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Helpful (2)

Echoes of the Past

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

I worked at AOL full-time (More than 5 years)

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO
Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO

Pros

Still plenty of smart people working there. Experience with Industry standard, open and proprietary software and hardware platforms in a large environment. Pay was always above average although rarely excellent. AOL has gone through a lot of changes, which I allude to in the "Con" section, but it also still had some possibilities left open when I left. Although contracting from it's greatest size down to a smaller and spun-off successor organization, leaving Time Warner behind can only be considered a plus at this point. There are definitely places that AOL is working to grow in, and honestly, if they make good decisions, like avoiding debacles like Bebo, they can still pull something off. While I would never suggest someone who has never worked there apply for work there, I know enough people, and have enough experience there, that I might consider a position there again... assuming they can pull it together and get back some energy like they used to have.

Cons

AOL was clearly a company consumed by terrible past business decisions, and so it's outlook was always going to be rocky. Starting at a time where the millionaires of the IPO and Time Warner merger were not just old stories, it's clear that the AOL I worked for was still a leader, but in it's current incarnation, well past it's prime. While I was never personally affected by layoffs, there was the constant threat of it hanging over the heads of everyone at the end of the year. Many good people were let go in masses at those times. Note, I have not been at AOL for a while, and when I left, even the headquarters campus was being leased off from the original seven, crowded buildings when I started, down to just three, and the actual HQ for the company had moved to NYC, far from it's technical roots. Unless you know that you are going to work on something extraordinary there, it's just a job, and it may well be a depressing one at that, considering that if you walk the corridors at CC2/CC1/HQ, you can tell that it used to be something special almost on the order of excitement of working at Google might be today.

Advice to Management

In AOL's current incarnation, I have little advice to offer management, as it has been years since I've been there. All I can say is that AOL needs to find a place in something new. Throw off the old big corporation mindset, and you've got a chance, otherwise, your days of being a leader are over permanently. Tim Armstrong was a new CEO at the time I left, and at that time, he was trying to turn things around. My impressions at the time of him were a little positive, but not particularly well formed. Past management, however, was ridiculously bad, particularly at the top. A smaller company would have been years dead with those guys in charge if AOL hadn't managed to get so big before they got their hands on the company.

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  1. Big Improvement

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Dulles, VA
    Current Employee - Director in Dulles, VA

    I have been working at AOL full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Culture has definitely improved - I've seen a positive change in how teams are collaborating Getting hired here has gotten harder - which was much needed. Starting to see much better talent coming in, which is pushing folks who have been here awhile to step up their game or leave. The business is stronger than it has been in years. Great work/life flexibility and strong support for philanthropy and volunteerism.

    Cons

    Some employees don't handle the constant changes and shifts well. You have to be extremely adaptable to be happy here. We need to do better job at managing low performers out faster.

    Advice to Management

    Get better at assessing exec talent coming in - especially culturally - you've made some mistakes. Stop worrying about 'selling' the job to someone and focus on whether that person can inspire positive change in the ranks.


  2. Bad time for the company.

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

    I have been working at AOL full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Free beer and lots of parties.

    Cons

    Constant layoffs and restructuring. Creating chaos when there is none. No vision.

    Advice to Management

    In fairness, I was there at a rough time of transition. Most of the management at AOL Advertising has gone. My advice: Put strategic thinkers in management positions. Spend less money on parties and more in budgets. If you need to have layoffs, do them all at once. Multiple rounds of layoffs throughout the year leave people scared for their jobs, often doing what makes them look good rather than what is best for the company.


There are newer employer reviews for AOL
There are newer employer reviews for AOL

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