Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

  www.pppl.gov
  www.pppl.gov

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Reviews

Updated July 6, 2014
Updated July 6, 2014
8 Reviews
3.3
8 Reviews
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  1.  

    A great place to get a good research start

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Intern, Hourly in Princeton, NJ
    Former Employee - Intern, Hourly in Princeton, NJ

    I worked at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Lots of diverse levels and areas of research, and some great experiments being performed. Very helpful technical staff (for me, some other guys didn't have such a great time). My work was interesting, and though I started off as a HS intern, I found that my work was far from insignificant.

    Cons

    Odd smells at some points. Lots of regulations associated with pretty much anything. Mass emails that have nothing to do with your level of work can get annoying.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    One time the former head of the lab decided to sit down with me and my intern buddy for lunch completely out of the blue. I was so nervous I couldn't eat and he really didn't catch on that we were really uncomfortable with the situation.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  2.  

    Great people, can be a difficult environment for innovation

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

    I worked at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Very intelligent people, friendly environment, located in a beautiful area with great access to "main campus" resources.

    Cons

    Resistance to change, many employees lack motivation to go above and beyond, old building and lots of red tape in terms of funding.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create a clearer path for people to advance in their careers and provide some incentive to go above and beyond

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  3.  

    World renown research facility, but not great for workers on the operational side

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

    I have been working at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Excellent benefits (5 weeks of vacation) and a relaxed work environment. Office culture is laid back, but has its fair share of office politics like any other company. Good reputation as you also are an employee of Princeton University.

    Cons

    Organizationally most departments are not adequately staffed, managers lack true management skills, and there's not a lot of morale amongst the office workers. Middle management seems to be overworked with little direction from senior management. Departments on the Operations side of the lab are treated like "second class" citizens to the research side. Being a research facility, that seems logical, but without operations, the researchers will have no lab to do their work. Senior management has not been effective in changing this "us versus them" mentality between the two halves.

    The lab also has a large percentage of the employees in the 50+ age category. It's not uncommon to find people who have been working at the lab for 20, 25, and even 45 years. This is a testament to the benefits of working here, but it also is difficult for younger workers to fit in - culturally, the place feels like it still operates in the late 80s and 90s. Turn over among the younger workers is quite high, most likely to this, and that the salaries are not competitive with the private sector, or even with Princeton University salaries (which all full time PPPL workers are employees of Princeton).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't underestimate the value of the operations side of the house. Treat all workers the same, whether they are researchers, engineers, or business operations. Take a strong look at the business operations units and see what level of job satisfaction there is (most likely pretty low). Career paths are not clearly defined, and salaries are low; a perfect recipe for high turnover.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
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  5.  

    A truly memorable internship experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineering Intern in Princeton, NJ
    Former Employee - Engineering Intern in Princeton, NJ

    I worked at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    It offers a project-based, team-centered environment. The permanent staff is experienced and willing to impart their knowledge to whomever will listen.

    Cons

    None that I can think of.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great environment for somebody that isn't involved at all in the bureaucracy.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Hourly Worker in Plainsboro, NJ
    Former Employee - Hourly Worker in Plainsboro, NJ

    I worked at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Professional setting, ample tech resources, athletic activities during the 12-1 hour (and such) if you're willing to make up the time spent (soccer with some of the surrounding businesses and volleyball with coworkers), indoor gym for those that lift. Good place for somebody young to get their start in a highly regarded and respectable research field.

    Cons

    Sometimes a little disorganized, the cluster managers and OIT don't publicize usage of the computer clusters well enough so sometimes I'd have to scrounge around for a working terminal, though it wasn't excruciatingly hard to do so.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Communication sometimes gets lost to lower levels, especially when one or more groups want a room or a computer cluster.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Business Operations Department

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

    I have been working at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    enough vacations days
    casual and relaxed atmosphere

    Cons

    starting salary way lower than private companies
    no room to grow or increased learning curve
    very rare promotions and hardly any raises
    not a professional working environment

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give willing employees the opportunity to develop their talents and give feedbacks. Training should be more emphasized and employees should feel a sense of belonging

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  8.  

    Great Facilities

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - SULI Intern in Princeton, NJ
    Former Employee - SULI Intern in Princeton, NJ

    I worked at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Pros

    PPPL has very nice facilities and encourages novel approaches to research. Most of the employees are very intelligent and friendly, and the work environment is generally very laid back. Princeton is a beautiful area and only a short 1 hour train ride from New York CIty or Philadelphia.

    Cons

    Morale has decreased with the cancellation of the NCSX and TFTR projects. Funding is always an issue. The labs demographics tend to be very limited (a preponderance of older white males).

    Recommends
  9.  

    A waste of my working career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technician in Princeton, NJ
    Current Employee - Technician in Princeton, NJ

    I have been working at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Pros

    Good vacation and decent benefits package

    Cons

    Low pay, clueless managers, no job recognition

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop being so arrogant and pretentious. Treat your employees like humans.

    Doesn't Recommend

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