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Great work life balance, not much learning opportunity.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Palo Alto, CA
Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Palo Alto, CA

I have been working at Space Systems/Loral full-time (more than 3 years)

Pros

Great work life balance. Decent compensation, flexible hours and good benefits

Cons

outdated technology, and not much learning opportunities. If you are a fresh grad, be very careful of getting stuck.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

not bad at all

Recommends
Negative Outlook
Approves of CEO

123 Other Employee Reviews for Space Systems/Loral (View Most Recent)

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  1. 4 people found this helpful  

    Disappointing Company That Treats Its Employees Poorly

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineer in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Engineer in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at Space Systems/Loral full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    *You learn some interesting things about satellite hardware and the nuances of the commercial satellite industry.

    *Additionally, you get to work with some smart senior engineers who can be very helpful on engineering projects (although they are few and far between).

    *You get the chance to work on hardware that goes into space, which is always cool.

    *There are decent compensation, benefits and 401k matching.

    *There are also some bonuses given out to employees as an added incentive for working hard.

    *Furthermore, there is a tuition assistance program for those employees that want to take classes while working.

    Cons

    *Unfortunately, Loral is full of bad managers who make the working experience so much worse than it needs to be.

    *Be prepared to deal with a lot of micromanagement and control freaks who may try to dominate your work life.

    *There is no flexibility in work hours; managers monitor and scrutinize employees excessively to make sure they come in right on time and leave right on time, and not a minute earlier (otherwise they will be quick to discipline you with HR). It is definitely a very intimidating, "Big Brother is watching you" type of management.

    *Some managers also engage in workplace bullying and harassment, and the company does virtually nothing to rein in these bad managers, resulting in higher turnover.

    *There is definitely a "sweatshop" mentality at this company; employees are often treated without any dignity or respect, as if they are robots that can just work endless hours per day without any life. Managers certainly take advantage of bad economic times to treat employees even worse, knowing that they are probably stuck at this company when the job market is depressed.

    *Moreover, the work environment is extremely political, especially if you have a bad manager (which is very likely) or when working with different groups around the company.

    *Additionally, managers can tend to be extremely dishonest, especially during the interview process. I have seen engineers being hired for "design positions" when in fact, they got sucked into a production/manufacturing support job doing extremely boring, menial tasks.

    *The above point is extremely important if you want to apply for a job at this company. Please do your thorough research beforehand and call management's bluff! I have seen several employees suffer after joining this company because they were tricked into being hired as cheap grunt workers under the guise of a "design engineer" position. They were miserable, basically working as paper-pushers and doing pathetic tasks like data review and production support.

    *Also, if you are a recent hire at Loral or if you are interested in applying here, be very careful of the issues that you bring up to management. The management simply DOES NOT like complainers at all. They just expect you to act like "slaves" and to "do as you're told." If you have a complaint, for example, about not enough software licenses, management may just vaguely tell you to work around this issue. In this case, however, "work around this issue" means staring at your computer screen for hours until a software license frees up, because the company doesn't have the money to purchase enough software licenses to accommodate all its engineers. (This software issue is a serious problem, particularly for important software used by electrical engineers). If you complain about relevant issues to management, it doesn't matter how valid your complaints are. Management will most likely label you as a troublemaker and it may eventually lead to your downfall. So just be very, very wary of what you bring up to management.

    *This company does not like change at all; again, they just expect their employees to "sit tight" and "do as you're told." I have frequently noticed that the longest-tenured engineers at Loral are the ones who behave exactly like this; passive employees with very little motivation to do anything great in life, who just "sit tight" and "do as they're told" for years so that they can support their families and pay their mortgages. Most of the young engineers in my group, who actually wanted something more fulfilling out of their jobs, either resigned within a very short period of time (around two years or less) or went to a different group within the company. My group simply didn't have a good track record for retaining its bright young engineers, and it's not surprising why. It's just not the best place for a young, innovative-minded engineer to work at.

    *Managers also continually try to brainwash employees, such as by telling them that Loral's hardware is the best in the world (when in reality much of it is decades old and obsolete). Considering that much of the engineering talent at this company is nothing to write home about, I'm not surprised that some employees actually believe the misleading information often given out by managers.

    *If you are an engineer and truly want to work in the engineering field that you studied, you will find it difficult to do that at Loral. There is virtually no design or innovation at this company (unless you are working on antennas, which I have heard is one of the few good groups to work in at Loral). Design and innovation are strongly discouraged because the company wants to use the low-risk, low-reward approach of recycling old hardware. The primary function of your job, no matter the type of engineer you are, will most likely revolve around supporting production/manufacturing. The company is too cheap to hire dedicated production/manufacturing engineers, so basically the mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, etc. are all forced to do this type of work unrelated to their degree.

    *Furthermore, the growth opportunities are very limited at this company. There are extremely few opportunities to advance to a higher position. Annual raises are terrible, and you may be stuck in the same salary grade and position for years.

    *There is also very little support and training for employees; managers just tend to "throw you into the fire" and you have to figure everything out on your own.

    *Additionally, the company is very "old school" and the work environment feels like it's stuck 50 years in the past.

    *Much of the company is disorganized and shabby; it appears very little money is spent on improving company infrastructure. Specifically, it is appalling that much of the important test data for satellite hardware is stored as hard copies in binders, rather than as a soft copy accessible through a computer. Sometimes it seems like Loral isn't aware that we are now in the 21st century.

    *No Wi-Fi on campus for a company that builds a multitude of satellites, which is quite strange.

    *On a side note, you can really tell how much a company cares about its employees when the water coming out of its water fountains is yellow. Yuck.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Space Systems/Loral has the potential to be a good, innovative technical company, but unfortunately much of the management is just incompetent. You will help your company greatly by replacing some of the bad managers with ones who have more business savvy and who are better at dealing with people.

    Some of these managers end up using company resources to drive their own selfish agendas, which is most certainly a waste of the company's time and money. Ultimately, the employees will drive the company. When employees are happy and don't have to deal with micromanagement, productivity and morale greatly improves.

    Also, it would be nice to get some recognition from senior management for working hard. I've noticed disgruntled people working loads of overtime (including myself) and not even receiving as much as a pat on the back, only the expectation to work more overtime.

    Management is also quick to overreact and discipline an employee if the employee is perceived to be "under-performing," even though the real issue is that there was not enough work to do and the employee wasn't assigned enough projects in the first place. This lack of work is a chronic problem at this company. Many employees waste loads of time browsing the web or taking long breaks because they simply have nothing to do much of the time. The work is just not that interesting or challenging at all. The problem is compounded by the fact that there are lengthy periods of time during which Loral really struggles to win satellite contracts. It would be great if you could make sure an employee has enough work to do in the first place before disciplining him or her for so-called "performance" issues. It seems like the management here enjoys using discipline and punishment on its employees, even for relatively trivial issues. Don't punish your employees for working more efficiently than others. If your company is not generating business, then that's YOUR problem. Don't go on crazy hiring sprees then. If there's no business, just lay people off. Don't anger your employees by putting them on some insulting "performance improvement plan." There are much better, more positive and motivating techniques out there to encourage employees to work harder. The fact that it would get to that point in the first place reflects very poorly on management. Also, don't be so wildly inconsistent in your punishment and scrutiny of employees. Plenty of people get away with much more than you may think. It is absurd and knuckle-headed to discipline someone for occasional tardiness when others don't even show up to work more than half of the time.

    In fact, some managers are so bad that they punish their subordinates for minor "performance" issues yet they themselves break the rules during business hours. I've seen a hypocritical manager himself waste endless hours of time browsing stocks on the web and even leaving campus to play badminton during business hours. I was quite disgusted to notice this hypocritical behavior on multiple occasions. Do yourself a favor and get rid of these useless figureheads. There's no point in employing a supervisor that can't even serve as a good role model for his or her own employees.

    Additionally, management should be a bit more honest during the interview process. Don't hire someone for a "design position" when you don't even do any design at this company. Unless you want to hire a one-year rental, be up front and honest about the amount of production/manufacturing grunt work that an employee is expected to do. Because it will be significant.

    Moreover, unless you want your company to become obsolete in the near future, it would be beneficial to support more innovative design projects, so that old hardware can be improved upon. This will also give employees some variety in their work, rather than just doing menial, maintenance tasks all the time. Eventually, if you continue down this path of least resistance, I believe other organizations will be able to build better satellite hardware (if not already) that is more modern and doesn't rely on technology that's 20 years old. Be more receptive to the innovative ideas that some of your engineers propose, instead of just shooting them down and telling them to do it in their "spare time." The paranoia over flight qualification here is ridiculous. You may think that continuing to churn out the same hardware in slightly different configurations is the "less" risky approach. However, in the long run, it will be more risky for you to not innovate.

    Spending some money to improve the resources and infrastructure of the company would also reduce unnecessary hassles and make it a more enjoyable place for everyone to work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Great People, Management is Sink or Swim

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Satelliet Simulation Engineer in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Satelliet Simulation Engineer in Palo Alto, CA

    I have been working at Space Systems/Loral full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    There was lots of interesting work to do and lots of people with corporate knowledge. There were possibilities for travel to various locations in support of satellite activities.

    Cons

    Management was Sink or Swim once you come on. A lot of the people were too busy to help even thou you were trying to get stuff done for them.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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