Fermilab

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Fermilab Reviews

Updated February 10, 2015
Updated February 10, 2015
57 Reviews
4.0
57 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Fermilab Laboratory Director Nigel Lockyer
Nigel Lockyer
1 Rating

Review Highlights

Pros
  • I have become very interested and begun reading on my own about particle physics (in 4 reviews)

  • They don't pay very well for scientists but the work environment is very good (in 4 reviews)


Cons
  • Despite being employed by Fermi Research Alliance, the purse strings are held by the US Department of Energy Office of Science (thus DoE (in 2 reviews)

  • Since Fermi falls under the Dept of Energy, their hiring/ staffing needs are very political causing them to suffer a cutback in staffing lately (in 2 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    A great introductory job for students who haven't held a job before.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - QuarkNet in Batavia, IL
    Former Intern - QuarkNet in Batavia, IL

    I worked at Fermilab as an intern

    Pros

    You get early experience working on a very focused project. Instead of taking a menial job during your summer, Fermi gives you the chance to immerse yourself in science while also learning how to act in an office.

    Cons

    The science community can be very closed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue the internship!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Intellectual freedom, opportunities to work on interesting topics, cutting edge of research.

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

    I have been working at Fermilab full-time

    Pros

    Wonderful opportunity to get first hand experience for building up a well-balanced skill set for a researcher.

    Cons

    Extremely few opportunities available for permanent employment. Often it's not about what you know, but who you know ! Surprising .... but it's true even here !

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More un-biased thinking needed in selection of workforce. Less dependence on recommendations and references; test out candidates first hand, as much as possible.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  3.  

    Great

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Intern in Warrenville, IL
    Current Employee - Intern in Warrenville, IL

    I have been working at Fermilab full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Really interesting project working alongside an experienced mentor. I also had the opportunity to see lots of experiments, and had a lot of fun with the other interns who were working there too.

    Cons

    Travel from the UK not paid for, but the salary was good so it was fine in the end, also not much flexibility in terms of arranging an internship, but the dates suited me anyway.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
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  5.  

    Best job ever.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Software Engineer in Batavia, IL
    Former Contractor - Software Engineer in Batavia, IL

    I worked at Fermilab as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    You get to work with some of the funniest, most down-to-earth and intelligent people on the planet.
    The work is interesting and challenging.
    There are a lot of resources (hardware).
    Make your own hours.

    Cons

    Some employees aren't so down to earth.
    If you aren't driven, you can get stuck in a rut of boring work.
    From what I've heard, funding seems to be drying up.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    beware to retirees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technical Specialist in Batavia, IL
    Former Employee - Technical Specialist in Batavia, IL

    I worked at Fermilab full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great place to work if your a self starter and capable. Also earned several college degress while working there.

    Cons

    Lower managment resent you working outside the " box" regardless of your abilities which do affect your pay raises.
    If too many engineers, or physicists ask for you personally on their projects this is considered working outside the box too. After Graduating Summa C Laude with a Business Management Degree it was made plain that I would be going nowhere

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your lab was built in a large part by the boomer generation but no appreciation is shown when it come to retirement.
    You find it easy to sell off your retirees insurance coverage tom to an insurance exchange like Towers Watson who by the way has a lifetime limit which was not mentioned in your presentation as well as a 30% increase in Rx cost coverage for those of us who get Rx's for 90 days. Many of us have had the same Doctors fo 30 years and now you put us out to pasture like a bunch of simpletons who needs someone to tell us what kind of insurance we need You've shown your true colors. I truely hope those of youi that participated in this scam will reap what hardship you sowed. For me the day I must go to Towers Watson I'll ask to go on hospice. It may be painful but it'll be quick. Hopefully quicker than it took TIAA/CREF to lose over a quarter million dollers of my retirement. BTW if you think TW's One Exchange is good for us read their SEC filings and observe the profits they make and the risks they may be subject to.. All those profits come out of funds that would be paying our insurance.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Feigning Corporate in an Academic World.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Systems Administrator III in Batavia, IL
    Current Employee - Systems Administrator III in Batavia, IL

    I have been working at Fermilab full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Vacation and Medical Leave are separate and accrue at equal rates.
    Laid-back, academic atmosphere. People enjoy sharing what they are working on.
    Vast melting pot of cultures from around the world.
    Cool tech on the frontier of physics.

    Cons

    Communication between Sectors, Departments and Groups can be rather problematic. Too many islands.
    Too much budget tension from year to year. Despite being employed by Fermi Research Alliance, the purse strings are held by the US Department of Energy Office of Science (thus DoE...thus Congress)
    Salary freezes and furloughs do occur when Congress refuses to function.
    It seems that Cronyism runs rampant in the (shallow) ranks of Management. There is a lot of dead wood which should purged.
    There are MANY working groups which tends to make the Management structure more broad than deep. The problem is that a non-physicist has a difficult time moving up the rather short ladder.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take responsibility. Make as many decisions as possible outside of a committee. Understand that results (controllable) are more important than public perception (not controllable). Be flexible enough to bring in a helpful technology, or ideology, without needing to "Fermi-ize" it into something ungainly and unusable.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Invaluable research experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Graduate Student Researcher in Batavia, IL
    Current Employee - Graduate Student Researcher in Batavia, IL

    I have been working at Fermilab full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Get hands on, personal experience with the best in the industry.

    Cons

    Batavia is a small and rural place with not much to see.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    No complaints.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Working hard during difficult budget times

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in Batavia, IL
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in Batavia, IL

    I worked at Fermilab full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The benefits and time off are great. It is also really fun to be around so many smart people. It is still the center of the particle physics community in the United States.

    Cons

    The lab as been a bit scattered in its approach for a couple of years and is only now finding its footing with the new P5 report and director.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Always maintain a high, but achievable goals. I think in the past scientists have had lots of really wild ideas that have received far too much consideration. It is okay that they have wild ideas and that they discuss them, but at some point those ideas to be critically evaluated with and eye to reality.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good old boys (girls) network

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

    I worked at Fermilab full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great non-mgmt. people, great culture

    Cons

    paperwork enough to kills trees every hour.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn what teamwork is and how it works inside departments, not just telling someone about teamwork but actually implement it!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Fermi is like a family.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Financial Analyst in Batavia, IL
    Former Employee - Financial Analyst in Batavia, IL

    I worked at Fermilab full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Everyone is more than respectful.

    Cons

    The great cafe options are too convenient!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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