Jackson Laboratory Reviews

Updated August 20, 2014
Updated August 20, 2014
46 Reviews

3.0
46 Reviews
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Jackson Laboratory President & CEO Dr. Edison T. Liu
Dr. Edison T. Liu
11 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Worst employer ever.

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

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory

    Pros

    Benefits package, location, organizations mission

    Cons

    Work - life balance, executive management,

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to middle management and front line staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    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 for 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
  3.  

    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 for less than a year

    Pros

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

    Cons

    lack of benefits... hence contract work

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  5.  

    I love the people I work with

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

    I have been working at Jackson Laboratory for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Great 403b. Great benefits, my boss's are awesome and I look forward to going to work everyday.

    Cons

    We didn't get a pay increase last year and may not get one again this year.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop letting people from Bar Harbor travel to Sacramento every few weeks! Have them set up conference calls if they need to connect with their peers on the other coast. It would save the lab so much money. I imagine these things must go before the board committee which would show a lot of the same names over and over. Why can't someone say "there is reason for most of these people to go to Sacramento every 4-6 weeks, let's see if we can cut it down to twice a year?" I have noticed a lot less food catering which is probably saving some money, but not the thousands of dollars travel reduction would!

    No opinion of CEO
  6. 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 for more than a 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
  7.  

    Lots of positive changes

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - In Vivo Technologist  in  Sacramento, CA
    Former Employee - In Vivo Technologist in Sacramento, CA

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Opportunity to work on a variety of projects at one time. Valuable experience with numerous mouse models. Great technicians. Beautiful new facility (if you've ever worked in academia, the money they've poured into the workspace and equipment will make you swoon).

    There seemed to be a few recurring problems when I was there --holes in the training program, lack of accountability for certain areas of management, lack of transparency/communication between coasts, meetings to decide when to have a meeting to schedule the next meeting--but a new "no nonsense" manager seemed to be picking up the pieces just as I was leaving.

    Cons

    High turnover. Work/life balance can easily shift toward work. Difficulty retaining a lab manager. Restructuring of management's reporting structure every 6 months that seems to result in a confusion of who is responsible for what and tasks (mostly training and oversight) get skipped entirely.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take recommendations for positive change from those inside the lab seriously. Instead of playing musical job titles every six month, clearly determine who is responsible for what and hold them accountable. If people cannot fulfill their responsibilities, whether they be in the lowest or highest positions, cut them loose.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    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 for less than a 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
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Not recommended for IT work.

    • 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 for less than a year

    Pros

    The campus is very nice, with interesting things happening. There are a lot of nice people, good health club if you work in the Bar Harbor office. The work is ultimately for a good cause, assuming you don't have strong beliefs against true medical animal testing. Mice are treated well.

    Cons

    This review is for IT only. I don't know what it's like to work on the sciences or mouse room side. The Jackson IT department is sadly disfunctional. Site staff are afraid to rock the boat, so things are slow to change. The IT consumer groups are really running the show, though they don't have the IT background to do this properly. The systems are badly hacked together, with numerous manual processes baked in. Working in Jackson IT is somewhere between functioning as a software engineer and as an admin assistant.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Time must be allocated for IT staff training within the work week. Information does not get transmitted up the organization as it should, so one-on-one chats with hands-on IT staff would be helpful. The enterprise systems need to be audited for best practices. There is a good deal of empowered but overwhelmed and inexperienced staff between top management and hands-on IT workers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    I interned there during the summer and enjoyed the experience.

    • Work/Life Balance
    Former Employee - Intern  in  Bar Harbor, ME
    Former Employee - Intern in Bar Harbor, ME

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    I, along with other summer students, was provided with housing, food, and stipend. It's located in a small beautiful town and if you like going to the beach and hiking, then you'll enjoy it, especially during the summer. The lab also provides a shuttle for workers throughout the year, if I am not mistaken. There are also free buses for everyone around town, only in the summer because the town receives a lot of tourists during this time.

    Cons

    Unless you own a car, transportation around Bar Harbor can be difficult during winter and spring. The shuttles provided by the lab are only during morning to transport workers to and from work.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    A need for change

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - In Vivo Lab Technician II (RA II)  in  Sacramento, CA
    Former Employee - In Vivo Lab Technician II (RA II) in Sacramento, CA

    I worked at Jackson Laboratory full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Learned a lot of techniques in a short period of time, by a really great trainer. The techs are the smartest/ambitious/social/friendly people I have ever met. Just the best group I have been around.

    As long as things can stay balanced between home and work you will learn techniques that are very unique and in a short period of time.

    Free lunches often from various catering.

    Bar Harbor staff VERY friendly and approachable.

    Cons

    The only training program is for beginning techs, which is great, but there are other positions in the lab too that should have some sort of training program in place.

    Expecting techs to work 50+ hours a week is unreasonable. There is nothing in the job descriptions about mandatory overtime, yet the techs are expected to stay.

    Be ready for your schedule to change daily.

    Responsibility is often shifted from one person to the next, and when the ball falls, the last one holding it is the one to blame.

    All the other cons from the other reviews I stand by. I came into this job, knowing the reviews, but also knowing I love science. Until the head of the leadership changes, do not work here. It doesn't matter how optimistic you are, how much you love research, how much you love to work, this job (as it stands now) will suck the life out of you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be reasonable. For a company that is non-profit, you sure do focus on the "revenue" side of things. Bringing in as many projects as possible, as many procedures as possible without the thought of the quality/work environment. Do not set processes in place and expect them to only be followed as long as it does not screw up what you are trying to get done.

    Also, have better communication with those who are on probation periods. Don't cancel their 1:1's for weeks and weeks at time. To potential employees: make sure while you are on probation to have great communication with your recruiter, this is as much a benefit to them as it is to you, and have clear written instructions what will lead to you either being hired or not.

    Have training programs for all positions that are in the lab.

    There needs to be change in leadership. The pressure of revenue and lack of presence in the lab, alongside the techs, has caused nothing but problems. Techs leave often before two years, and the techs remaining often explain why everyone is leaving and what needs to change. Yet nothing changes or if there is change it is too late. I believe the reason why Bar Harbor receives such high marks is because of the compassion the employers have for their employees. Anytime I worked with anyone from Bar Harbor they were very understanding and reasonable. If some training could be done between the two management teams, I think it would be very beneficial. It is just time for change in leadership, before no one is left.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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