Publications International Reviews

Updated August 27, 2015
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1.9
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Louis Weber
30 Ratings

52 Employee Reviews

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  1. Stayed too long...

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

    I worked at Publications International full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great coworkers, good starter job, Good work/life balance,

    Cons

    Poor management, Poor ownership, little room for advancement, Management/ownership seemed to have a distaste and disrespect for it's employees.


  2. Helpful (2)

    Great company, Poor Mgmt

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at Publications International (More than a year)

    Pros

    Privately owned company, so not too many hoops to jump through to get things approved. Owner very generous with summer hours and letting the office out early for holidays. The company also has a fantastic line of products.

    Cons

    Hardworking dedicated employees, but poor managment. Too much disparity in pay from upper management and sales compared to everyone else.


  3. Meh

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

    I worked at Publications International (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Easy job with very low expectations.

    Cons

    Flexible hours were pulled back


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  5. Helpful (8)

    The band is playing "Nearer, My God, to Thee", head for the lifeboats

    • 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

    I worked at Publications International full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great coworkers, relaxed working environment, 37.5 hour work weeks, flexible time off. The people that cared about their jobs tried as hard as they could to make product they could be proud of.

    Cons

    PIL was a fun place to work around 2004. There was a summer picnic, 401K matching, a Christmas party with an open bar, and a sense that we were making fun products that were in stores everywhere you looked. That all changed slowly over time, as the owner slowly lost interest in the operation of his company and spent so much time on his boat that the company defaulted on a loan and was taken over by the bank, and then the Chinese. Now your Christmas bonus is a $5 Starbucks card and a hearty "get back to work, it's only 4:00". The owner took too much bad advice from whoever bought him lunch that week, sinking millions of dollars into product ideas that were so inherently flawed that any of his employees would have seen right through them... if only the actual creative rank-and-file weren't so thoroughly smothered by middle management, who were wholly terrified of upper management and the idea that they might hear from their creative types. No one spoke up at the risk of attracting attention to themselves. The most profitable division in the company was run for years by a scatterbrained, sadistic crone who never held a job outside the company in her life, but for whatever reason was beloved by (or had compromising photos of) the owner, who had final power over everything whether he understood it or not. Her management style included public humiliation of managers for having underlings out of their desks when her and her parade of toadies roamed the hallways, and random firing of unassuming employees when she forgot why she hired them. Product ideas were presented from the top down, and dissention (or creativity) was not heard. Despite all that, this company's products were available at almost any store you could go to that sold books, magazines, or toys... and yet they still managed to lose their market share to nobody. And now that the layoffs are over, the Chinese have bought what little was left, and the lease on the building expires in 2016, it's time to keep an eye out for the office equipment sale.

    Advice to Management

    Management doesn't take advice. The desire to come up with new ideas is flushed out of new employees quickly. Middle management is too afraid to speak up, and actual creative types are told in no uncertain terms not to make waves with crazy things like good ideas. No, all good ideas come from the current sales VP that took the owner to lunch that week, until their ideas tanked and another VP was rotated in like an old Soviet photograph.


  6. Helpful (5)

    Hated it

    • 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

    I worked at Publications International full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Lots of creative, friendly coworkers and fun murals on the walls that are in no-way a waste of time and money. Steps from a Cicero bus stop. Cindy Sherman art gallery. 37.5 hour work week.

    Cons

    Pay is pathetic. It starts bad and stays that way because there were no regular raises nor any room to advance. Whatever they hire you for, you will be doing 5 years later for the exact same salary. The business model is to entice highly educated and capable people with the promise of interesting and exciting work, and then to pay them nothing. This is not an exaggeration. Most starting salaries are in the high 20s. That's not a typo. Raises are pointless (2% of 28k??) and once every few years. The children's books division (which has since become Phoenix International Publications) is run by people who flat-out do not care about their employees - at least not the livelihood of their employees. It's also a sad system of yes-men and groupthink. Lower management refuses to defend their employees to upper management. If you get offered a job here, or at Phoenix, seriously reconsider your options. Making kids books sounds neat, but not for minimum wage. Remember that you have value because this place's goal is to make you forget that.

    Advice to Management

    If you manage a department, try advocating for your employees. You know they are underpaid and that it's not okay. Speak up! Managing is about more than telling employees what to do, it's about fostering an environment where people want to thrive and succeed. Give it a try. As for upper management...what's the point?


  7. Sales

    • 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

    friendly coworkers. that is really about all that was positive. good licenses, but the planning was just horrible and new product development was bad too.

    Cons

    Lack of overall direction of the company. They were banking on their licenses but did no real research to determine what new books to develop.

    Advice to Management

    Do research or at least base your new book decisions on some data or sales facts. Developing a book for one customer and trying to force it into another is not a good strategy.


  8. Helpful (4)

    Don't work here

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    There are no pros to working at this place. Very depressing and unsafe office environment. No one cares about anyone.

    Cons

    Don't work here. No communication. No raises. No performance reviews. No company match. Very depressing environment. Some very bright people who could do so much better.

    Advice to Management

    Talk to your employees.


  9. Good experience

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Art Director in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Art Director in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Publications International full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    People who are passionate about what they do.

    Cons

    Slow opportunities for advancement

    Advice to Management

    Not sure what to put here


  10. Was good, at one time...

    • 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

    I worked at Publications International full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Laid back environment, casual dress code, summer hours and good vacation & paid time off. Great coworkers were the best part.

    Cons

    Lack of stable management, no advancement, too many "Chiefs" and few "Indians". Everyone wants to be in charge so there is a lot of internal disagreements. Also, management does not take annual reviews seriously. Not just for an increase (which there has not been for a few years) but just to let your employees know how they are doing. There is also NO communication about the status of the company or where they are headed.


  11. It was what it was

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Creative in Lincolnwood, IL
    Former Employee - Creative in Lincolnwood, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Good work environment, opportunity for advancement at one time if you played your cards right.

    Cons

    For most, a stepping stone. The penalty for not realizing this is becoming too comfortable and losing opportunities in the real world. Too many people got caught up in the "cult of Lou" and totally lost their perspective. When Lou ran out of ideas, we all circled the drain together. Can't blame the company. We all have our own free will.

    Advice to Management

    Learn Chinese language.



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