Austin Energy Reviews

Updated August 10, 2014
Updated August 10, 2014
23 Reviews

2.7
23 Reviews
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Larry Weis
6 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Interesting experience with the pros and cons of working for a municipal utility.

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

    I worked at Austin Energy for more than a year

    Pros

    Interesting group of people. Some were very talented, energetic and inspiring. The benefits overall were good, plus you were technically an employee of the city. There is job security plus programs set in place for employee health and wellness.

    Cons

    The cons sadly are that this company maintains the employment of some really lazy employees. Those who are unable to perform up to par are not fired. This makes the job more difficult and frustrating for those who come to work and actually DO work. Those middle/upper management, who were incompetent or unable to "play well with others" are transferred out to monitor the process of other work groups, rather than being let go. To justify their incompetent presence, these "employees" would then cause "speed bumps" for the new work groups to resolve. What a vicious cycle! Inefficiency at its best. As with any workplace politics is big. I also found that some employees had a feeling of entitlement and forget that it is part of their role to serve the people of the city.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1) Let go of the people who are unproductive. 2) Being an employee of the city means you SERVE the city. Some employees have forgotten this. Remind them.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    HR postings on Glassdoor are entertaining, but don’t be fooled

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

    I worked at Austin Energy full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    A paycheck and if you like this sort of thing, no expectations for deliverables; lip service will do. Lots of time to job search and interview.

    Cons

    Deceptive interview, the people were on point and I was excited about starting. At the close of my first day I realized that this was the biggest career mistake I’d ever made; ever. I started the job search and quit within two months.

    There are two IT managers that have absolute disdain for the CIO, perhaps this is because he has expectations and they’re not used to delivering. But all you'll hear from day one is how terrible he is, perhaps you’ll get the infamous story about him not wanting people to bring drinks to meetings. Seriously, these are the complaints, deliverables and no drinks in meetings. When I was told about new activities coming down the pike I was excited at being able to do something only to be told to ‘ignore Alan, we just appease him, he’ll be gone soon.’

    Not to worry, they also complain and talk terribly about their counterparts, their immediate managers and your co-workers and all by the end of your first week. My manager said the most unprofessional things about her team, behind closed doors of course. She told me about all of their flaws, their lack of work, etc. then would open another book and surf the net. It's okay, her team took the time to catch me up on her and others in the group as well. That was the end of my first week, I knew that none of them respected each other and all smiled at each other and pretended to like each other; such a social group of people talking smack; ugh, 4th grade all over.

    The manager I reported to was running her team by reading from books and internet site information, there was no practical experience. After I was hired, there was no interest in the experience I brought, only what the books said. The team appeared content with the lack of deliverables, though "there was a lot to do." There is a spreadsheet of nothings that they measure their work load by. As a new employee I was able to add twenty items of nothings to the worksheet (required that I add every little thing a normal person does in a work day). The praise received for everything I was doing solidified my decision to leave.

    My manager couldn't understand why the department wasn't gaining credibility. Well, when you read from a book or a website about how IT processes are implemented and assume that one size fits all, you're going to fail and never be invited to participate. Saying this in more polite ways was not appreciated; candor, no matter how polite is a bad thing here.

    The only IT managers that seemed to have a clue was the IT Engineering and Service Desk managers, the others were really lacking. The IT PMO is a hot mess with a lot of head count, so that’s an area to be avoided.

    I met a few people that really wanted to work, accomplish things and work towards the deliverables the CIO laid out, the problem is that nobody is fired and the excess of lazy people doing the least that they can, brings down the entire area. AE’s IT area needs a thorough house cleaning, but with taking years for termination (non-union) or transfers (union), it won’t happen. So unless you need the paycheck, save yourself the aggravation of being sold through the interview process of big things that need to get done, only to find that you’ll get dusty sitting in the chair with nothing to do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Alan/CIO, needs to make a case to board so he can clean house. Until that happens, nothing in IT will change and each division within AE will continue to build their own version of IT, instead of using the central IT area. People need to be fired, it’s that simple.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  3.  

    Excellent work environtment, great opportunity for growth!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Corporate Communications Intern  in  Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Corporate Communications Intern in Austin, TX

    I have been working at Austin Energy as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    No mircomangemnt, total idependence, I can go to anyone in my department for assistance. My supervisor is always willing to help.

    Cons

    The parking garage is kind of scary to park in everyday, but I'll get over it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the great work!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    AE

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Austin Energy

    Pros

    Good benefits plan for retirement.

    Cons

    Don't received recognition for the work you provide.

  6.  

    Great experience and job security, but you gotta play the game!

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

    I worked at Austin Energy full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Learned some very technical and specified skills in the energy efficiency industry. Worked with some very talented and intelligent people. Benefits were great. Job security.

    Cons

    Lots of internal office politics, more so than most places. Have to watch out for gossip, which apparently travels fast and turns into fact very quickly. Not a lot of upward mobility once you are in.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Needs more positive reinforcement in the work environment as well as paths for upward mobility.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  7.  

    Good ole' boys are steering this Titanic

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

    I have been working at Austin Energy full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Unequaled work/life balance to any other company in town. Office workers are 40 hours/wk and managers are 50-55/wk.

    A pension. Where else you gonna get this?

    Good vacation and sick time. Rolls over every year.

    Security. Austin Energy never lays off and almost never fires.

    Stability. This ship's not going down.

    Cons

    There are so many problems.

    Bad executives and bad managers run rampant. You're constantly hiring and promoting people to run this place who are unqualified. Incompetent employees everywhere.

    No reward for recognition, so why do any more than the minimum?

    Opportunities are few and far between. Don't expect to get one. The people who move up do so by pulling favors. Some departments practically refuse to hire from the inside.

    Lots of employees who are stuck. The norm is no career ladder and no internal training/mentoring. Impossible to get your salary up without moving around but again, moving around is nearly impossible also.

    Lots of these non-mobile employees exist. Can you work the same job at almost the same salary for 30 years? Think about what this does to an employee. Think about what this does to a company.

    History of employees working here until retirement and then coming back to work part time. That part time job is practically a given. Thus, the old ways of doing things continue...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This place is a disaster. Could be fantastic. You're a long distance runner with Olympic prospects who continuously jabs your leg with an ice pick. Wish you could get it together.

    Look at the cons above and figure out how to solve them. You're the ones with the power.

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

    Sadness and despair in everyone.

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

    I worked at Austin Energy as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    Austin Energy will put food on your table.

    Cons

    I have never seen such a miserable and unhappy workforce. This could be because of the managment issues that others have posted already. I understand that issues with upper management can really hurt employee moral, and cause unhappiness. Even then, I still do not understand why everyone seemed to suffer so much, almost as if they were in physical pain. I did not find a single person that truly liked or trusted anyone else.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Have mercy and quit.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    IT bureaucratic rules reduced productivity 50%

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

    I worked at Austin Energy for less than a year

    Pros

    Great retirement benefits. High pay for contractors. Friendly and helpful internal staff.

    Cons

    Hard department silos - must file written requests to speak to employees in different silos. Majority of department was new contractors. Did not have business processes well defined - much work was first time for department.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Authorize IT employees to do their jobs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Relax, peaceful and low-working-efficiency internship experience

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

    I have been working at Austin Energy as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    huge amount of free time, lots of good opportunities to take part in activities or seminars hold by different departments

    Cons

    really really low working efficiency

  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Only game in town and they know it

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - IT Drone  in  Austin, TX
    Current Employee - IT Drone in Austin, TX

    I have been working at Austin Energy full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    A very small paycheck

    Termination is near impossible, so you can sit in your chair all day and produce nothing but words.

    The high ratings that HR has posted on Glassdoor about work/life balance is true, because watching the clock and leaving at five is the norm as are very long lunches.

    Perfect place to run out the clock on your career or if retired, but want a few extra bucks without having to produce.

    You get to meet the stereotypical union and government worker. Union is optional, but strongly encouraged. On the flip side, you'll get angry every time you open your Austin Energy bill. You are paying for you to sit and not perform.

    You will get raises no matter what your performance rating is. Lazy people are paid the same and rewarded the same as those that produce, so why produce.

    No internet surfing allowed, so bring your iPad, phone or a book, eight hours here is a long day.

    Cons

    The majority of IT managers work daily to undermine the CIO as wells as their peers and next level managers. It is common place to hear your manager bash their management, but not to worry, they also bash your peers and by extension, you are being bashed to your peers.

    Then you have the ever so over worked PMPs that have on average one project each with a BSA for bringing in vendor apps or upgrades; yep, tough stuff making sure the infrastructure is in place, but overlooking basics like runbooks, alerts, etc. When you need to meet with PMs or BSAs they are, 'busy, very, very busy'.

    Change management here is very easy, all paper based, no online system and very light. Those that hate that process will love this one.

    There is very little skin in the game within IT because most of the people are contractors. Then you have the employees that are not engaged, because they don't have to be. It is made clear that termination is near impossible, especially if you joined the union. So, for the most part, employees are running out the clock. It's actually laughable to hear how stressed they are, two weeks in and you'll find that the stress is simply showing up. Nothing of importance is developed here, you are merely the infrastructure by which external companies install, manage and run their apps.

    This company is a "success" because there is no competition. Automation, Security, etc. is like being in the '90s, the only cutting edge technologies come from vendors. They are such visionaries that they're still on paper and manager signed timesheets and your employment can only happen at the start of a pay-period because of their payroll system; that should have been the red flag.

    There seems to be very little appetite to hold vendor’s feet to the fire when there’s been a failure. I’m accustomed to the incident or problem managers taking this over, but it seems to be non-existent here which can be a good or bad thing depending on your style. Personally, I’d rather not have repeat issues if it can permanently fixed. You hear about ITIL/ITSM, but you don't see it.

    Make no mistake, there are some good people here, but they've stayed to long in hopes of change and now they're at that point where too much time has been put in, they'll lose the time/pension, etc. I get it, which is why I started my job search after my first month. The interview process was so full of promise, so much conversation and very engaging, they know all of the right words to say, but when you start you find out immediately that it was a lie. Again, theory.

    Any IT professional worth their salt will avoid AE at all costs or use it as a temp check until a real job opens up in a real IT shop. This place is not innovative, productive and the only accomplishments are;
    • Managers who produce reams of useless word docs that have no meat and are never used
    • Managers who put down their team members to other team members
    • Managers who sit a spew theory, but when challenged on production, seek to undermine
    • Peers who advise you to do nothing, "because we make the money for the city so they leave us alone." (this is said by almost everyone and openly in the halls.)

    Preparing to leave here is thrilling. It's important to note though that having this position on my resume created hurdles when dealing with private companies, so be prepared for that. I finally removed it from my resume and the calls started.

    Now for the much reviled CIO who you will hear about from the day you start. Basically he is evil because he is making changes the only way he can, through reorgs, because, again, you cannot terminate for failure to perform. In return you have long term bench sitters who are angry and digging in their heels to prevent any effort that might result in them having to produce. It's a shame that his talents are lost on the truly lazy and poisonous management team that smiles and nods in his meetings, then informs the teams to "ignore him, he'll be gone soon enough".

    Take any position, but this one; you won't be sorry that you passed this up.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    To the CIO, keep up the reorganizations, it's making your management team nuts and the people they are protecting nervous. I vote that you really shake things up and move every direct report you have with the exception of two, those two men get it. Start taking a real hard look at what your management team says they are delivering, don't be fooled by all of the worthless paper and gantt charts. Having met you and talked with you, I know you know this, but It's here not only for you, but for potential new hires. Until the old guard is gone, the union and HR will never be able to understand the high turnover.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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