Space Exploration Technologies

  www.spacex.com
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Space Exploration Technologies Reviews

Updated August 17, 2014
Updated August 17, 2014
157 Reviews

3.9
157 Reviews
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Space Exploration Technologies CEO and CTO Elon Musk
Elon Musk
127 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Fast-paced environment with many opportunities to make a difference for those who are intelligent and motivated (in 16 reviews)

  • Stock options are valuable and are a financial opportunity very few outside of software ever get (in 12 reviews)


Cons
  • No work-life balance for the people who work on the production floor (in 17 reviews)

  • People complain about long hours, but nobody forces you to stay for 10-12 hours a day (in 31 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Responsible Engineer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Responsible Engineer  in  Hawthorne, CA
    Current Employee - Responsible Engineer in Hawthorne, CA

    I have been working at Space Exploration Technologies full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    -Food (quality)
    -Flexible hours
    -Culture: very open; wear what you want, speak your mind (except to upper management)
    -Lots of opportunities. It's easy to get lost in tasks. Know its YOUR career - and take control so that you are growing yourself; not just always fighting fires.

    Cons

    -Company expects a LOT from you, and you will be treated like you can be replaced anytime with a younger, more energetic body.
    -Poor work life balance. It's up to you to use your time wisely, and know your limits.
    -Production are a bunch of cliques. You're either in, or not. Get rid of them!
    -Compensation drops significantly after 5 years.
    -COL is high in LA, yet the pay is the same at all locations.
    -Stock given out nowadays is negligible. Compensate by giving salary that is at least competitive.
    -Stacked rankings
    -Elon changes his mind on what he wants on a regular basis. Sure the company is his conception, but he is not helpful. He often sends company wide emails asking us to change what our focus is. It's never thought through - and tells everyone to drop what they are doing; attend the next fire; all while what we were working on's fire keeps growing. Oh, and schedule doesn't slip because of this - he expects we just take on more because he said so. It's obvious he does not think of any details if you listen to what he says (eg. company meetings)

    Can I live with the above? Yes. Do I love it? Yes. But I doubt I'll stay after my stocks are invested.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Let's build some rockets and spaceships; end the cliques.
    -Give incentive of staying after 5 years. Most people lose an insane amount in compensation after 5 years; making it not worthwhile to stay. These folks have a lot of knowledge that is not easily replaced. Pay them so they have option of staying rather than them going to the competitor.
    -We all give up a lot to be at SpaceX, and pull a lot of miracles back to back. Compensate us for them. A 3-6% raise is a disgrace for kicking butt day in and day out. It demoralizes people. Give us a real raise and bonus. If not, give us some extra time off as a 'bonus'.
    -Get rid of stacked rankings. They destroy companies and teams.
    -Scare tactics of firing folks for no reason doesn't make people work harder. In fact, it does the opposite where folks stop caring.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 6 people found this helpful  

    No Place Like It

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

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - In all areas of the company, a person will find fast paced work, high expectations, creativity, brilliance and challenging work. You are pushed to be the best, beyond what you thought you were initially capable of.
    - Awards for hard work
    - Onsite restaurant, coffee and ice cream bar
    - Swag
    - Being part of history
    - Working with brilliant people

    Cons

    - If you are an engineer who is above average (exceptional to the outside world) you will do fine. If you are not an engineer, you don't count.
    - If you are not above average every moment of every day of every week of every month of every year, you will not be successful or find career satisfaction. Is SpaceX impacting history? Yes, it is. And, many of my coworkers paid/are paying the price and sacrificing their personal lives to reach "the dream." (We joke that we're the #1 cause for being single, break ups and divorces.)
    - Is it "cool" to work for Elon? Sure it is. He has vision and courage to impact the future. There's a price to pay for working for a "cool" company.
    - Designs/direction that keeps changing. Any small change has a ripple effect on each rocket produced and each launch that is scheduled. We had an awesome launch from VAFB. On time and flawless. Why change what worked? Yes, there is room for improvement but consistent perfection needs to happen first.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Employees, especially those who were with Spx for any length of time, have the company's back. We want the company to succeed. This is why we joined the company. We knew it was going to be hard, challenging work. Some even knew it would be super tough but joined anyway. Know that the employees are dedicated and want what is best for SpaceX.
    - Treat people like human beings rather than resources that are expendable. Take employees' concerns seriously especially when they don't come from the suggestion box.
    - Listen to and believe the people who are truth tellers, even when you don't want to. The company hired HR from the east coast who was allowed to dismantle the HR department. Top execs were lead to believe that the HR team was worthless. There were several key HR people in place during 2013 who were rock solid HR people and truth tellers. They had a pulse on what was going on in the organization. They were not afraid to fight for what was right. They were the only people not afraid to tell it "like it is" which is what the owner wanted. They were the ones with suggestions and saw the pain points. They were the ones who connected with us. Somehow, all of those people the business units relied on have been excused from their roles during the dismantling of the department. You want to fix what's going on....maybe they should be brought back. Same can be said for a few who are no longer there for political reasons.
    - Don't keep "squeaky wheel" performers - it's easier to point the finger at at coworker than take responsibility for oneself. You think they are telling you all of the "gossip" and "keeping it real." Squeaky wheels are the last people you should believe or give an audience to.
    - Don't think you are immune to the laws. Don't try to sidestep or be "creative" to not follow them.
    - Be objective. Don't allow personal feelings or "peer pressure" from other executives or managers influence your decisions about any operation that affects the employees.
    - Have integrity.Follow your own ethics policy.
    - Always tell the truth. Always... even it it means admitting that you are tremendously wrong.
    - Stop firing people for reasons you think are justifiable. If you are going to let an employee go, do it with class and do it the right way. The employee you let go, in most cases, scarified a tremendous amount and accomplished a great deal for the company. Don't kick them as they are pushed out the door. Allow people to leave with respect and dignity intact instead of insulted, used, surprised and angry.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Fun job...not the hours

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies full-time

    Pros

    Great opportunities. Be a part of something greater than yourself. Excellent compensation and benefits

    Cons

    LONG hours (minimum 10hr days), Management can be bull-headed. Very clique-oriented

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on the positives in an employee, not just the deficits

    Recommends
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  5.  

    Excited to Go Into Work Every Day

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

    I have been working at Space Exploration Technologies full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great opportunity for growth, incredibly exciting environment, and very rewarding culture.

    Cons

    Work life balance is limited

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I don't mind working long hours to get my job done. In fact, it's easy for me because I so heavily believe in the mission! Please consider letting us choose RSUs or Options for things like Kick-Ass Awards or promotion awards. My family really appreciated the flexibility in this area when we had the ability to choose for our merit.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Always in "URGENCY" mode

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

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies

    Pros

    Interesting, inovative, exciting, ground breaking place to work. The company has good health benefits and had a good employee stock option plan (don't know what it is now, probably stock grants)

    Cons

    The company has changed from a small dynamic place to work into a larger "very political" place to work. At the Cape, VP, Director, and Managers have all quit recently (2014) and given way to the younger less technically capable and inexperienced. No work/life balance, you are expected to be "ON" and in "URGENCY" mode ALL the time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop treating people as your most disposable commodity. Working people long hours and placing high levels of stress on them and then forcing them out (quitting, firing) will lead to cynicism and ultimate failure.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Busy, rewarding, high expectations, with a limited ceiling.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lead Test Technician  in  McGregor, TX
    Current Employee - Lead Test Technician in McGregor, TX

    I have been working at Space Exploration Technologies full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good benefits overall (no retirement). Pay varies greatly for the same positions, but is good when the overtime is factored in. It can be challenging work that has high expected performance levels. Very satisfying when you see the results of your work.

    Cons

    Very poor work/life balance. There is little to no understanding of people enjoying anything but space/rocketry. No retirement, the stock options offered are a joke at this point. No real training. Very engineer orientated, if you didn't go to college to be an engineer, you are basically a second class citizen (no matter your experience/education level).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The high quality talent you are seeking to employee/keep employed are running away because of the common knowledge that there is no work/life balance here. Combine that with limited growth, no retirement and a sense that your job is always on the line, I am amazed anyone stays for any length of time. Treat employees like they mean more than an old set of tools. Have some respect for all workers, not just the darling engineers.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Overall good experience, but forget about work life balance

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

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Exciting industry, leading technology. If lucky enough you get to work on rockets. You get to say you 'work for spacex' and you get to post about it on your facebook. At family functions, everyone will want to hear about the exciting job you have.

    Cons

    Some managers don't understand work life balance. They will treat you like a robot, expect long travel (3 weeks plus for me), not want to give you any of that time back in vacation.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Some managers are great. others need to understand that employees are people with lives and they deserve time to spend with them.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 10 people found this helpful  

    Not as great as you would think...dreading going into work these days.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Design Engineer  in  Hawthorne, CA
    Current Employee - Design Engineer in Hawthorne, CA

    I have been working at Space Exploration Technologies full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    People on the outside think it's cool.

    Cons

    You have to park miles away and shuttle into the facility every day - 30 mins each way -you lose an hour each day - no one tells you this when you are interviewing FYI, but go ahead and ask and see what they say about it.
    We have to work mandatory saturdays for months at a time - no pay adjustment for it. You sit in a massive room with 300 engineers and it's hard to get anything done. You are a number, chained to your desk, you cannot work from home, ever. No work like balance. The management is terrible and the projects are misdirected. I think they just hire a bunch of engineers from top schools and then cut a third of them each year or people just leave. It's depressing. Everyone's unhappy and looking over their shoulder. We got yelled at once by the CEO for working until 730pm and then getting the free dinner (not free anymore) and going home, he said it was only for people working - as if working until 730pm meant you are not dedicated. I have read the positive reviews on here and it seems to be fabricated by people who are not engineers or written by ppl stil drinking the koolaid. One of the comments on here (march 2013) starts with "NOTE: This is written by an engineer" or something like that and it sounds like someone from their marketing team wrote it, it wouldn't surprise me. We run way too lean it just pads the senior management's pockets while we are in the trenches slaving away, all while being told it's not enough, they are driving their teslas and parking in elite spots.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This is pointless, they will not listen, but what the heck: spend less money on free yogurt and in house crappy dining food and more money on hiring better manager who are experienced.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    Servitude on a $5 Rocket Platter

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engineer  in  Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Engineer in Los Angeles, CA

    I have been working at Space Exploration Technologies full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    NONE "free yogurt" is not a perk, it's a way to entice college kids, sort of like guys in vans with candy. Think about it.

    Cons

    SO MANY I CANNOT LIST ALL AVOID. you cant take vacation, understaffed and we are in need of serious help, cant make our deadlines, setting us up to fail, no work life balance, no room to be creative, not fun anymore.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I will be leaving in less than a year if I dont see a huge change in the work-life balance.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Human Resources

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Human Resources  in  Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Human Resources in Los Angeles, CA

    I worked at Space Exploration Technologies full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Rockets are super cool, no question about it. Even if they can't build them to meet deadlines.

    Cons

    Very poor leadership at top of company. Founder has zero EQ.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire professional executives at top of company. Grow up.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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