I worked at JAKKS Pacific (More than 3 years)
- Exciting toy brands and projects
- Creative environment
- Free k-cup coffee and updated office building
- A lot of places within walking distance including a park and many restaurants/food trucks
- For the most part, friendly supportive team
- HR organizes some fun events (ex: Jakks summer olympics, health fairs, group walks...)
- Some opportunity for traveling
- Fast paced and busy, if you like that
- Have your work featured in stores like Target, Walmart, Toys R Us...
- Involvement in meetings and product brainstorms
- Fun holiday parties
- A good place to start your career, but not to stay long term
- Certain people have insider scoop or sneak peeks on upcoming movies, tv and toys
- Very below industry pay rate. Especially for all of the hats you are expected to wear and all of the unpaid overtime
- Almost impossible to get promoted. Seems people only get and offer of promotion if they say they are leaving
- Absolutely no training. It's sink or swim, and that's literally how managers will explain it to you. Especially with very specialized projects... you will feel totally lost and uncomfortable with.
- Designers are expected to physically build their showroom designs. While some of this can be fun, there is a fine line of when you ask too much from one group of people. The design teams are so exceptionally talented and over worked here. They really run the show. Designers should only be creating the design and directing it. Not working with power tools and doing tasks they don't feel comfortable with or even meet their job requirements. It's simply too much. Designers are expected to preform their regular duties during these busy showroom building times and it's unrealistic. It clearly doesn't work, but management ignores it.
- No reviews or opportunities to talk about your future career path
- Poor management with a negative outlook. Most days I never even knew if my boss would show up to work. Everything had to get approved by the boss, so it held everything up and would make deadlines very tight and stressful
- Long, grueling hours. There are several months a year where designers are required to create toy fairs. I regularly worked until 10-11pm... I even had a few late nights that went well beyond the midnight hour! When you work late, they will wait until 8-9pm before they consider buying you a pizza. Your schedule will be so unpredictable, that you will never be able to make plans. It's ALL about work. Nobody on my team had a family with children... not many people are married even. It's not a flexible schedule, absolutely no balance.
- Hardly any vacation/sick time
- Extremely disorganized, lack of communication. I would have people from other teams come straight to me with something that was due in the next few hours and that was expected on a regular basis.
- High turn over rates and layoffs, that largely effected team productivity and morale
Advice to Management
-Create a healthier culture. Especially as a toy company, be more family friendly. Provide free snacks and drinks, not just k-cup coffee. You have large teams staying at all hours... help them out! Don't make them pay to use the kitchen. Take better care of everyone.
-Take a closer look at your management. There were several managers there that I wondered how they even got to that level. They didn't do much or even show up often. I noticed a few managers ran their teams by fear and panic. Managers should be calm and well aware... strong leaders! People beneath them were pulling ALL of the weight and getting paid close to nothing for it. This company has a lot of potential to be a dream job, but poor management is destroying it.
- Have regular reviews with your employees and learn how to communicate better. There is a lot of negativity and unhappiness... this is largely due to the lack of communication. People like to know where their careers are going and feel heard. Nobody should have to beg for what they deserve. This is a specialized industry, it's hard to replace good employees. Promote people to keep them!
- Recognize talent and don't tell someone they are too "green" to become something they want to be. Support your employees' goals and aspirations. Don't build walls and hold them down to a level they can never surpass.
- Hire project managers, we really need this work filtered and organized! This would take a huge burden off your creatives and allow them to be more creative!
- See where people are over worked and help your team so they can be more productive without staying at all hours of the night. That shouldn't be acceptable or normal. You should respect your employees time and personal lives.
- Hire a company to build showroom designs, or creative a team that is specialized to do it internally. People really need to own their own individual tasks so you can produce at a higher level as a whole. Don't cram too many tasks onto any one role.
- Don't make promises you can't keep.
I applied through a recruiter. I interviewed at JAKKS Pacific (Santa Monica, CA).
It was very straight forward and quick, I met with the director and supervisor. Mostly it was about showcasing your portfolio, talk about your design process and if you were familiar with the brand.
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