Sun Microsystems Reviews

Updated September 3, 2014
Updated September 3, 2014
1,024 Reviews
4.1
1,024 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Sun Microsystems CEO (Oracle) Lawrence J. Ellison
Lawrence J. Ellison
79 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Flexible working conditions, ability to work from home (in 209 reviews)

  • Great technology, lots of smart people and a good work life balance (in 117 reviews)


Cons
  • Inexperienced senior management after Scott McNealy was no longer at the reins (in 75 reviews)

  • Upper management didn't know how to monetize (in 49 reviews)

More Highlights

160 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Let the inmates run the asylum.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator in Santa Clara, CA
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator in Santa Clara, CA

    I worked at Sun Microsystems

    Pros

    Sun is very good at walking the walk with life balance. Almost to a fault. Good people under the level of Director. The campuses are warm and comfortable and are conducive to building relationships. Sun has/had some great technologies and even greater minds but the devil is in the details and, unfortunately, the details don't often matter at Sun. Compensation is at the higher end, as well it should be.

    Sun was often a very good place to work and, at times, everyone would come together for the greater good of the company. Unfortunately, it just wasn't typical of the overall culture.

    Cons

    Typical large company politics. To progress to management, it is all who you know and how well you kiss up to them. Jonathon just doesn't get it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you survive, turn the company upside down and let the real worker bees run the company. They're the ones who can and will right the ship.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Sun Micro: caveat emptor

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Member of Technical Staff in Broomfield, CO
    Former Employee - Senior Member of Technical Staff in Broomfield, CO

    I worked at Sun Microsystems

    Pros

    If you're in the right division/department, you can get lots of opportunity for exposure to cool technology. Most of the people who work there are great - very personable, relaxed but not slackers. There are some extremely bright people at Sun, and some of them actually know how to communicate their knowledge.

    Cons

    Though marketing itself as a meritocracy, this was not my experience. Though marketing itself as supportive of telecommuting, there was a blatant disregard of this policy at the discretion of VPs and managers - entire divisions were at one point prohibited from WFH - and this is direct contrast to the face put on by Sun to the community. That's called hypocrisy, not walking your talk, you name it. Sun is also a company in decline; the morale there, when I left, was extremely low.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire someone who knows how to run a business. Start walking your talk regarding treatment of your employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Non stop layoff - lousy management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at Sun Microsystems

    Pros

    flex office - available to work from home, nice campus,

    Cons

    non-stop layoff... it seems like it happens every quarter. Management doesn't listen or care. Long work hour since you work from home.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Bring back Scott McNeally

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review
  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Sadly watching the Sun set

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Program Manager in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Sun Microsystems

    Pros

    Very bright people, who mostly want to do the right thing. Excellent compensation and benefits. A VERY ethical company. Lots of exciting technology and innovations. Terrific work/life balance - most people work from home. Many managers who truly care about their employees and want to help them succeed.

    This is a company which many people would like to see succeed, so there is lots of support from the community. Many of the ideas being espoused by management are probably going to be industry-leading some day, but unlikely that this will be due to Sun's ability to execute well. A good place to get lots of forward-thinking ideas.

    Cons

    Managment by re-org and RIF. Rather than try to figure out who or what is failing, they continually re-organize thinking there is a magic formula they can discover which will make it all work. Pitiful!

    There is apparently no accountability, and little organizational memory because of the constant change. I have heard of several people who have been laid-off and rehired 3-4 times. This should indicate that there is something seriously wrong with the RIF process, and either HR or the managers doing these RIFs should be held accountable (read: fired!)

    When someone is RIFed, they tell them that they were valued employees but they treat them like potential criminals - take away all access on same day, so there is no ability to transition work to others.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Freeze the organization for 3 years - force the managers to either make it work, or find managers who can. Reorganizing just masks the incompetents by giving them new responsibilities and built-in excuses why they cannot execute.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    A shadow of its former self.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Product Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Product Manager in Menlo Park, CA

    I worked at Sun Microsystems

    Pros

    Name recognition of a former tech champion. Access to early Java Technology. The size of the company makes it a good place for career advance.

    Flexibility to work from home.

    Cons

    Sun Microsystems is facing two main problems: (1) Incompetent management and (2) poor products.

    A lot of poor products have come from misguided acquisitions, others, simply from top-management's inability to focus on the big picture. Their myopia causes the company to focus on headcount/salary level as the most meaningful indicator of credibility in meetings. I remember sitting in hour-long meetings, where most of the time/energy was spent deciding whether to comply with requests from other departments/divisions based on their perceived clout with upper management (measured by their headcount/perceived salary level of the asking party). A company where internal politics are more important than quality considerations becomes a horrible place to work after a few months.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Resign "en masse". Lay yourselves off and allow the company to find new executive direction and rise from the ashes.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Layoffs killing the company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Marketing Program Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Marketing Program Manager in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at Sun Microsystems

    Pros

    Still a great group of people to work with

    Cons

    Constantly waiting for the next layoff and lack of information about them once they are announced.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Last November it was announced that there would be 6000 layoffs yet we are, in the main, still waiting. Nobody tells us what's happening - each time there is a layoff you say the last one wasn't handled very well and we'll do better this time. Guess what, your doing even worse. Not knowing how long you've got a job is no way to run a business.
    Flatten out the management structure - is there really a need for Vice Presidents, Senior VPs and Executive VP's???? talk about top heavy management structure

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Jonathan Schwartz has been replaced by former CEO Scott McNealy

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at Sun Microsystems

    Pros

    decent salaries, used to be a fun place to work but the latest cuts put too much strain on all employees.

    Cons

    overworked, under appreciated, not much room for advancement because upper management does not make middle management develop their employees. Long term management continues to make bad decisions with lack of intervention.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take a long hard look at the middle managers you have making the decisions that impact your company! Until Sun takes the RIF process seriously, bad decisions will continue to manifest itself. How about putting the managers that are 1 level down in the role of their current manager or director and downgrade the salaries. This will not adversely affect the business much to your surprise. The "new blood" may actually spawn new ideas and revive the sinking company

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Sun: A Formerly Great Company. Now, Not So Much.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Menlo Park, CA

    I worked at Sun Microsystems

    Pros

    Pay is equal or better than elsewhere in industry, great benefits (though they slip a little more every year)
    Flexible work environment, including telecommuting
    Work/life balance is important
    Friendly environment

    Cons

    Never know when you're going to be laid off
    Managers manage from the top down; company vision is just a game of "buzzword bingo"
    Extreme focus on the appearance of caring and competence
    No growth opportunities; random work schedules don't allow for training
    No opportunity for promotion
    Fixation on outsourcing as the salvation of the company -- no in-house support for anything, from HR to office computer maintenance
    Easy to wind up in a dead end
    Lack of project planning means that the engineering staff is always on the verge of burnout, deadlines are only a suggestion
    No rewards or recognition for doing a job well, unless you're well connected with favored managers
    As long as a bad manager has superstars working for him, they'll allow that bad manager free rein to do as much damage as he can

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Quit using layoffs as your only means of cutting costs. Get rid of Jonathan before it's too late. Stop acquiring companies; you never do anything with the technology and you end up killing them anyway -- and laying off the people involved. For the sake of all that's holy, sell MySQL before you ruin it, too.

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

    Evaluate Sun carefully before deciding to accept a job offer here.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Recruiter in Santa Clara, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Recruiter in Santa Clara, CA

    I have been working at Sun Microsystems

    Pros

    Sun has a culture which supports work/life balance, and Sun truly does try to stand behind their employees and allow them the opportunity to work virtually or in the office, whichever is the best fit for the employee. This is a strong benefit, as it allows Sun to attract and retain talented individuals they otherwise may have lost to competitors.

    Cons

    Sun is a trusting and friendly culture, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, sometimes that trust can be abused by less than honest people who misrepresent themselves during the interview process, and then come on board as an employee and do nothing but support their own interests, often at large cost to Sun. I have seen many hires, sadly in HR that could be classified by any standard as a "poor hire", meaning that the hire is doing more damage than good to Sun. Because of Sun's trusting culture, these bad hires seem to multiply and it is not hard to imagine that part of Sun's current business struggles are in part because of poor hires and the subsequent retention of these hires due to lack of management backbone.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look at your direct reports - are they doing what they need to do to support you? Or are they running their own agendas? Will their actions ultimately cost you - both financially and careerwise?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Employees are expected to work long hours and there is a strong team environment in place.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Engineer in Los Angeles, CA

    I worked at Sun Microsystems

    Pros

    un is known to be a fun yet demanding place to work. Employees are expected to work long hours and there is a strong team environment in place. The company is also known to be very conscientious. Giving back to the community, conserving resources, and social responsibility are

    Cons

    Job opportunities at Sun Microsystems exist for all types of techies. Application Developers and Hardware Engineers are always in demand. There are wonderful opportunities for interns and all levels of IT Consultants.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    un is known to be a fun yet demanding place to work. Employees are expected to work long hours and there is a strong team environment in place. The company is also known to be very conscientious. Giving back to the community, conserving resources, and social responsibility are

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

Work at Sun Microsystems? Share Your Experiences

Sun Microsystems

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.