Centerline Digital

www.centerline.net
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Centerline Digital Reviews

Updated December 9, 2014
Updated December 9, 2014
24 Reviews
2.7
24 Reviews
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Centerline Digital Founder & CEO Charles Long
Charles Long
6 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Choose your path

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

    I have been working at Centerline Digital full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    I’m a firm believer that any situation is what you make of it. And my experience at Centerline was no different. Sure it had its ups and downs but overall I feel very fortunate to have worked in such an incredible space with amazing co-workers and a great boss. There are no limits if you are willing to work hard, be curious, and stay positive. I was able to grow tremendously during my time here- both professionally and personally- and have referred numerous friends into positions at Centerline. If you want a place to clock in and out of everyday but little else, this isn’t for you. If you want a place where you can create your own opportunities and career path, be challenged often, and inspired by those around you (while hopefully also inspiring them)- then you’ve found your home away from home.

    Cons

    Same growing pains as every other workplace with a bunch of twenty/thirty somethings. Also, agency pay is low in general, however if you factor in the numerous perks Centerline provides the overall compensation is quite comparable to elsewhere (extremely generous insurance policy plus HRA, fitness hours and fitness classes, free meals, expensive Christmas gifts, employee referral bonus, etc).

    Recommends
  2. 6 people found this helpful  

    A Depressing Hole of Sameness

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Creative in Raleigh, NC
    Former Employee - Creative in Raleigh, NC

    I worked at Centerline Digital full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Your co-workers: creatives and project management staff alike. Centerline often hires ridiculously talented people. Stay long enough and you will learn - at least on a technical level - some pretty serious stuff. You'll get better at what you do because you'll have a lot of projects to practice on. As a depot for picking up some beginner to intermediate trade craft, you could do much worse.

    Cons

    Nearly everything else, and it starts and ends with management. This is management that policed the internet and demonstrated near panic at any negative online reviews, so much so that they demanded employees post positive reviews to counteract the downward slide. This is management that tracks your movements - and makes you do the same - for time spent in the parking lot or in the john. This is management that has a track record of "all stick, no carrot" when it comes to motivating employees (over time, electronic gifts and booze are poor substitutes for a few, simple attaboys). And it's a management staff that consistently earns the same comments from those fortunate enough to get out intact. In short, Centerline does not value you, only your work. They do not keep you around for your talent, just your loyalty. They do not pay well for the work expected. They, and therefore you, do not have a life outside of work. They do not rule by clearly articulated guidelines. They do not inspire, do not have a viable long-term business strategy, and do not innovate. They do not practice what they preach. They do not have a thick enough skin to hear valid criticism - some that could actually help the company succeed. They do not play well with others. They do not have the perspective to understand that those who start companies are not always the best people to run them. They do not set realistic expectations, do not have a realistic view of their achievements or capabilities, and do not trust their own people.

    Consider: Would any company secure in itself and its future earn these types of comments over and over again? Would Coca-Cola? Would Apple? Would the frozen yogurt place down the street?

    And do you really want to devote your life and talents to a company that does?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your company is not a high school, so please stop treating it like one. And stop treating the world like idiots. To call yourself an agency means you should behave like one and do what real agencies do. Unfortunately, you don't. So I say, embrace what you are -- a production company. Period. You make stuff. Sometimes really good stuff. Let that be enough and leave the grand vision to those companies who are run by grand people - people who hire well, turn the hires loose to be creative, and then reap the rewards of that innovation. Don't be a company who hires great people then immediately hems them in with arcane rules and policies, and then gets bitter when they question why you hired them in the first place.

    You are not the easygoing, free-spirit, fount of creativity you think you are. But for the sake of everyone you hired today, try.

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

    Waste, Fraud and Abuse

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate in Raleigh, NC
    Former Employee - Associate in Raleigh, NC

    I worked at Centerline Digital full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Perhaps the best thing about this organization is the free food, pizza and team-building outings they host. This group also provides new college graduates a chance to beef up their resume. However Centerline runs their office based on the values of deceit, manipulation and control.

    Cons

    The life/work balance expectations are a joke. They seem to think giving people fun (unnecessary) perks makes up for the way they disrespect they provide to their employees. The management is over-bearing which makes the ground-lings fear for their job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great company in a difficult industry

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

    I have been working at Centerline Digital full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Continual improvement at Centerline shows in all aspects of the company. The strive for always improving work creates a culture where anyone can excel and create their own path.

    Cons

    It's a hard industry and we put our customers first, so that can lead to a difficult work-life balance.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Hostile and Overbearing Office Culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Motion Graphics Designer in Raleigh, NC
    Former Employee - Motion Graphics Designer in Raleigh, NC

    I worked at Centerline Digital full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    The perks as everyone has described are just great. Most co-workers are talented and helpful.

    Cons

    I've never felt more uncomfortable in a work environment. If you fall out of favor with the CD or upper management I doubt there is little chance of recovery no matter how hard you work to right the ship. The other creatives seem intimidated to reach out and help new hires. The people in charge are cocky and make up for their shortcomings with general bullying. Intimidation is how things get done around here. I'm not a current employee, but still get stressed out thinking about my time there.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You might be in for a rude awakening if you handle projects for new clients the way you do IBM. Theres a larger design world out there that is competent and actually has respect for where their money comes from. i.e. Maybe involve your end client more in the the creative process and don't try to force finished projects on them with minimum feedback. You may think so, but your CD, accounts team and AD's are not omniscient. Also, your creatives deserve far more respect and shouldn't be pitted against each other as company policy.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    The Steep Price of Those Nice Perks

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

    I worked at Centerline Digital

    Pros

    If you are looking for a company where you can:
    - Gain work experience
    - Work with smart, talented coworkers
    - Enjoy free snacks and beer
    … Then Centerline may be for you.

    If you’re early-on in your career, need some experience, and want to hone your skills, you can do that at Centerline. Working on IBM projects looks good on a resume.

    A high point of working at Centerline is the co-workers, who are very smart and talented. You can learn a lot from them. Other perks include an in-office bar, quarterly outings, pizza Friday, and snacks.

    That’s some pretty good perks, but it all comes at a steep price…

    Cons

    If you DISLIKE:
    - A company that depends solely on one client in order to stay in business
    - The feeling that you could be fired without warning at any time without explanation
    - Vigorously churning out project after project with hardly any variety in style or message
    - Having to look for your next job in 1-2 years
    … Then Centerline is NOT for you.

    A Short Term Job
    You can gain skills and experience working here, but don’t expect to be here more than a couple of years. Out of the nearly 100 employees, only about ten people have been employed more than five years. The vast majority have been there less than two. The reason for this is that it’s hard not to burnout on the work or survive the random firings.

    Firings
    Centerline prides themselves on the fact that they've "never laid anyone off". While that may be the case, the number of random firings is alarmingly high. Management has the firm belief that any employee can be replaced, without warning, no matter how long they have been working there, and will likely not provide a reason for doing so. There is no such thing as job security at Centerline. Don't get comfortable.

    The Work
    The work is very demanding and repetitive, and must be performed at almost breakneck velocity. Don’t expect a variety of projects to work on. Creative work must meet the high, ever-rising quality standards of Centerline while working within the ever-staying-the-same tight budgets of clients – a task that is a great challenge for even the veteran creatives.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The random firings add so much stress to an already stressful job. And to reiterate another review's comment, all the firings make the remaining employees more resentful and less loyal. Give people fair warning that they aren’t performing up to expectations so that they can make improvements. And when you do fire people, be honest when you share the news with other employees. Too many times has management’s explanation not matched what we hear from the actual employee.

    You hire smart, talented people who know how to do their jobs very well and have good ideas. When they have thoughts about how to better handle projects, workflow, operations, etc, listen to their ideas and don’t immediately discount them because it isn’t how you’ve always done things.

    The profit-sharing system appears broken. It seems to have a lot more to do with when the client pays for projects than anything us employees have control over. It didn’t feel as though our overtime work contributed toward it, especially those times when we received 0% for the quarter.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great agency with an unique culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Project Management in Raleigh, NC
    Former Employee - Project Management in Raleigh, NC

    I worked at Centerline Digital full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    First and foremost, I have to call out that my coworkers here were absolutely some of the very best I've ever had. You simply can't beat the personality and talent of many of the people working at Centerline and I'll always be thankful for the great colleagues I was able to work alongside.

    I personally found the rewards to be great for the hard work. The culture is unique and one I think is hard to duplicate. It's a relaxed and fun environment (lots of agency events, ping pong, open bar/happy hours, etc.), but while doing a great amount of work with great clients. I felt respected and heard by management and saw compensation and title increases during my time there. The benefits are outstanding: complete healthcare coverage (domestic partners included), 401k matching, lunchtime workout classes provided and participation encouraged, lots of food (fresh fruit, cereal, milk, coffee, soda, lunch every Friday, etc. etc.), not to mention a great social group to connect with if you desire. Everyone works on Macs and overall has great technology and IT support. The agency business department (HR, business manager, office manager, etc.) is truly outstanding and works hard to ensure all employees have what they need to do their job well. I also found the majority of clients to be fantastic to work with and trust Centerline as a true partner rather than just a digital vendor.

    The work is very fast paced and the volume is high, but that's agency life and it attracts people who do well and thrive in that space. Those who do not enjoy it typically only stay for a few months and move on somewhere else. Other than those quick turnovers, I found the attrition to be very typical of any other agency.

    I feel lucky to have spent time at this agency in my career. It's a place I will always feel connected and watch the great things being done here.

    Cons

    As with most agencies, the work ebbs and flows depending on client needs and launches, which can means several clients with major launches/projects concurrently. This can add up to very busy times where resources are stretched a bit thin. During these times I personally struggled with work/life balance, but it was something that was an open and frequent topic of discussion with my manager and the extra work did not go unnoticed.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 9 people found this helpful  

    The opposite of how it appears

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Video in Raleigh, NC
    Current Employee - Video in Raleigh, NC

    I have been working at Centerline Digital full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Some wonderful and talented people work here, it has the potential to be a fulfilling job but falls short. You can grab a drink from the bar at 4, although there's hardly time. They try hard to make it look like a fun place to be, although the highlight of the week is free pizza on Friday's that is usually eaten quickly and quietly before rushing back to work.

    Cons

    The work here is mind numbing, they will tell you this in the interview, and in the end it's why the turn over is so high. 95% of work is for IBM, 4% Lowes, 1% random (mostly self promotion). Most projects run in series so you may be making the same video/ animation/ music over and over and over again, with the expectation that they will somehow magically be more interesting as you go. Every project has an allowance for hours, you may have 3, 35 hour projects in a week... Why? Because they do anything and everything to please the almighty IBM at the cost of there own employees. If you have a family, don't work here you'll never see them and they don't care if you don't.
    The reason this company exists is to get as much money from IBM as possible, they don't consider any other clients and in the end all it will take to collapse them is IBM backing out or cutting down on the work they give. So, mind numbing work for one client will cause people to get bored and quit, or you'll be fired after 90 days because they don't think you're the right personality fit. You can be replaced, everyone can be replaced at centerline.

  10. 14 people found this helpful  

    A Sharp Lesson in Contrast

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

    I worked at Centerline Digital full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Centerline is a conundrum. It dangles amenities, parties and benefits, but smacks the wrist that reaches for them. It purchases tons of expensive equipment and technology, but refuses to pay a competitive salary. It sings of creative expression, but values calculated efficiency far more. Thus, the pros and cons of Centerline are intertwined. I've categorized them by which way they lean, but they could easily sway from side to side based on personal opinion. One thing to always remember though is: the reward for good work is more work.

    If you love work, then there is no better place to find it. I often found myself during my last few months at Centerline repeating, "Well, I'm not dead," when people asked me how I was doing. I think "not dying" is a pretty big pro when you are expected to work 16 hours a day plus weekends. Pro: Decent Health Insurance

    Often when you are knee-deep in the creative trenches of video production, you don't have time to grab lunch. Also, going out for lunch (or leaving the office for any reason) requires detailed documentation that is reminiscent of elementary school, which is so creepy and big brother-esq that I often didn't want to leave for fear of retribution. Luckily, they provide snacks, soda and alcohol to keep you working. Just don't try to sit in a booth after you've finished your snack, as that is a "pet-peeve" of management.
    Pro: Soda Machine, Free Snacks and Pizza Friday

    When eating your company-provided snacks, the best part of the day is conversing with your peers. The people stuck in Centerline's hungry claws are amazing; easily some of the coolest, most talented people I have ever met. Everyone is personable, nice and well-rounded. Important exception: certain members of account and upper management. While nice enough on the outside, their nougat is rotten, icky stuff (more on this in the Cons section).
    Pro: Great People

    In addition to food, the couple that runs the company likes to shower their employees with gifts and fun outings. This is where I'm most conflicted. In general, i think they are good people who have read Ayn Rand too many times and it's poisoned their brains. The outings are fun and who doesn't like some sweet holiday gifts? But I would gladly trade a new xbox for the reign of terror to end (more of this in the Cons section).
    Pro: Parties, Gifts and Company Outings

    Cons

    When considering working at Centerline, think about how mentally strong you are and how much you care about nice things. If your answer is that your have the mind of a Greek God and that your self-worth is directly linked to your Tory Burch flats, then these cons might not apply to you.

    Happiness at Centerline is deeply entrenched in how much your value system aligns with upper management, and how much they like you. If you're not an intense suck up, then the best you can hope for is to be ignored. If you're ignored, then at least you're not unemployed. Being talented and smart are not enough to succeed.
    Con: Working Hard Does Not Equal Success

    The flip side of this is that if you become a darling of management you are handed the world on a silver platter. You could not be at work for months, come back and be promoted twice in quick succession. This can be good and bad, because on one hand... money, but on the other, everyone resents you.
    Con: Rampant Favoritism

    The Reign of Terror is a real thing and the most important thing to consider before working there. They love scaring employees. Every few months they do a "clean up" where they fire a couple of people in each department that they consider the weakest link. Management will also randomly go over your work with a fine tooth comb and make you completely re-do a project if it doesn't meet their subjective, ever-changing standards. "Centerline Paranoia" is an actual thing. In addition to a case of paranoia, I also developed a panic disorder. Fun!
    Con: Likely Development of Mental Health Issues

    One of the reasons the paranoia sets in is that quite a few people are nasty, rotten people that will smile and nod to your face and then throw you under the bus quicker than you can say, "banana phone." People were often put on probation for using Twitter, checking Facebook, answering the phone wrong, making fun of the music in the bathroom, ect. The most inane, random things could equate in a write-up. Part of the issue is that management will entrap you, asking you if you saw so-and-so doing this? You answer truthfully and suddenly you're named as a witness in their witch hunt.
    Con: The Centerline Inquisition

    A few people really love it at Centerline.
    Con: Stockholm Syndrome

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your most talented employees are often overlooked. Implementing 360 reviews would do a ton of good and show who should be in leadership positions, vs. fast-track promoting people who buddy-up to you. Also, you're far too trigger happy with firing people and all it does is make the remaining employees more resentful and less loyal. 95 percent of the people who work there will leave the second something else is offered to them. Centerline paranoia is real and a huge problem. Fix it.

    Doesn't Recommend
  11. 7 people found this helpful  

    Over-processed; Under-Managed; Inexperienced

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

    I worked at Centerline Digital full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Everyone says the people because it's true. For the most part they're smart, dedicated and talented.
    Beautiful office space
    Bar

    Cons

    Production house, not agency. Creative takes a backseat to a dollar amount on the estimate
    Insincerity at the highest levels - don't expect to be told what you're good at or what you're lacking; but they will compliment your great wardrobe
    Live and die by a project management system that tracks your every move - except for those people who are exempt (not you)
    Don't even think about getting there at 9:03A. 9AM sharp because creative types like to be micro-managed
    If you're not in the "Inner Sanctum", you're being talked about at length. Hope they like you!
    No training
    Will tell you what you want to hear upon interviewing - then spectacularly fail to deliver
    Don't hire men for PM jobs
    Unrealistic expectations for below-average salary

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn to manage PEOPLE; they are not projects in a system
    Be OK firing people rather than asking them "Do you think this is a good fit?" or "You're not happy here."
    Be clear on your expectations
    Acknowledge hard work with a sincere "thank you"
    Get some admins - not more PCs to do your scheduling, travel and grunt work
    Quit talking ABOUT people and start talking TO people
    Show leadership and be clear about your vision for the company to prospective employees as well as current employees
    Stop firing people with agency experience if you want to be an agency
    It's OK for people to disagree because one day you might be wrong

    Neutral Outlook

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