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Great place to call home!

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

I worked at AOL full-time for more than 3 years

Pros

Good people, bright and enthusiastic, good management, great financial/benefit packages, nice corporate culture for employees, opportunity to move up within the company

Cons

Not a good home for people who cannot adjust to corporate requirements as an advantage

Recommends
Approves of CEO

Other Reviews for AOL

  1. 8 people found this helpful  

    Don't think about going to AOL. It survives by layoffs, and top management is clueless

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

    I have been working at AOL full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The coffee is good, and we just got free Patagoia vests with an AOL logo on them. The food in the cafeteria is so-so, and we get corporate bling.

    Cons

    Where to begin?

    First, don't plan on a long tenure. The company is surviving by decreasing labor costs, which translates into layoffs once a quarter. It doesn't matter what your performance rating was, or what your skill set it. Layoffs are just a matter of life as an AOL employee.

    Second, expect no coherent direction. Senior management changes directions quite frequently, so you may find yourself working on a high priority one day only to find (usually through the grapevine) that your project isn't very important at all. Priorities change so frequently that it's difficult to keep track, and despite Tim's claims to the contrary, senior management doesn't bother to communicate.

    Third, don't expect career advancement. While friends of the senior management team tend to advance rapidly, others do not. In my 10+ years at AOL I saw only 3 people get promoted.

    Fourth, don't expect great raises. While Tim and his team bring home huge salaries, the staff receive paltry 1-2% raises. The idea of "share the wealth" does not exist at AOL.

    Fifth, do not expect brilliance at senior levels. While I found that the skills at the worker levels were extremely high -- there are some truly brilliant people working at AOL -- the same is not true of senior managers. Moreover, they tend to avoid trying to understand complex issues, preferring instead to reduce matters to simple PowerPoint decks. Senior managers are prone to rather stupid comments (remember Tim's "distressed babies") in staff meetings. The quarterly all-hands meetings were touted as a mechanism to make sure that everyone understood how the company was doing and that we were all focused on the right priorities, but instead were nothing more than rah-rah pep rallies to let the VPs talk about how great they were doing.

    Sixth, do not expect communications. While the team management team tries to convey goals and priorities to the staff, divisional and sub-divisional managers rarely provide any clues as to what is important, which projects we should be heading in what direction, or even how we're doing. It's a classic case of the staff working in a vacuum.

    Seventh, do not expect brilliance and innovation. The staff frequently comes up with ideas that rival some of the best on the net, but the product management team is intent on keeping their "not invented here" mentality. While we're encouraged to think outside the box, in reality new ideas are discouraged, to the point where money-making products are being shut down.

    Eighth, do not expect what you work on to ever go live. The halls of AOL are littered with products that were conceived, approved, developed, tested, and then killed without ever being released. Many of these products pre-dated competing products on the net, and some of those became quite successful. Staff layoffs and changing management priorities are killing innovation.

    Ninth, expect that mail is the sole and dominant priority. It is true that the majority of AOL visitors come from mail, but the emphasis on mail by senior management is preventing development of new products. They have not realized that mail has become a commodity on the net.

    Tenth, expect long hours and a high stress environment. While most managers tend to be flexible for work / life issues, the constant changing priorities, long hours expected, and constant layoffs combine to create a work environment that is anything but collaborative or productive. On any given day you may come into work to find that your project is dead and you are out of a job.

    There are more cautions to provide, but by now I hope the reader has an idea. Avoid AOL at all costs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Senior management is overpaid and clueless. Advice to the board: replace senior management. Advice to management: pick a priority and stick with it. Stop the constant layoffs and give the staff some security. Stop walking away from deals that leave money on the table. Develop a way to encourage innovation, and staff with product managers and divisional managers who are not locked into the status quo.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Customer Service at AOL

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Consultant  in  Jacksonville, FL
    Former Employee - Consultant in Jacksonville, FL

    I worked at AOL full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Great Trainings and Compensation levels

    Cons

    Continuous negative comments from customers

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give additional 15 minute breaks, the umbilical cord (phone cord) is damning most of the time. Listen to your consultants, they know when they need breaks.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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