The Option Institute Reviews

Updated March 15, 2015
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2.6
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Bears Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman
15 Ratings

23 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    Working at the Option Institute has helped me grow so much professionally and personally.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Team in Sheffield, MA
    Current Employee - Sales Team in Sheffield, MA

    I have been working at The Option Institute full-time (More than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Salary is low and does not increase w/ advancements.

    Advice to Management

    Increase salary to decrease turnover.


  2. Helpful (2)

    Blamed and broken

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

    I worked at The Option Institute

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Beautiful campus, newer buildings are nice

    Cons

    Ideals no one can live up to, letting go of employees all the time and blaming the ones left for not being able to keep up. Passive aggressive attitude of management under the guise of authenticity.

    Advice to Management

    Take more care of your employees, take more ownership of your own faults.

    The Option Institute Response

    Jun 9, 2015Chief Operating Officer

    Restructuring can be challenging to employees. Change is often stressful and hard for employees in any organization, used to accomplishing tasks in a particular way. I personally am very excited ... More


  3. Helpful (2)

    Stuck in the past

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

    I have been working at The Option Institute full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    the classes taught help so many people, the mountain location is beautiful

    Cons

    in a time warp. Looks like the 70s. employees are pressured in a million ways - to be in classes, to work super long hours. everything is important, no matter how small. always an emergency.

    Advice to Management

    retire. either close the place down or let someone else run it. does this place have a future? seems management is only interested in the past.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Not so good.

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

    I have been working at The Option Institute full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Workshops can be helpful to participants. If you drink the kool aide of the culture of this employer, you will absolutely love this employer. The physical location is rural and an absolutely beautiful geographic environment to work within.

    Cons

    Leadership. Employees are expected to drink the kool aide culture of the employer. Executive Director has a larger-than-life ego. I

    Advice to Management

    Be flexible. Allow employers who believe in and committed to fulfilling your mission, but not willing to drink your kool aide culture, to work for you.


  6. Helpful (1)

    The worst place on earth

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Volunteer in Sheffield, MA
    Current Employee - Volunteer in Sheffield, MA

    I have been working at The Option Institute

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Encouraging colleagues to get some confidence and self respect enough to leave and enjoy real world employment

    Cons

    Management systematically breaks down your free will and optimism under the guise of helpful critique. They want only to appease the insatiable ego of Barry Kaufman often at any and every expense. To disagree (even politely and professionally) with management ensures you to endure certain mental torture and ridicule. Thoughts and ideas cannot be freely verbalized without fear of evil reprisal. This is most certainly true in my experience as well as others before me. All of these negative reviews cannot be false, made up, plagiarized, or exaggerated. Stop trying to explain them all away and own the demented and cruel environment you have created. Please.

    Advice to Management

    Sell the business and use the beauty of the land for hikers. Golf resort was a good suggestion.


  7. Helpful (3)

    Overworked, Underpaid and a Trampled Soul

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

    I have been working at The Option Institute full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Not many to call to mind.

    Cons

    If you want to work at a spooky place, this should be your Shangri-La. Staff are expected to work at frantic pace with enormous attention to detail on the payscale of a high school worker. Everything you do will be scrutinized with a near impossible standard to meet. Not only that, but if you don't follow every standard of the Institute like a sheep you will be met with outsider status and will be shunned. If you want to become a mindless zealot, this is your heaven.


  8. Helpful (2)

    Over worked and underpaid

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Child Facilitator in Sheffield, MA
    Former Employee - Child Facilitator in Sheffield, MA

    I worked at The Option Institute

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    If you lack a purpose in life you well might find one here. A masochistic paradise.

    Cons

    Few jobs if any require such devotion. I've heard of attention to detail but options wants attention to minutia. The details of details are scrutinized with great voracity. I would not recommend this job for individuals with families or individuals that have lives of their own.

    Advice to Management

    Please look at work loads and salaries! Then consider the benefits of reinventing yourself as a retirement community.

    The Option Institute Response

    Dec 15, 2014Chief Operating Officer

    At Option, we help families during very challenging times, whether it is with a child on the autism spectrum, or with a greater life challenge. As such, we take our commitment to these families very ... More


  9. Helpful (4)

    Cult-Like Atmosphere

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

    I worked at The Option Institute full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Beautiful 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.

    Cons

    I 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 Management

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

    The Option Institute Response

    May 21, 2014Chief Operating Officer

    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


  10. Working at the Option Institute was one my greatest experiences

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Receptionist/Administrative Assistant in Sheffield, MA
    Former Employee - Receptionist/Administrative Assistant in Sheffield, MA

    I worked at The Option Institute part-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The 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.

    Cons

    Although 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 Management

    As 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.


  11. This has been the most supportive environment I have ever worked in.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Sheffield, MA
    Current Employee - Director in Sheffield, MA

    I have been working at The Option Institute part-time (More than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

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

    Cons

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



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