Jackson Laboratory Reviews

Updated June 19, 2015
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3.1
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Approve of CEO
Jackson Laboratory President & CEO Dr. Edison T. Liu
Dr. Edison T. Liu
6 Ratings

Pros
  • Bar Harbor staff VERY friendly and approachable (in 6 reviews)

  • Friendly coworkers, clean working environment, well maintained facilities and unskilled workers are trained to be Animal Care Technicians (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • Work - life balance, executive management, (in 3 reviews)

  • Difficulty retaining a lab manager (in 11 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

26 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great Place Varies by Dept

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Bar Harbor, ME
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Bar Harbor, ME

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The benefits package is solid and includes education, great insurance rates, and retirement planning. Great facilities give you all the tools you need to do your job with pride. This company is respected worldwide and will be recognized on your resume. There are openings in science as well as non-science fields such as marketing. Management is fair and very clear about all policies.

    Cons

    Location is the biggest issue. If you are not comfortable in (or at least willing to live in) a rural area with harsh winters, you probably shouldn't work here. The biggest city, Bangor, is just over an hour away by car. There are a lot of outdoor activities year-round and Bar Harbor itself is great in the summer, but pretty much everything shuts down in the winter. The second con I would list is that your experience here will vary based on your department or lab group. You should talk to the people in the department you're interested in before making a final decision. In research, we put in a lot more than a standard 40-hour week, even though that's what we're salaried for. Pretty much every other department has a much more regular and less-demanding schedule.


  2. Great place to work.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Intern in Bar Harbor, ME
    Current Employee - Intern in Bar Harbor, ME

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory part-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Supportive learning environment for interns.

    Cons

    Still building and refining their intern programs.

    Advice to Management

    A more structured intern environment would be more beneficial to everyone.


  3. Helpful (2)

    Non-profit doesn't have to mean underpaid and overworked.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative I in Bar Harbor, ME
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative I in Bar Harbor, ME

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good initial orientation for new hires. National Park location.

    Cons

    Poor pay. 1/2 hour lunch. No close or covered parking in extreme climate. Too pennywise at worker's expense. Poor workspace environment in most buildings.

    Advice to Management

    Stop taking advantage of the locally desperate employment market and invest more in your excellent workers and a create a better clean air well lighted inspiring work environment instead of spending the "profits" elsewhere. And stop chasing greater and greater profit.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Prepare for traffic frustration in the summer unless you live close by

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bar Harbor, ME
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bar Harbor, ME

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Nice area geographically, well respected institution with great retirement plan. Some very bright people and management that is generally supportive of changes for improvement.

    Cons

    This is an institution with some serious growing pains. Behind the scenes there tends to be confusion at times and poor communication among the many expanding groups. There is an attempt to improve processes.

    Advice to Management

    The achille's heel of the operation is attracting and keeping younger workers who will perform well and stick around for a bit. As this labor force gets older and fewer the lab will be challenged in meeting the evolving increase in production demand.


  6. Helpful (3)

    Only because..."What else is there?"

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technician in Bar Harbor, ME
    Former Employee - Technician in Bar Harbor, ME

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    Retirement, Benefits, Outward facing mission to cure human disease.

    Cons

    Congested traffic 6 months of the year. Place people in positions of authority that have no ability to deal with people. Management has a "good-ole'-boys" mentality. COO with severe Napoleon complex. - more concerned about himself/salary/getting ahead than others. He is there to be served by the organization...not to serve the organization. Management doesn't like people who think for themselves...they only want a "yes" person. Their excuse for wanting a "yes" person is "customer service". Management knows that there isn't much in this area and exploits the fact. CEO (Liu) is dis-connected and either doesn't see COO's (Charles Hewett) poor management practices or doesn't care. They like to hire outside and pay a lot more than people doing the same jobs for longer periods of time. Some departments have 50 people and of that 50 are 21 managers....talk about a leaning tower! 'Hand-picked' and created jobs for senior management's favorite people.

    Advice to Management

    Knee-jerk reactions to situations are not beneficial to the institution or employees in general. Exponential increases to COO's salary is a sad reality of this institution while employees scrape...Oh, and watch out for the "Average salary at Jackson Lab" reports...they include many over-paid, senior-management heavy departments. Not a reality. Increase base wage from $10.25......this hasn't changed in over a DECADE!


  7. Helpful (2)

    Talk of Customer Experience has yielded little positive impact on researchers using/trusting JAX services.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Management in Bar Harbor, ME
    Current Employee - Management in Bar Harbor, ME

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits package is world class. Fair base salary. The organization routinely 'trains from within.' If considering Bar Harbor, the wilderness location is pristine but the area lacks cultural attractions.

    Cons

    Accountability varies across all functional units at JAX Mice and Clinical Research Services. Management 'favorites' are routinely shielded from accountability and are often promoted. Significant issues impacting research are often minimized or buried altogether.

    Advice to Management

    Set measurable standards for all employees/operating groups and apply those standards uniformly. Hold ALL employees accountable.


  8. Helpful (2)

    Tough place to be if you like to get things done

    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Professional in Bar Harbor, ME
    Current Employee - Professional in Bar Harbor, ME

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

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

    Pros

    Benefits are great. Nice people. Beautiful neighborhood (next to Acadia). Good cafeteria.

    Cons

    Communication is terrible. Very few leaders and good managers. Only high-level plans are made leaving out most details. Technology is implemented in order to solve process and organization problems. Promotions and career paths aren't available unless you are favored by executives or in research related positions. Overall, moral is low and culture of mediocrity.

    Advice to Management

    Start communicating. Grow people. Listen. Hire managers that know how to manage people. Lead the lab by walking the values, not just adding another page to the internal site and adding it everyone's performance review. Ask questions. Care. Be more visible. Set a strategy and then share the plans to reach it, in some detail, please.


  9. Best in the area

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Animal Care Technologist II in Bar Harbor, ME
    Current Employee - Animal Care Technologist II in Bar Harbor, ME

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

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

    Pros

    People know each other and help out. Workers care about their jobs. Salary is pretty good for the area, and it's hard to get a job with benefits better than this.

    Cons

    Advancement and promotion are slow. Some departments have backstabbers, but you will find that everywhere.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Great place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Bar Harbor, ME
    Current Employee - Manager in Bar Harbor, ME

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good benefit, beautiful environment, small town

    Cons

    Hard to adapt changes, life during winter is hard

    Advice to Management

    Improve employee accountability


  11. Helpful (3)

    Research takes a backseat to production

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Laboratory Technician in Bar Harbor, ME
    Current Employee - Laboratory Technician in Bar Harbor, ME

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Friendly coworkers, clean working environment, well maintained facilities and unskilled workers are trained to be Animal Care Technicians. Supports workers pursing college degrees. Gym & fitness classes on-site.

    Cons

    Lack of competition has resulted in mediocre pay scales and diminishing pay raises. Meanwhile assets of the corporation have increased greatly in recent years [new facilities in CA, CT and ME]. Lab employees are often highly skilled, underrated and overworked to the point of personal injury (carpal tunnel being the most common) and stress (burnout). [Employee turnover in my department is roughly 40% every six months.] Unskilled worker opportunities are highly limited and demanding. Most skilled jobs in the research and services departments require a science degree and years of prior experience. Employees are not permitted to learn skills (taught on-site) not required for their immediate position, but those skills are often required to apply for a better position.

    Advice to Management

    The best managers know not only how to manage people and assets but also possess intimate knowledge of the tasks subordinates perform. Be able to perform their job and be able to jump in if needed. Listen, evaluate, formulate and then express yourself. Maintain protocols for each duty workers are required to perform and update them often. Do not rely on "trial by fire" as your teaching method for new hires. Train new hires to be as good at the job as your best workers. Teach new hires the "tricks of the trade". If you are going to take over a department, have clear plans of how it will be structured and what workers have to do to advance. Do not keep moving the goal posts every time workers get close to advancement. Workers cannot be productive if you keep interrupting them. If a worker is not meeting your expectations, learn how to effectively motivate (and train) workers. Do not browbeat or demoralize workers. If you are going to assign workers auxiliary tasks that negatively impact a worker's productivity, take that into account when setting production quotas. If you insist on monitoring individual worker productivity based on statistics, do not blindly set the parameters to be from one pay period to the next without accounting for workers' time off. If vacation and sick time are not supposed to count against the worker, please remember to not include them in your assessments. Workers are not chained to their desks. If you like preparing reports for equally disinterested managers, report to your cubicle. Otherwise, roll up your sleeves, get to know your workers and get your hands dirty.



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