SoftLayer
2.8 of 5 52 reviews
www.softlayer.com Dallas, TX 500 to 999 Employees

SoftLayer Reviews

Updated Apr 7, 2014
SoftLayer – US – “Couch in between cubicles at SoftLayer”

All Employees Current Employees Only

2.8 52 reviews

                             

48% Approve of the CEO

SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby

Lance Crosby

(27 ratings)

43% of employees recommend this company to a friend
52 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "More free snacks than is probably healthy"
    in 7 reviews
  • "Great benefits, nice coworkers, good learning experience, challenging work"
    in 4 reviews
Cons:
  • "Rampant illiteracy shouldn't be accepted in upper management, but it is somehow encouraged"
    in 7 reviews
  • "HR tells employees right during new hire orientation that no raises will be given for tenure, and that increases are based on performance only"
    in 3 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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  • Disapproves of CEO

4 people found this helpful  

Great on the outside; disappointing on the inside

Software Engineer (Former Employee)
Dallas, TX

I worked at SoftLayer full-time for more than a year

Pros* Very good benefits
* Free snacks, beverages, scheduled lunches, and occasional on-site happy hours
* Opportunity to work with sexy hardware in certain hands-on departments
* Employees in business departments seem to enjoy their jobs
* $200 bonus for writing articles for the employee blog
* Yearly credit toward company-branded apparel and accessories
* Relaxed Internet usage policy; fast connection (it is, after all, a datacenter)
* Casual dress code for those who care
* Holiday parties with open bar

Cons* All technical personnel is required to subscribe to an infamous mailing list that receives hundreds of e-mails per day. Most of the traffic is irrelevant to the majority of the audience, with a large chunk of the messages coming from automated monitoring systems that are only of interest to one or two specific departments. Employees are prohibited from filtering or otherwise disregarding any of these alerts, but most people end up setting up filters under the table because—let's face it—it's the only way to get any work done.

* All software engineers are given a cell phone that they're required to carry 24/7/365. Management usually tells interviewees about this upfront, which is good. What's not good is that people are often told they will only get calls if their own code fails, when in reality, their names may end up (sometimes without warning) on a list of "who to call at 3 AM if X breaks," where X is a random part of the system they may have absolutely nothing to do with.

* Compensation is below average, and the company maintains a strict no-proactive-increases policy. HR tells employees right during new hire orientation that no raises will be given for tenure, and that increases are based on performance only. Seems fair, right? Well, after working at the company for a while, people usually realize that not even performance increases are given proactively, with many employees completing their yearly reviews with no mention of compensation by their managers—regardless of how highly they may have scored. Even promotions are many times given without salary increases, causing good employees to avoid promotions or return to the job market shortly after accepting one.

* Micromanagement is prevalent in certain departments, with employees being required to (a) attend daily "stand-up" meetings (which end up becoming 30-minute, sit-down wastes of time), (b) putting together weekly reports, and (c) responding to Lumbergh-like walk-bys by managers who don't attend their own "stand-up" meetings or even read the weekly reports that their employees spend valuable time writing.

* It's a PHP shop. While I'm not against PHP when used properly and in moderation, the codebase at SoftLayer has outgrown PHP and become very painful to maintain. SoftLayer leverages PHP's worst "features," with extensive use of magic methods and dynamic variables that no IDE is able to analyze. Developers have no choice but to turn off IDE inspections, and show-stopper bugs make it to production because somebody has mistyped the name of a method or variable.

Advice to Senior ManagementSoftLayer has a great product that is sometimes developed at the expense of employees. My suggestions are to:

* restrict the alert mailing list to relevant departments only,
* relax or at least be upfront about the actual on-call policy,
* improve compensation and be proactive about giving raises when deserved,
* give at least minimal yearly increases (inflation exists),
* lose some of the red tape, and
* do something about the architecture of the system before it becomes unmanageable.

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

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Good job!

Customer Systems Administrator (Current Employee)
Dallas, TX

I have been working at SoftLayer full-time for more than 5 years

ProsDecent benefits, and compensation package.
Holiday Pay
Shift Differential Pay
Blog Bonus Pay
Paid Time Off
Relaxed Environment
Open door policy to any manager and or executive. (They listen and respond to valid concerns)
Quick 100% vesting on employer matched 401k contributions

ConsToo many prior managers from the planet that seem to dislike that SoftLayer was chosen as the brand to survive post merger.

Advice to Senior ManagementKeep doing what you're doing!

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

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THIS PLACE IS A JOKE FOR A JOB!!!!

CST (Former Employee)
Houston, TX

I worked at SoftLayer full-time for more than a year

ProsFree snacks and casual attire

ConsThere are sooo many cons, I don't know where to start. The pay is very poor and they don't care about their employees enough to give a raise. Management sucks hard. This place makes you hate to come to work! This is by far the worst place I have ever worked. The customers are unhappy with the service because the service sucks, which makes them pissed at you when they call in for support. When they deploy anything new, you don't get educated on it. They tell you to read the slickly ( which is poorly written and is a bunch of outdated junk) about it and do your best to support it when it breaks and it will break. They perform calibrations of your calls and tickets and they beat you up on how you should do better. The real reason for this is when they fire you! LOL! They will use this against you if you file for unemployment, so don't make a mistake if you like this suck ass place. There are sooo many things wrong with this company. I've seen people quit the first day after training ( training is a joke and don't prepare you for whats to come).

Advice to Senior ManagementA real company needs to buy this junk of a company!

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

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Unless you're truly desperate for money, you can do much better anywhere else.

Withheld (Current Employee)
Dallas, TX

I have been working at SoftLayer full-time for more than 5 years

ProsFree snacks and drinks. Casual attire (although no shorts or open-toe shoes). Coworkers are mostly good guys. Most of the supervisors are caring individuals, but this is changing as more and more move or leave the company...

ConsManagement is increasingly falling apart. They do not seem to understand how to run a company or to solve problems effectively. Communication is a big problem between employees and upper management. Supervisors have it rough, as certain members of management are incompetent and are unable to plan and communicate tasks in a clear and timely manner. Then, when things don't get done, it's their fault when in truth it is management's. There are many problems in the company right now and no clear game plan. The atmosphere in my department is increasingly negative. Many are eager to leave the company. Softlayer has already terminated a number of employees. Part of it is a scheme to oust the remaining Planet employees; there were dozens when the merger occurred and now, barely two years later, only a few remain. Most have either quit or gotten the boot. Softlayer may not be able to handle the mass exodus when it happens. Short staffing is common now and mandatory overtime is starting to occur (good luck fighting for your weekend when it does). Rules and rigidness have been increasing. They are cheapskates when it comes to taking care of their employees: They took away the title of 'supervisor' just so they can pay 'supervisors' the same as regular technicians. They also do not stand behind employees who make mistakes. Expect them to frequently skip standard policy and wave threats of written warnings and termination for committing one-time mistakes. I have seen or heard of several who were let go in this manner, and while some may have been warranted, not all of them were. Trust me, almost all of upper management does not care about the employees under them and will not lift a finger to help any of them. They love to make 'examples' of people. The mentality in this company is not a healthy one for employees who wish to work their way into well paying and rewarding positions. Most of the good ones have abandoned ship to work for better run companies. Don't make the mistake of signing on... unless you really have no choice.

Advice to Senior ManagementNone, because as everyone who works here knows, they don't listen, nor do they care.

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

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Terrible company to work for.

Data Center Technician (Former Employee)
Dallas, TX

I worked at SoftLayer full-time for more than a year

ProsMy peers, that's honestly it.

ConsManagement is completely clueless, all the good people left the company already. Do not expect a pay raise. Pay for a data center technician is about $12/hour with horrible benefits. Expect long hours un-boxing servers, micro-management, and labor law violations. You will be treated horrible at this company, beware.

Advice to Senior ManagementStart acting like a good company and treat your employees better. With all the recent reviews I've read how have you guys not figured this out yet? Your employees are your most valuable asset. Softlayer does not have the right leadership in place to ever be a competitor to Amazon, Azure, or Rackspace but you guys can set an example for the mid/lower level hosts out there.

I was given a $200/year raise for my annual review as a top performer, we got a coffee mug for Christmas back in 2010.

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

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Senior Systems Administrator

Senior Systems Administrator (Former Employee)
Houston, TX

I worked at SoftLayer full-time for more than 3 years

Pros- There is no shortage of interesting problems. The issues the customers have are unique, and will definitely keep your plate full.
- They have their own clothing line.

Cons- The entire company does everything through the internal portal. This means none of it will apply to your future jobs.
- No raises, and a "no counter" policy. This speaks worlds of what they think of their employees. We aren't worth the extra money, or trying to keep.
- They put automation so high on the priority list that there are some serious fundamental flaws with the technology that get completely ignored.
- A lot of Developers and Admins have a serious attitude problem.
- They have a tattoo artist at company functions. These functions are also quite alcohol heavy. It was not uncommon for them to, encouraging drunk people to get a tattoo. The tattoo was free as long as the softlayer logo is somewhere in it. I find this completely irresponsible and childish.

Advice to Senior ManagementYou may want to look back at what The Planet did correctly. In the five years you didn't own that company, it made quite a bit of progress. During the merger, that was all thrown away. Simply mentioning the name "The Planet" got you nasty looks.

Treat your employees how you want them to treat your company. If you treat them like they are expendable, they will walk... Especially if they are good at what they do.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Good experience for other jobs

Systems Administrator (Current Employee)
Houston, TX

I have been working at SoftLayer full-time for more than a year

ProsLots of good and helpful people, at least in Houston. Some good and helpful people in Dallas also but not a majority.

Experiences will be good on resume.

ConsIn the year I've been with the company, I've seen several people leave, and a few of them said their reason for leaving was that pay raises were scarce. These people were all veterans from before the merger with The Planet, so that should say something.

Advice to Senior ManagementCommit to giving yearly pay raises based on performance, or at least a yearly bonus, profit sharing, something.

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

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Worst Place I Have Ever Worked

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
Dallas, TX

I worked at SoftLayer full-time

ProsThe company tries to give you unique perks like casual dress code, free food and drinks in the kitchen, brings in lunches, and organize events.
Health benefits were pretty good.

ConsThe company always looked fun, but I don't think the fun culture really translates into the back office. It is different if you are in operations I think.
Company is transitioning. Upper management used to be very open door, and now a lot of the founders are leaving, which is really changing the company into this rigid, hierarchical culture.
They expect you to work a ton of overtime, and don't even thank you or anything. No bonuses offered.
The management really doesn't care about it's employees. They are so closed door and hard to get ahold of that you are lucky if you even get a word in when you pass them on the way to the bathroom.
This place has the potential to be a good place to work. It's a shame the mid-level and C-level management is really ruining it. And although I think it was moving in the right direction when I left, I don't think it will ever be that great because of the corporate attitude that is taking place instead of a more family environment.

Advice to Senior ManagementGive credit to your employees where it's due, even a little thank you can go a long way. You should be willing to train and develop your employees, not just let them go at a moments notice. Be available for your staff.

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

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I'm embarrassed to have worked there.

Senior MS SQL Database Administrator (Former Employee)
Houston, TX

I worked at SoftLayer full-time for more than a year

ProsVariety of customers and their issues made the job technically challenging. The terrible management provided opportunities to improve personal character, particularly patience, tolerance, and forgiveness.

ConsUpper management seems to be drunken fools who care only for themselves. For my team size we had 100% employee turnover every two years with most quitting in one year. My team had 5 managers in only a few years. Why, not enough room to descibe it here. For me the main offense was management promising things that they knew they could not deliver to customers and they were happy to let us on the front lines take the brunt of trying to deliver in an impossible situation.

Advice to Senior ManagementNo advice, they are happy to lie and collect money for what they don't do. They just want to go public and become even richer than they are. I view them as beyond human aid.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Awesome Co-workers, Horrible Technology

Software Engineer I (Former Employee)
Dallas, TX

I worked at SoftLayer full-time for less than a year

ProsReally awesome co-workers and free snacks (sodas, junk food, orange juice, etc)

ConsInterface team is forced to use the slow and horrible API which was built upon the horrible in-house ORM, resulting in a poor work environment, having to make too many design and user experience sacrifices, which results in a slow and sub-par product.

Advice to Senior ManagementMiddle management needs to be more vocal to upper management about the issues developers face. Issues are raised and even after 8 months there's no response.

Managers need to be more forceful and call out other teams on their crappy code instead of telling their own to find a way to work around major issues.

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

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at SoftLayer reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby. All 52 reviews posted anonymously by SoftLayer employees.