Jackson Laboratory

  www.jax.org
  www.jax.org

Jackson Laboratory Reviews in Maine

Updated August 20, 2014
Updated August 20, 2014
49 Reviews
3.1
49 Reviews
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Jackson Laboratory President & CEO Dr. Edison T. Liu
Dr. Edison T. Liu
11 Ratings

23 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

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

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

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory full-time

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Tough place to be if you like to get things done

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Best in the area

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    Pros

    Good benefit, beautiful environment, small town

    Cons

    Hard to adapt changes, life during winter is hard

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve employee accountability

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Research takes a backseat to production

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Contract Scientist

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

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Contract job to do a fair amount of work in a decent amount of time.

    Cons

    lack of benefits... hence contract work

  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Senior professionals considering relocation to work at the Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor should be very careful

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

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The Lab is situated in a very beautiful remote rural area with a combination of mountain and seashore attractions and the proximity of the Acadia National Park, and is a dream for an outdoor enthusiast (although this can be a serious “con” for those who have no such inclinations and prefer an urban or suburban lifestyle). Working to support the mission of the lab in conducting and promoting research into causes and potential cures for human disease is very gratifying, and was my primary motivation for seeking a position with the Lab. It has great healthcare coverage. Most of the people at all levels of the organization who work there are extremely conscientious, dedicated and diligent individuals with whom I enjoyed collaborating during my time there.

    Cons

    A caveat - I worked in the area responsible for inventory management, marketing and sales, so my comments don’t necessarily generalize into the science and educational areas. I understood I was being hired to help introduce new approaches to managing operations and related quality assurance issues but I found the senior management, as much as they paid lip service to “developing a quality culture”, reluctant to engage in any serious assessment of how they do business or set any meaningful strategic direction for making operational improvements. Ideas which didn’t align with current practices were typically poorly received, and persistence in promoting such ideas precipitated challenges to personal competency and motivation. Several senior managers were heavy-handed in treatment of subordinates, and expected similar treatment to be shown down the line – resistance elicited the same sort of non-professional criticism. Initially, I questioned myself, but found several other people over time with similarities in professional background and aspirations whose experiences echoed my own. Another obstacle to succeeding in an operations-based role is the dependence on IT, and that group, which apparently suffered challenges for years, continued to address issues with its own operations and turnover while I was there and shortly after I left. After a year, the dissonance was greater than I would tolerate, so I resigned my position. Alternatives for professional work in the area are very limited, including at the Lab. I applied for two other positions in other areas in the Lab (one before, and the other after I resigned), but in both cases the original job postings were pulled, and job descriptions re-written and then re-posted after I initially applied.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My advice to the management is much the same as they received in at least one internal employee satisfaction survey. It is that they engage the talents and insights of the many people who are committed to the mission of the Lab, and capable of making significant contributions. The treatment it seems most people receive, at least in the areas with which I was familiar, is very de-motivating and largely encourages risk-averse and conformist behaviors. The tenor of senior management attitude toward subordinate input is to filter and restrain what is offered, rather than to channel or foster. For an organization with aspirations to expand in size and complexity, and the need to compete with other organizations for revenue as government sponsored funding diminishes, the senior management does a great disservice to the mission of the Lab in the way it treats its less senior staff and undermines contributions they might otherwise make. It also discourages others with potentially valuable experience and insights gained elsewhere who might be inclined to consider joining Lab to think very carefully before making any commitment; that at least would be my advice. As much as one would want to support the mission of the Lab, it should not come at a cost to one’s career, professional integrity and/or personal welfare.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Fulfilling, fun, and a real learning experience

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

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Very open, friendly, and welcoming atmosphere. The people were so friendly, the work was very research based, and actually fun.

    Cons

    The location is not ideal, nowhere near another major city.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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