The Option Institute

  www.option.org
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The Option Institute Reviews

Updated May 13, 2014
The Option Institute – Sheffield – “Beautiful Campus”

All Employees Current Employees Only

3.5 17 reviews

89% Approve of the CEO

(no image)

Bears Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman

(9 ratings)

67% of employees recommend this company to a friend
17 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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    Working at the Option Institute has helped me grow so much professionally and personally.

    Sales Team (Current Employee) Sheffield, MA

    ProsCaring staff, great learning environment, able to make a difference in people's lifes.

    ConsSalary is low and does not increase w/ advancements.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIncrease salary to decrease turnover.

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

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    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Cult-Like Atmosphere

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsBeautiful location. International atmosphere with clients from all over the world. Some good food. Some nice, liberal, open-minded staff. Some of the teachings of the Son-Rise Program are helpful and sweet.

    ConsI would not recommend working for this company. Essentially, the founders and family are making out financially (and through people's misery) while everyone else is hardly paid (and continually made to feel bad that they are not working hard enough). Unless you agree with all the teachings, you are on the outside and will never be accepted. The teaching roster consists mainly of the Kaufman family without any outside sources coming in to teach. Because of this, they are considered a cult and I would agree with this statement. Barry Neil 'Bears' Kaufman wants to be venerated and worshipped - you practically have to eat out of his hand when he enters the room (or be treated cruelly by him for the rest of your time there). He uses his power to tear people down only to build people back up the way he wants to. He incarcerates and ensnares the weak with his manipulative tactics and narcissistic antics. His wife is not much better. They are sham artists who clearly don't care about people as they treat their employees horribly (hardly paying them, asking them to work continuously, making them feel bad about themselves by verbally attacking them), while by comparison the guests and participants are treated very well. These are not do-gooders, rather they are powermongers who just want to be idolized and venerated.

    I have personally encountered Bears Kaufman calling people morbidly obese (fat-shaming is one of his favorites), stupid, and lazy, for all intensive purposes. He says it all under the guise of 'wanting to help them and love them by speaking from an authentic place.' I really do not know how this guy does not get sued every day.

    They are constantly attempting to downplay their 'cult' reputation by spinning damage control. Even if you look at the reviews on this site, you will see that clearly that employees were told to write good reviews at a certain period in time. They were contracted in January of 2014. It is obvious. The reviews are mostly from current employees and are flowery in description. In my mind, this is not professional in the slightest. If you treat your employees well, clearly you would not have to do co-erce employees to show their respect for your company online and contract them to do so.

    Not a place I recommend to work. I wish I could say the opposite was true.

    Advice to Senior ManagementInterdepartmental communication and ability to access feedback from employees. Departments do not communicate well and are fragmented.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    The Option Institute Chief Operating Officer responded to this review

    May 21, 2014

    It would be challenging for OI to 'prove' that what this person is saying is blatantly false, but there is one place where I can easily show this person to be untruthful.

     That area is regarding
    ... More
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    Working at the Option Institute was one my greatest experiences

    Receptionist/Administrative Assistant (Former Employee) Sheffield, MA

    ProsThe management staff was extremely understanding when I transitioned from full-time to part-time due to outside circumstances. They were extremely flexible in allowing for multiple schedule changes. The staff as a whole is amazing, the kindness and caring qualities of the staff members are unlike any other workplace I have been employed. Co-workers as well as management staff are always encouraging and looking for feedback, as well as give feedback to help everyone improve themselves as an employee as well as a person. These qualities in a staff team are amazing because it creates a comfortability as well as an almost family style dynamic.

    ConsAlthough the staff is great and the work fulfilling, it can be difficult sometimes due to lack of inter-department communication. The communication within a department is clear, although when it comes to working with other departments, there can be lack of or mis-communication.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAs I was on my transition out of the Option Institute, they began having more staff meetings and solidifying the team to make sure that staff was on the same page and I think this is a great idea. I think that more staff meetings would be great so that communication is clearer and that ideas and concerns and be discussed and expressed.

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

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
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    This has been the most supportive environment I have ever worked in.

    Director (Current Employee) Sheffield, MA

    ProsThe services provided to children with Autism and their families is truly inspiring, the staff is upbeat and supportive

    ConsThere are so many families in need there is often so much to be done

    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  

    Working at The Option Institute

    Manager (Current Employee) Sheffield, MA

    ProsI get to work in a place that I know is making a big difference in the world.
    I love that my day is varied.
    I have many opportunities to grow and learn new things.
    Many opportunities to advance within the company
    I feel respected by my colleagues
    I have a good wage.
    I work in a beautiful environment.
    I have a great vacation benefit package

    ConsAlthough I get a lot of vacation time which is a benefit I love, I am restricted as to when I can take it due to my job responsibilities.

    – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Has been and continues to be a nurturing, full-filling, challenging and inspiring experience for the past 10 years.

    Teacher (Current Employee) Sheffield, MA

    ProsWhat is taught (how to choose happiness and be more loving and accepting) is also modeled and implemented with staff and throughout the organization, so it feels like a family community. It's a loving, open and honest place to work.

    ConsBecause it is a non-profit organizations, grand plans can be made and then not followed though with due to lack or resources and high staff turnover. So the direction The Institute is taking can be changed on a regular basis and large projects take a long time.

    Advice to Senior ManagementContinue to assess HR policies and protocols to revamp how The Option Institute serves it's staff and the community.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Great place to work as long as you are not looking for the normal 9-5 grind

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsOpen and caring staff and owners. New and challenging projects on a consistent basis. This job is a "make of it what you will" job, if you want it to be a miserable unhappy experience then that is what it will be however if you genuinely like to be challenged and have unique and non routine experiences then this is the place to work. The Option Institute is very open to rising stars and rewards excellence with excellence. If you are just looking to keep your head down and get a paycheck every two weeks then this is not the place to come.

    ConsAlong with the uniqueness and new challenges there can be unrealistic expectations and unreasonable deadlines for projects however once you understand that these unreasonable expectations and deadlines are ideals and if you believe we should always strive for our ideals then this becomes less of a Con and more of a challenge to be met with clever, out of the box solutions.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTrust the people you have and if you feel you can't trust them get rid of them. There are many staff members that have terrific ideas and truly care about The Option Institute however they are afraid to voice their ideas for fear of then being held accountable if the idea doesn't pan out. Stop worrying so much about who's at fault for something. You will have so many more employees stepping up with full excellence and follow through if they are not concerned that if they make a misstep they will end up losing managements trust.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    rewarding work in the beautiful Berkshires

    Manager (Current Employee) Sheffield, MA

    Prosmy work at The Option Institute is extremely rewarding -- I see on a daily basis how our non-profit transforms and improves the lives of families with children challenged by autism as well as individuals seeking happier more fulfilling lives. I work with people I like and know that what I do makes a difference. I love that we work very internationally even though we're really in the country!

    Consat times the workload is very challenging which I am accustomed to from my expereince in both the for profit and non-profit world

    Advice to Senior Managementreconsider staffing levels and always be open to new opportunities using new technology

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

    The Option Institute Chief Operating Officer responded to this review

    Jan 9, 2014

    Thank you for your comments! Particularly your note about the workload. As a part of the new HR projects that I'm sure you're aware of, know that an evaluation of roles and responsibilities (which ... More
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Unusual but Inspiring

    Administrative (Former Employee) Sheffield, MA

    ProsI enjoyed the work I did, loved my team and left work most Friday afternoons feeling content that I was a part of an organization that is changing lives. Option and Son-Rise do amazing work. I knew nothing about the Option Process or Son-Rise Program going into my interview, and was very surprised by the atmosphere I stumbled into. I chose to apply some but not all of the Option precepts to my life, and never felt judged for how much or how little of the Process I took part in. 75% of the staff were extremely motivated and friendly, and I made some life-long friends among my colleagues. I would, and have, recommended OI to my friends.

    ConsPeople have and will continue to call it a cult, and while I dispute that claim, I will say that some of the guests do worship Bears and Samahria to an unhealthy degree. As an employee in the service industry, it's just something you need to put up with. It's a small non-profit organization that is not rapidly expanding, so I saw little opportunity to scurry up the corporate ladder. That being said, I was content with the position I was at, while knowing that it wouldn't be a career. I left because I got a better offer, not because I disliked my job. If you walk into the interview thinking it's a cult or pre-judging the Option Process/Son-Rise Program, then you'll find what you're looking for.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTake the suggestions of the new blood. The corporate world is changing, and Option needs to follow it or will continue its' struggle to retain talented employees.

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

    The Option Institute Chief Operating Officer responded to this review

    Jan 9, 2014

    Thank you for your feedback about job vs. career. That is a valuable note that will help us figure out how best to convey the job opportunities for a career path. We do have them, and we want ... More
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    1 person found this helpful  

    Great organization doing meaningful work, in time of change

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsMiracles happen every day where I work - I get to hear from parents whose children have spoken to them for the first time, after using the methods we teach here. Every day, I wake up knowing that the work I do helps these families achieve unbelievable things with their children on the spectrum.
    Day to day, I work with people who are incredibly open to change and who are much more flexible than any workplace I've ever been in.
    People really care about you here, both personally and professionally.

    ConsThis organization's business practices haven't kept up with its growing impact in the world. This is understandable given the fact it started as one family's mission, over 30 years ago. Many current practices are outdated, restrictive, inefficient and stifling. Good news is that I see this changing due to some recent new hires and the work they are doing together with existing management.

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep doing what you're doing. I see that things are changing, and I like the way they are changing!

    – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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