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I have been working at Software Engineering Institute full-time
Overall, it's a generally low-stress working environment with a fairly consistent stream of incoming work. Most staff members never work over 40 hours. The benefits are great (8% of salary automatically added to 403b, generous PTO). The pay is noticeably worse than the private sector, but marginally better than the public sector.
The leadership at this place has been described as "Dilbertian". Upper management is so out of touch with its workforce, the direction of the industry, and the morale of its staff. A heavy layer of middle management exists solely to do song and dance routines to the upper management; not to actually manage. I can expect a one-on-one conversation with my direct manager once every six months or so, and that's only because I initiate it. Our contracting rates are incredibly high due to enormous overhead (lots of middle management and support staff), so a lot of contracts are on arbitrary/bogus government projects that simply exist to burn money in someone's budget. It's demoralizing when you spend 6, 8, or 12 months working on a project only to have the government customer all but throw away the deliverables at the end. No thank you's, no feedback, no mental reward. It's not an isolated occurrence, either; it's happened to almost every project I've seen. It's very demotivating, and it's engrained into the culture here. My raises haven't even been on par with inflation since I started despite great performance reviews every year. Turnover has been high, and the talent that's coming in doesn't come close to matching the talent that's leaving.
Advice to Management
Retire. Seriously. Stop treating this organization as your cushy early retirement and just retire. Oh you don't want to retire? Then manage. Rather than only talking to us about the financial health of the organization every 3 months, walk around. Talk to us. Ask us what we're doing. Ask us *how* we're doing. Ask us what we'd like to see improve in the next 1 - 3 years. Actually *manage* us.