Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

www.gatesfoundation.org
There are newer employer reviews for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

6 people found this helpful  

good foundation, great mission, questionable internal politics

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - IT Engineer in Seattle, WA
Former Employee - IT Engineer in Seattle, WA

I worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (more than an year)

Pros

Great mission, loved the fact that you felt your work everyday impacted others who are less fortunate. The benefits, even as a contractor are great, snacks / drinks on site, wonderful location, right next to the space needle. Great compensation for my position, I have heard this is similar throughout the organization, at lots of levels. On-site cafeteria is amazing, probably on par with Microsoft campus, if not better.

Cons

Bizarre internal politics, team A will let team B fail just so they can claim 'they told you so', things I've never seen in corporate america or anywhere really. A lot of times as a contractor you will be dangled a carrot (of a full time position) that will never materialize (minor critique).

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Get rid of the 'old boys club' mentality, focus on the people and the mission, not keeping your buddies protected. Overall, I think these are minor issues to contend with and nothing that won't be worked out over time. I think the vast majority of people at the foundation are bright and talented and contribute to the overall focus moving forward.

Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

117 Other Employee Reviews for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (View Most Recent)

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  1. 14 people found this helpful  

    You'll be glad your year is up.

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Huge projects with relatively inexhaustible budgets. Unique intersection of academia and commerce. Highly diverse. Lots of smart people. Young people. Excited people. Beautiful building, very comfortable to work in.

    Cons

    The glamour will wear off, make no mistake.

    I worked here for a year in a temp support role. It was possibly the most demoralizing place I've ever worked. Highly dysfunctional management only gives voice to the most aggressive stakeholders. An environment that practically encourages backbiting and extreme competitiveness. Very little respect for support staff whom they churn and burn, and shed no tears in the act. Most support staff have BA/BS. Many have MA/MS degrees. These are not slackers who took an easy path in life. But they are treated like they are subhuman. Physically segregated from the teams they support. Planted out in the open, clustered around library study carrels with no privacy or ability to close off and do some work. You hear everyone eat, chew, talk on their phone, stifle their coughs. It's awful.

    Working with program staff is much like working with a petulant, genius child. One who hasn't had the life experience to understand how unreasonably they are behaving. But never gets told no by management. Very chilly people who are hard to make inroads with. You will definitely be sized you up to see if you are worth their career. Just an uncomfortable mix of people, and it didn't get better after a year.

    Organizationally a mess. Constant turn over in staff. In one year I saw 5 program officers leave in rapid succession. Don't even ask about the support staff. They are like throwaway people to this place. The foundation skirts ethical limits by using temps, but only for one year to avoid breaking state law. The nature of these "temporary positions" is in no way temporary. You're doing core work. Getting yelled at. Being held responsible for millions of dollars. Tackling an intractable bureaucracy. These jobs don't go away after a season, or because someone vacates them. They are refreshed every 12 months with a new soul who just wants a job and thinks it would be pretty cool to work at the Gates Foundation. Run as fast as you can.

    There are nonstop refreshes, updates, renaming, change for change's sake. A stated goal to "reduce complexity" somehow manifests into more and more databases and steps and processes for doing very simple tasks. Investment Workflow is a nightmare. Gateway is a nightmare. If you don't get it, then the problem is you. Not the over-engineered process pulling from four databases that requires multiple teams to keep running and updating and refreshing and starting from scratch in 6 months. Your brain will be sore after 2 months.

    If you take an assignment here, you will no doubt

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Maybe rethink the whole philanthropy thing. And the management thing. And the "contingent" staff thing. And the awful culture thing.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Very inspiring mission!

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

    I have been working at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Smart, passionate co-workers who strive to be a part of changing the world for the better.
    Challenging work, but the outcomes for people in need are very rewarding.
    CEO has reshaped the organization to significantly improve the culture.

    Cons

    Co-chairs can create an environment with "fear of judgment", limiting the dialogue necessary for risk-taking.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The trend line on improving the culture is positive -- accelerate the momentum.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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