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Helpful (1)

A great environment to be in, but not the most exciting work.

  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
Former Intern - Intern
Former Intern - Intern

I worked at MITRE as an intern

Recommends
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO
Recommends
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO

Pros

Intelligent, helpful, and understanding coworkers
Many other interns

Cons

The work given to many (but not all) interns was not particularly challenging/interesting. In many cases, it doesn't feel like you're making a significant contribution.

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  1. Helpful (18)

    MITRE: Where careers go to die

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior MultiDisciplinary Systems Engineer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior MultiDisciplinary Systems Engineer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    401K matching, free parking, onsite gym

    Cons

    - Management is deplorable
    - Promotions are almost non-existent
    - Salaries are lower than competition
    - Few opportunities for advancement

    Advice to Management

    Put your Department Heads, Resource, and Portfolio managers through mandatory 360 reviews and act on the results (i.e. fire bad managers).

    Quit recycling crummy people into "alternative" positions. If people aren't delivering -- fire them.


  2. Helpful (21)

    Hard Times at the Lazy M Ranch

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

    I worked at MITRE (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Certainly there are (very) smart individuals interspersed throughout the employee population. Several governmental programs (typically DC- or site-local) are quite relevant, challenging, and central to the public interest.

    Benefits, retirement-matching, and vacation packages, though recently reduced, are still generous relative to industry. Work-life balance differs from job to job, but seems to be 'good' across the board, often to the point of 'cushy' or 'overly lax.' MITRE's anomalous retention (15-to-35 yrs) and attrition (frequently 2%, and never higher than ~6%) could be seen as either pros or cons, but generally seem 'beneficial' in that, once in, employees want to stay. Working mothers are gently (cushily) treated by the corporation, as are the aging and infirm.

    Cons

    Years and years ago -- nearly back to its inception -- MITRE (re)defined its FFRDC role so as to focus on "attaboys" (customer approval, published praise), rather than traditional profit/loss or similar competitive measure(s).

    While clever (in that it dodges traditional metrics and accountability), this 'flavor' has leeched into all nooks and crannies of corporate culture, such that most internal decisions (personnel management, promotion of staff, research-program grants, valuations of individual work-programs/departments, yearly performance reviews) are subjective nearly to the point of lacking substance. The resultant office 'vibe' is very feudal (individual fiefdoms and turf-wars competing for (relatively) small stakes), and academic-graybeard (employees stay for life, and have motivations/priorities unlike that of outside industry, and move/act sloooowly), and somewhat out-of-touch (no, sir, we don't do the actual work, we advise you on _how_ it should be done).

    MITRE's aforementioned focus on the (intangible) "attaboy, you did a good job" has spawned many downstream consequences. Cronyism exists, due to the tenured-professor politicking referenced above, but also because, in many cases, mid/senior leadership can no longer differentiate a "good performer" from an "average [or lackluster] performer," thus those who cling closest to the boss(es) frequently receive the choicest assignments or promotions. Ambitious players are learning that, since no consistent quantitative measure of 'how much improvement' or 'how much technical quality' exists within the organization, it is possible (preferable?) to hop from project to project, dipping one's toe into each work-effort (or, worse, stealing credit) just enough to appear competent and milk customer-satisfaction, before moving on to the next stepping-stone -- in essence, salesmanship and business-development behaviors, emerging within a supposedly-not-profit-driven culture, and being disproportionately rewarded in comparison to 'traditional tech' or 'traditional management.'

    This cultural erosion has not gone unnoticed by outside industry. Cheaper for-profit competitors are beginning to poke at the FFRDC niche, even pointing out areas where the company "is doing [staff augmentation] work it's not supposed to do." Further, a generational void is manifesting within MITRE's ranks... young college/twenty-something hires are "still learning" (picking up early-career skills), while longtime veterans are plodding through the daily routine (and/or "just hoping they can make it another few years"), but the hot-to-advance prime-of-life Generation Xers are exiting in droves, or, tragically, never joining up in the first place. Worst of all, many MITRE-ites find themselves unemployable (due to lack of current skills and/or recent hands-on experience) when returning to the outside job market.

    Advice to Management

    The identity crisis you face is not an enviable one.

    The company must reinvent itself one of two ways (each having drastic cultural consequences), or possibly even split itself along the divide -- a traditional specialist/consulting shop (with all the business-metrics and compete-for-job-seats and demonstrate-your-own-proficiency that follow), OR a less quantitative sit-beside-the-king 'advisory' (staff augmentation) role. Both functions seemingly cannot coexist within the same organization, nor can the same measures/objectives be used. It would be kind(est) to offer existing staff some sort of 'transition plan' or 'grace period,' versus the 2012/2013 find-a-job-or-you're-out shock.

    Also, as a self-defensive reputational measure: get some engineering talent to the top (even if it means temporarily hiring/outsourcing them) to judge 'true effectiveness' and 'true quality,' rather than "survey score(s)," "word of mouth," or "attaboys." I'd be surprised if 25% of your existing department/division leads could perform any sort of rigorous programmatic ranking or valuation beyond "yeah, the customer seems happy, so everything's fine" -- and THIS is the foremost factor causing the erosion/politicking/stagnancy noted above.


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