHP when used properly and in moderation, the codebase at SoftLayer has outgrown PHP and become very painful to maintain. SoftLayer leverages PHP's worst "features," with extensive use of magic methods and dynamic variables that no IDE is able to analyze. Developers have no choice but to turn off IDE inspections, and show-stopper bugs make it to production because somebody has mistyped the name of a method or variable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    SoftLayer has a great product that is sometimes developed at the expense of employees. My suggestions are to:

    * restrict the alert mailing list to relevant departments only,
    * relax or at least be upfront about the actual on-call policy,
    * improve compensation and be proactive about giving raises when deserved,
    * give at least minimal yearly increases (inflation exists),
    * lose some of the red tape, and
    * do something about the architecture of the system before it becomes unmanageable.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Senior Systems Administrator

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Administrator in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Senior Systems Administrator in Houston, TX

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

    Pros

    - There is no shortage of interesting problems. The issues the customers have are unique, and will definitely keep your plate full.
    - They have their own clothing line.

    Cons

    - The entire company does everything through the internal portal. This means none of it will apply to your future jobs.
    - No raises, and a "no counter" policy. This speaks worlds of what they think of their employees. We aren't worth the extra money, or trying to keep.
    - They put automation so high on the priority list that there are some serious fundamental flaws with the technology that get completely ignored.
    - A lot of Developers and Admins have a serious attitude problem.
    - They have a tattoo artist at company functions. These functions are also quite alcohol heavy. It was not uncommon for them to, encouraging drunk people to get a tattoo. The tattoo was free as long as the softlayer logo is somewhere in it. I find this completely irresponsible and childish.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You may want to look back at what The Planet did correctly. In the five years you didn't own that company, it made quite a bit of progress. During the merger, that was all thrown away. Simply mentioning the name "The Planet" got you nasty looks.

    Treat your employees how you want them to treat your company. If you treat them like they are expendable, they will walk... Especially if they are good at what they do.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Worst Place I Have Ever Worked

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

    I worked at SoftLayer full-time

    Pros

    The company tries to give you unique perks like casual dress code, free food and drinks in the kitchen, brings in lunches, and organize events.
    Health benefits were pretty good.

    Cons

    The company always looked fun, but I don't think the fun culture really translates into the back office. It is different if you are in operations I think.
    Company is transitioning. Upper management used to be very open door, and now a lot of the founders are leaving, which is really changing the company into this rigid, hierarchical culture.
    They expect you to work a ton of overtime, and don't even thank you or anything. No bonuses offered.
    The management really doesn't care about it's employees. They are so closed door and hard to get ahold of that you are lucky if you even get a word in when you pass them on the way to the bathroom.
    This place has the potential to be a good place to work. It's a shame the mid-level and C-level management is really ruining it. And although I think it was moving in the right direction when I left, I don't think it will ever be that great because of the corporate attitude that is taking place instead of a more family environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give credit to your employees where it's due, even a little thank you can go a long way. You should be willing to train and develop your employees, not just let them go at a moments notice. Be available for your staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good for starting out... but that's about it

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Server Build Technician in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Server Build Technician in Dallas, TX

    I worked at SoftLayer

    Pros

    1) good learning environment
    2) training modules to acclimate us to the types of issues we would commonly see
    3) OT was just about always offered if we wanted it

    Cons

    1) pay was incredibly low. I came in with several years of experience, but was treated as if I was brand new, and was consistently called "cocky" for not asking for help for things I knew how to do.
    2) male dominated culture, with no reason to change it in the datacenters. Females are treated weird... sometimes in a good way, but mostly in a bad way.
    3) I heard lots of complaints from many different techs that had been promoted, but never received the accompanying pay increases. Job promotions were routinely pushed off until techs were ready to quit over things that had been promised, and never fulfilled.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be honest with the employees. If you promise people a set course for a promotion, don't turn it around and get mad at them for completing their roles, and expecting you to live up to your side of the bargain. Be more understanding that you're starting techs off at a very low pay, and that if you're expecting to keep talent, that talent has to be paid for.

    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    sweatshop

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Dallas, TX

    I have been working at SoftLayer

    Pros

    The web hosting industry is very stable right now. Softlayer struggles to hire people, there is good job security. Free snacks and soda. There is alot of work todo, you will not be bored.

    They pay a premium for php developers (even if you do not have a lot of experience). Negotiate hard going in... as there is no annual pay raise policy.

    Cons

    You are given a phone and expected to be available 24x7. Lots of people talk about having two jobs... office hours and 'outside' office hours. Management threaten to fire employees if things go wrong.... 'put names in a hat and pick one out... that person is going to be fired'.

    There seems to be a two different 'classes' of employees.... if you are in the 'club' you will get stock options and pay raises, very few people are in the club. The company is very top heavy, not much room for promotion.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treating your employees like adults will result in a better working environment. Trust your employees, they are doing a great job given the difficult circumstances.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Don't Work Here

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

    I have been working at SoftLayer

    Pros

    The pay and benefits is above average for anyone wanting to start out in an IT career.

    Cons

    Management has no concept of how to be a good leader. They all have a fly by the seat of the pants approach to running day to day business. Company policy changes on a daily basis. You are "expected" to put SoftLayer above family.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Join the military and learn how to become a good leader.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    A place that has a huge library of IT knowledge.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Private Rack Tech in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Private Rack Tech in Houston, TX

    I worked at SoftLayer

    Pros

    A huge knowledge base and good place to begin gaining experience in the job field.

    Cons

    The pay had to be raised and too many different job functions that can be done by one person.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase pay and give people more responsibility within the company. Keep others busy within the company to prevent slacking.

    Approves of CEO

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