Los Alamos National Laboratory Reviews

Updated August 26, 2015
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3.7
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Los Alamos National Laboratory Director & President Charles McMillan
Charles McMillan
60 Ratings

Pros
  • Multidisciplinary environment, good work-life balance and great benefits (in 11 reviews)

  • Good pay and benefits, however culture has shifted over the years (in 11 reviews)

Cons
  • I've seen that the small-town mentality can diminish some goals and passion of employees (in 9 reviews)

  • The amount of red tape is incredible (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

137 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (4)

    A highly dysfunctional, poorly managed organization with its best science & engineering in the past.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Staff Member in Los Alamos, NM
    Former Employee - Technical Staff Member in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    New Mexico is great! Los Alamos is a historical place. Superb climate.

    Cons

    No longer strong in science and engineering; mostly just an outrageously overpriced "Beltway Bandit" type organization that does government services and environmental cleanup. Many scientists and engineers have left or been laid off. Has been poorly managed for many years, but things seem to be getting worse. Plagued with severe misogyny, integrity deficiencies, waste & bureaucracy, two many pointless layers of management, many poor supervisors and managers (stupid, incompetent, control freaks, bullies, mental ill, or some combination), an HR “Department” that is belligerent and sadistic beyond belief, and even pockets of racism. The town used to be quite beautiful, but two major wild fires plus inept county management have made it ugly. The town is isolated, dysfunctional, unfriendly, mean, boring, and kind of creepy. Lots of skin and eye damage due to uv at altitude.

    Advice to Management

    LANL has no future and the U.S. does not need 3 nuclear weapons labs. Close up shop, clean things up, leave, and go find something you are actually good at doing.


  2. Helpful (4)

    Sexist old white men scientists; now a workplace full of c students from third tier universities, if that.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Staff Member (TSM) in Los Alamos, NM
    Former Employee - Technical Staff Member (TSM) in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    If you like to mountain bike, road bike, hike, camp, ice skate, swim at 7200' elevation, rock climb, run, x-c or downhill ski, this is the place to be!

    Cons

    Racist, incompetent, sexist managers; pointless research opportunities that imprison one to work in nuclear bomb research one's entire career (get out asap or you'll never get another good research job at a decent university); lip service only to safety; endless red tape and 'training;' worst joband place to work I have ever experienced. Everyone I know who still works there is staying because of benefits and salary and are counting the days to retirement. Due to Q clearances, people don't get the psch help needed;lots of DV, drinking, stress, anxiety.

    Advice to Management

    Promote people to management who actually have skills to do the job; do not promote scientists who have written grants and secured tons of funding for reasearh to management positions.


  3. Helpful (3)

    pretty bad

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Scientist in Los Alamos, NM
    Current Employee - Staff Scientist in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Los Alamos National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    science is very good, interesting work

    Cons

    too much red tape, bloated management, oversight and mistrust. The place could never do a Manhatten project again. After private company took over, number of senior managers (associate directors and higher) went from 7 to 23

    Advice to Management

    reduce management by half. Reduce paperwork.


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  5. Helpful (3)

    Going downhill...

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Alamos, NM
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Used to have a campus environment, but now is corporate.

    Cons

    Most of the qualifications held are self - made for management positions.

    Advice to Management

    Follow national standards in all technical and managerial positions. Stop allowing old timers to invent their own position with lax quals.


  6. Los Alamos lab should be avoided.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Good pay and benefits. however retirement is age based more then time in service. The pay is better then what is available in the area, so people tend to stay, remain quiet and hope for the best.

    Cons

    Lack of commitment from management for safety. repeated people getting injured or near misses and hollow words to make improvement. firing people that speak out for safety.

    Advice to Management

    change the way you do business, before DOE shuts you down.


  7. Very disorganized place

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Scientist in Los Alamos, NM
    Former Employee - Scientist in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Decent salary. Great benefits

    Cons

    Terrible people. I was always watched by pretty much everyone. They did not trust co-workers. My bosses did not like me from day 1. Too many strange and complicated policies. If I complain, they always say "if you don't like here, just leave!".

    Advice to Management

    Respect employees who are doing the hardest work.


  8. Helpful (7)

    Buried under bureacracy

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Alamos, NM
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    There are still many smart scientists at the lab, and there is a good interdisciplinary feeling to the place. Also, many of the postdocs at the lab are very good.

    Cons

    More and more administrative and bureaucratic responsibilities have been passed on to the technical staff, such that it is hard to find time to do significant scientific work. "Cost saving" measures, such as eliminating much administrative personnel for travel arrangements/reimbursements, purchasing of equipment, and accounting leave the scientists to spend considerable amounts of time on work that they are inefficient in performing and over-qualified to do. It is merely a redistribution of costs, and by paying a scientist twice what a an administrative assistant was paid to do the same tasks, it is actually a loss. LANS took over from UC a few years ago, and things were supposed to get better with a more corporate attitude. Instead, they have gotten worse, and now LANS gets paid (a fee from the NNSA that comes out of LANL's budget) to run things in this lousy manner. The overhead is also insanely high, due to the nuke stuff going on. The secure stuff should be more separated from the basic science.

    Advice to Management

    Separate science from nuke technology so basic science can be competitive on cost with other places. Let scientists work in the lab and not waste time wrestling with bureaucracy.


  9. Not a good place for recent graduates.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Post MS Research Assistant in Los Alamos, NM
    Former Employee - Post MS Research Assistant in Los Alamos, NM
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Brand Name.. good place if you are old and like outdoor activities. Plenty of hiking trails.

    Cons

    There bureaucracy is so much that you can not get any work done. If you are not US citizen, don't even think of going there. You are not even allowed to have root access to your own computers. I was hired to to job that requires hacking linux.. but guess what ... since I was foreign national, I am not allowed to have root access to my computer. May be its better now, but it was that bad couple of years ago. Moreover, the town is as dead as it gets. Nothing is open after 8:00 pm. Santa Fe is like 45 mins away.. but even that's not great for night life. The average age of lab employee is around 45.

    Advice to Management

    Please dont hire international employees, and stop making their life miserable.


  10. National laboratory doesn't live up to reputation

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Communications in Los Alamos, NM
    Former Employee - Communications in Los Alamos, NM

    Pros

    prestigious organization but is located in New Mexico environment Has the best paying jobs in the region

    Cons

    Long commute, Poor inter-group communication and very bureacratic

    Advice to Management

    Be more visible, work to make groups more cohesive


  11. Poor

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Group Leader in Los Alamos, NM
    Current Employee - Group Leader in Los Alamos, NM
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Salaries and the variation of job opportunities

    Cons

    Poor Management with little people skills

    Advice to Management

    Learn the meaning of compassion



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