Thermopylae Sciences & Technology

  www.t-sciences.com
  www.t-sciences.com

Thermopylae Sciences & Technology Reviews

Updated October 10, 2014
Updated October 10, 2014
12 Reviews
3.6
12 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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AJ Clark
7 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Overpromise, underdeliver

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technical Writer in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Technical Writer in Arlington, VA

    I worked at Thermopylae Sciences & Technology full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    + Positive work environment. A casual, Big Bang Theory-like atmosphere where the company and its employees do serious work but don’t take themselves too seriously.

    + Excellent benefits. Four weeks of PTO for sick and vacation, two flex days, flexible spending account preloaded with $5k, excellent health and dental insurance, 401k, revenue sharing, and holiday bonuses. HR always has interesting and fun events from happy hours to karaoke to keep employees happy and engaged.

    + Interesting and innovative work. I learned much about Agile software, REST software, and numerous Google apps and how a startup operates.

    + Company is always looking to improve and innovate its products, expand its market (overpromise).

    Cons

    - Executive management is unclear on how to accomplish said goals (underdeliver).

    - Thermopylae’s system of documentation is horribly disorganized. Instead of having one centralized system for all its technical documents, there were five different systems depending on which project you were working on.

    - Lack of mentorship/direction. As an entry-level technical writer I didn’t receive much if any training on how to effectively do my job and was left to my own devices to figure out what managers and engineers wanted.

    - High turnover. Many of the people who were there when I started left within months of my hire, including the engineering management officer who hired me.

    - Seven months after I was hired I was abruptly laid off despite a positive review of my work a few months earlier. I received no notification or warning until HR called me down and told me that there weren’t enough billable hours for technical writing. Because there was one other technical writer but was hired after me, I can only surmise that they paid her less, keeping her and firing me. You would think that in a state of downsizing, a company would follow a “first hired, last fired” rule but I guess not. As a recent college graduate trying to find and keep a job in a difficult economy while paying off debt, this layoff was just unfair. It left me reeling for three months before I found another job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be clear about what your goals are and have a plan to accomplish them.
    Offer some sort of mentorship or training program so that new hires can learn about this industry and effectively do their jobs.
    Notify someone weeks before their termination date if they are going to become a cost of doing business. If employees must give two weeks notice, so should HR.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Going down hill and speeding up

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

    I worked at Thermopylae Sciences & Technology full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Casual dress code. Company uses Google Hangouts and Google Apps for collaboration.

    - Flexible on work location. Many of the staff members are remote employees that are in different states and countries.

    - Get to use Good Hardware.

    - The tech support team is awesome for resolving internal issues regarding equipment. They make sure everyone has what they need to do their job effectively and realize the workers need an environment to be productive.

    Cons

    Most organizations claim to have lofty goals and values, but many fall flat when you look at what actually matters to them in how they reward or disincentivise certain behaviours and environments. Thermopylae’s problems are many and deep, but can generally be broken into two distinct categories: compensation and environment.

    Compensation
    The annual review process, or lack there of, has no bearing on raises and bonus. Raises are less than inflation and bonuses appear to be based purely on social status.

    There is little to no opportunity for career or skills growth. There is no pathway to being respected for technical skills. Employees should be able to become an expert in a field and teach their co-workers what they’ve learned. There appears to be an inferiority complex amongst many in management and some engineers that actively punishes initiative takers and keeps the company from realizing it’s potential. To make matters worse, the company has a tiny training budget that most don’t qualify for.

    Employees are constantly in fire fighting mode and expected to work 60+ hours to “overcome challenges”. At the same time, salaries are below average and there is no overtime paid for time beyond 40 hours.

    Environment
    Many companies are highly productive by being a flat organization, but Thermopylae uses it to hide problems and maintain chaos. Experts in fields are ignored, skills go unrecognized and good people are underutilized. There is no accountability to deliver the best solution and there are no consequences for failure...people just get moved around. It’s a pretty easy job to stay at if you’re interested in not doing much of anything.

    There are rumors that Thermopylae has asked specific employees to write reviews on glassdoor taking away anonymity or objectivity. I don't know if the rumors are true, but 4 of the 5 star reviews here were posted within a 2 day period by current employees...it seems fishy. No one is going to write an honest review when HR is going to check what you wrote.

    Management often makes promises to appease or acquire employees but avoids following through by using excuses like “business needs”. Why make promises you can’t keep?

    They use last years government slowdown as an excuse for poor morale and people quitting (averaging 1 per week for months). Good companies get better in slowdowns. They improve their position and improve their core staff. Thermopylae did the opposite.

    While management claims the opposite, their behavior makes it clear that Thermopylae is a consulting company, not a product company. There are more people working in management than developing products. There are 3 products, but these are used to get consulting contracts (often completely unrelated to what the products actually do). The number of product sales could be counted on 1 hand.

    My reason for leaving was not a snap judgement. I’m not one to complain to management about paying me more. Everyone can always go get more money by switching jobs. I realize that you can’t get a raise every time you ask or always get your way. Before my departure I decided I would stick it out and see if it would be better in a year (either in the sense of acquiring more technical talent or financially). When that date came around, I made the decision to start entertaining offers. If Thermopylae’s issues had improved, I would have stayed, but I didn’t see myself better a year from now. I honestly believe it is still getting worse.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Realize that the people choose to work for your company, not because they have to.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Opportunity for those who want it

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

    I have been working at Thermopylae Sciences & Technology full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great corporate culture
    Lots of opportunity; employees have to seize that if they want to grow
    Access to upper management

    Cons

    High expectations for everyone; this sometimes means putting in a lot of hours and making some real commitments to overcome some difficult challenges

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Maintain as much integration between technical and non-technical staff as possible

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great place to start a career!

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

    I have been working at Thermopylae Sciences & Technology full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    TST is a great place to work professionally and socially. I've learned (and am continuing to learn) a lot and have sharpen many previously developed skills.

    Career growth is endless here, if you have the desire to grow.

    I can honestly say, I look forward to coming to work. The frequent happy hours, surprise lunches/breakfast, health days, ice cream socials, annual cake and beer (mimosa for me) and game room shenanigans are amazing!

    Cons

    No cons at the moment!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work with the open door policy. I enjoying speaking with the CEO, CFO and or COO at anytime.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    I have enjoyed my experience working at Thermopylae

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

    I have been working at Thermopylae Sciences & Technology full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    - Great leadership. The management works hard to foster meaningful relationships with employees and it is reflected in the quality of work.
    - The balance of work / personal life is acknowledged and supported. I have always had positive encouragement to take time to balance out my social and personal life with my work life. There are also a lot of employee morale and team building events and activities throughout the year.
    - Career growth. Many employees, including myself, have been able to move positions within the company to grow and develop their careers. There is a lot of opportunity for mobility within the company, and many employees have taken advantage of it to the betterment of their careers and the company’s overall operation.
    - General work culture. Thermopylae’s work culture offers an environment where employees are commended and acknowledged for their hard work and are able to see projects come to fruition. Also, since it is a small company, the opportunity to get to know your coworkers is easy
    - Benefits. Health and compensation benefits are above average at Thermopylae!

    Cons

    - Lax environment / dress code can sometimes give a dull impression, though it does not affect daily work life

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Comfortable work environment with great people.

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

    I have been working at Thermopylae Sciences & Technology full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I very much enjoy the environment at TST. The casual dress code is great bonus, especially in the summer. I feel like the company cares about my well being. Easy to get close with your team. Generous PTO and benefits. Snacks and drinks is a nice perk too.

    Cons

    They have tried to spruce up the office the best they can, but the building its in really isn't all that great.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    One of the best places I've ever worked

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

    I have been working at Thermopylae Sciences & Technology full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    I'm a software developer, and my work at TST has been both challenging and enjoyable. I work remotely, so I can't speak to how everything works at the primary office, but I know that as a developer, I feel like I'm important and valued whenever I interact with any of my coworkers.

    The projects are interesting and intense, and management does a great job interfacing with customers so that those of us doing the technical work have a good picture of what needs to be accomplished and when.

    Cons

    It can feel like the people who's job it is to interface with customers can be a bit overworked -- like it's difficult to get ahold of Project Managers sometimes because they seem to be running six different projects at once, which can make scheduling meetings or getting customer feedback difficult at times.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Jumping with no reserve.

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

    I worked at Thermopylae Sciences & Technology full-time

    Pros

    The technology, the whole technology, and nothing but the technology. Anybody doing Android and iOS coupled with pre-release access to Google toys would fall into a PRO bucket.

    Cons

    Leadership, management, and progress without a compass. Seems the 'light bulb over the head' just-in-time philosophy rules the day.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You can Google some of your staff all of the time and you can Google all of your staff some of the time, but you cannot Google all of your staff all of the time.

    Find_your_own_identity and own it.

    Divide and conquer the in-house fifedoms of self-preservation by those who do not have C?O in front of their name.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    Flying by the seat of their pants

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Arlington, VA

    I have been working at Thermopylae Sciences & Technology full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Environment wise TST has been a wonderful place to work. There are a lot of intelligent, funny, and genuinely caring people. Work hours are very flexible, you can leave early and work from home as needed. The important part is that the work is getting done. There are plenty of work related events and happy hours.

    The technology is interesting but still mostly sitting at untapped potential. Doing well at your job will quickly propel you into a leadership role.

    Cons

    TST is not for the new graduate. The pay is lower then most companies to the point where it is borderline insulting. There is a lot that the company need to do in terms of mentorship. If you are not a self starter you should stay away! A lot of the work will have you learning different technologies and exploring mostly undocumented code bases. Disorganization inside of the company can lead to awkward and frustrating exchanges with management and customers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Setup mentorship programs and define project roadmaps. Stop over committing to project sinkholes. Bring in more technical savvy people and listen to their recommendation. Cut the fat by getting rid of employees that are not pulling their weight. Stop letting customer dictate your products.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  11. 4 people found this helpful  

    Lots of promise, lacking in delivery

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

    I have been working at Thermopylae Sciences & Technology full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The work environment is very casual -- as long as you roll in before your first meeting and put in your 40 hours then no one will bother you. People sometimes envy that the workers here can come in wearing shorts and flip flops. The software that is developed has great potential. The people are generally very fun to talk to and happy hours are a frequent event.

    Cons

    The company seems to lack direction with the products. Technical people get bored of the contracts as each new project hardly feels new. Money is wasted on social events if it isn't spent on hiring better employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's easy to sell the company to a person looking for a fun-filled company that likes to party as hard as they work. At the end of the day, people will look to party less and they will realize that besides the atmosphere, TST does not have much to offer. There is a reason why there is a high turnover rate on good technical employees -- trust their input and cut the bad people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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