Picatinny
3.3 of 5 9 reviews
www.pica.army.mil Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

Picatinny Reviews

Updated Apr 6, 2014

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3.3 9 reviews

                             
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    1 person found this helpful  

    Good Place to Intern

    Engineering Technician (Former Employee)

    ProsEveryone 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.

    ConsThere 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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

    Electrical Engineer (Former Employee)
    Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

    ProsAutomatic 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.

    ConsThis 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 Senior ManagementYou 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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

    Electrical Engineer (Former Employee)
    Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

    ProsAutomatic 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.

    ConsI 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 Senior ManagementStop 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.

    – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

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

    Mechanical Engineer (Former Employee)
    Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

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

    ConsHard 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 Senior ManagementPush your employees a bit. Give them a chance to be challenged.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    A great place to grow up but maybe not live

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

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

    ConsThere 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 Senior ManagementThank 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Picatinny arsenal is a great place to work and gain experience

    Electrical Engineer (Current Employee)
    Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

    ProsWorking 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.

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

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Typical government job.

    Aerospace Engineer (Current Employee)
    Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

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

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

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

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Relaxed, friendly office; slow-moving bureaucracy.

    Summer Hire/Intern (Current Employee)
    Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

    ProsAs a summer intern, this is excellent real-world experience for me. My office is relaxed, friendly, and helpful. Hours are flexible within reason, and for a summer intern, my pay is excellent. Pay scales are very good for recent engineering graduates and those with a solid GPA can be making around $75,000 within two to three years of working full-time.

    ConsBecause of the bureaucracy, paperwork, including initial paychecks, takes forever. Furthermore, many people may have qualms working for the government; specifically, working on an Army weapons research base may pose issues. Realize that the work you'd be doing will be directly designing or supporting the design of real-world weaponry.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSpeed up the paperwork process!

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    Comfortable, very low stress

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsAutomatic pay level promotions for the first 3 years of employment. Large company with many interesting projects just need to find them. Supports higher education and large emphasis on training.

    ConsThere is a lack of consistency between divisions so negative or positive overall experience is very dependent on division /branch. Management is not competent. There is zero accountability and schedules/budgets are fictional measures. There are some people who really care about their job and work quality and are extremely refreshing to meet, however the majority of employees are simply collecting a pay check comfortably.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAccountability, accountability, accountability!

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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