Picatinny

www.pica.army.mil

Picatinny Reviews

Updated November 9, 2014
Updated November 9, 2014
12 Reviews
3.3
12 Reviews
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  1.  

    Salary is on par for all the benefits you get.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

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

    Pros

    Salary may not be as high as private industry, but the benefits make up for it. You get a good amount of holidays, rarely have to work late, and most importantly a stable job. The chances of them having to lay off people are slim and it's also really difficult for them to fire you too. Also, depending on your management, vacation and sick time use is pretty flexible, and you can work a compressed schedule so that you get off every other Friday!

    Cons

    Morale can be low depending on your management. There are issues with working with employees who are basically just counting down the days to retirement and have absolutely no motivation (especially since it's difficult to fire people here). Also, there's always the risk of furloughs (aka forced unpaid days off) and you don't get a paid lunch break!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    You'll love it or hate it

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

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

    Pros

    Vacation days and health benefits are good
    You will have to try very hard to get fired
    Salaries are better or equal to private industry for engineering jobs
    If you have a family, a great steady job with cheap healthcare and cheap daycare
    A lot of facilities on base, including a nice gym with swimming pool, basketball court

    If you end up in a good group...
    You can actually make a difference and be recognized nationally for your efforts
    Will pay for college classes
    Extremely rewarding work
    Chances to work on a wide swath of technical problems, easy to change projects / careers

    Cons

    Top management makes decisions arbitrarily
    Limited sick days (long term sickness means you will have to take leave without pay)
    Unempowered leadership
    In the middle of nowhere
    If you're single, find somewhere else to work
    Promotion decisions based on seniority or favoritism
    Culture of don't complain and one-way loyalty

    If you end up in a bad group...
    Do not expect any practical technical training at all (sink or swim)
    You will be marginalized and made to feel worthless
    Paternalistic management

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your employees rightly think of you as dated and idiotic. Please retire. Hire someone from private industry to shake up the WWII attitude towards managing and employee welfare, particularly women. Simply, get a manager who actually cares about anything else other than their own career and retirement.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  3.  

    Intern Impression

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

    I have been working at Picatinny as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Really laid back job environment. People are really relaxed/friendly and not rushing you to get everything done in 1 day. Government job, so the stability and benefits are there. Military discount, Flexible schedule.

    Cons

    Alot of elderly people there. I guess from staying with the job. But seems like more old than young. Gov jobs typically pay slightly lower.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sometime people need incentive to get work done

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good Place to Intern

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

    I worked at Picatinny as an intern (more than an year)

    Pros

    Everyone was very helpful and wanted to teach as much as they could. Every project I worked on had a clear goal in a way to help our Army. I knew how each project was helping our country. I was given a lot of opportunities to travel and see actual testing and be involved. There was always something I could do to help as long as I asked. The work and life balance is very good and most people did not stay after hours unless they wanted to in my departments, but it really depends which department you work in.

    Cons

    There were no cons for me, but it depends on who you work with and where you are working. Other interns were not given as much to do or more boring tasks.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    It's a comfortable job, but that's it.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Electrical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ
    Former Employee - Electrical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

    I worked at Picatinny full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Automatic pay level promotions. Low stress job. Support for Master's classes. You have to really screw up to get fired. As an engineer, a decent level of freedom.

    Cons

    This is what I saw while I worked there:

    Empire Building and Feudalism:
        A lot of the supervisors and division leads engaged in “empire building” – where they were just interested in having offices full of warm bodies.

        It was hard to move between organizations. There is no rotation program for new hires. If you find you are not the right fit for the group you've been hired into, or if the group has issues: too bad. The best they can do is loan you to another division. Your evaluations are still performed by the old group.

    Cult of "Leadership":

        One of the major qualifications that they look for in promotions is if “you are a leader”. You will have required training on “how to be a leader”. However, what I saw was that these people don’t practice what they preach. These same “leaders” will ignore you for months on end. You need to always pretend that you’re a “leader” if you want to get anywhere in this place. It got very creepy for me.

    Not really an RD org:

        The majority of the staff works on power points or paperwork. I saw only a small percentage in the lab doing R&D work. Management knew this, but they still pretended that they were an R&D organization. Of that small percentage, they majority of employees are mechanical engineers, very few electrical. As an EE, I saw lots of mechanical engineers getting funding for projects involving electronics/wireless communications - but they never properly performed sanity checks to see if their projects even worked. I saw a lot of sketchy – borderline quackery programs going on in EE domain.

    Management was always chasing ARL, but they didn’t give engineers the support or freedom to do technical work. One group had all of the latest EE equipment. Everyone else had to scrounge (including me) or beg that group. The technical work seemed like it was behind the times.

    Subject matter experts were hand-picked by management. These were the people who blabbed the most during meetings. I was doing a lot of their work for them.

    There were few GS13 positions available. Once I reached a GS12, it became less and less worth my time to stay there. The few GS13 positions that were open were usually intended for select people.

    The offices were downright depressing.

    When I left, sequestration was slashing project funding left and right.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You eroded your technical competency for the past 15 years, ever since you decided that all the engineers be "project managers" (even the kids straight out of school). Now you have a culture of technical work avoidance and pretense. What were you thinking? You can barely keep up with your other RDEC counterparts, and all of the good people you hired from 2000-2008 after the 90s hiring freeze are leaving. It seems as though you wanted everything the way it was. And you got it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  7.  

    Job wise, it's good. Career wise...not so much

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Electrical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ
    Former Employee - Electrical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

    I worked at Picatinny full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Automatic pay level promotions. Low stress job. Support for Master's classes. There are a few groups doing really good work, but you need to get hired into them. They won’t fire you unless you really screw up.

    Cons

    I worked here for 4 years as an EE. I had an incredibly difficult time work at this place.

    It was hard to move between organizations. There was no rotation program for new hires. I saw a lot of the supervisors and division leads engaged in “empire building” – where they were just interested in an office full of warm bodies. Higher management said they were trying to stop the practice, but they never really did anything.

    I noticed that there was a cult of “leadership” at this place. I was required to take training on “how to be a leader.” I was questioned on how good of a “leader” I was. However, what I saw was that these people didn't practice what they preached. I felt I needed to pretend that I was a “leader”, if I want to get anywhere. It was creepy. Everything we did was for the "war fighter", but, I never saw a single one on my programs.

    I saw that majority of the staff worked on power points or paperwork. I saw only a small percentage in the lab doing R&D or production work. Of that small percentage, they majority of employees were mechanical engineers, very few electrical. As an EE, I saw lots of mechanical engineers getting funding for projects involving electronics/wireless communications - but I never saw them properly performed sanity checks to see if their projects even worked. Their power point slides seemed more important.

    I saw that the “subject matter experts” were hand-picked by management, but they weren't really experts. I ended up doing a lot of their work for them.

    Only one division had all of the latest EE equipment. Everyone else had to scrounge (including me) or beg that group.

    The technical work seemed like it was behind the times.

    The offices were downright depressing.

    Overall it was a really bad engineering culture. I was happy to finally leave.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop with the empire building. Stop with the feudal organizational structure. Make it easy to move and change divisions. Hire some EE PhDs, not the "subject matter experts" you keep earmarking. You are losing your valuable people (especially to ARL), and leaving only the complacent ones who just write power point slides.

    Negative Outlook
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    This is a place to get comfortable. Not to grow or be challenged, but to be comfortable.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ
    Former Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

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

    Pros

    Every other Friday off. Good benefits including signing bonus, school loan reimbursement, and masters level tuition covered. No pressure.

    Cons

    Hard to get excited about work. You must try very hard in order to find a challenge, and when you succeed, nobody will care for months.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Push your employees a bit. Give them a chance to be challenged.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    A great place to grow up but maybe not live

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

    I have been working at Picatinny full-time

    Pros

    Great people, very casual environment and top notch scientific equipment for the scientists

    Cons

    There is a thick vain of nepotism that seems to run in a few of the major offices to the point where you will wonder why someone who is less than stellar is giving awards.

    Very small yearly pay increases. Expect 1% to 2% a year. Expect congress to cut your pay in the near future.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Thank you for doing your best with what little financial incentives you have available. I'm continually amazed at how well you can keep human capital over the long run.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
  10.  

    Picatinny arsenal is a great place to work and gain experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

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

    Pros

    Working at Picatinny Arsenal gives you the chance to work with the latest technologies available and to work in your desired field. There are numerous departments in Picatinny that allow you the chance to diversify with specialties while still working in the same location.Very friendly working environment.

    Cons

    very caual working environemt. First name basis. not the most professional place to work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Typical government job.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Aerospace Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ
    Current Employee - Aerospace Engineer in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

    I have been working at Picatinny

    Pros

    The benefits package is good and the salary is pretty good once you reach journeyman level.

    Cons

    The inability to promote individuals outside of grade. Management does not take a proactive role. The buildings and equipment are old and outdated.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more proactive in evaluation personnel. Look to groom individuals that may make good managers in the future.

    Recommends

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