Bottle Rocket Employee Reviews about "work environment"

Updated Nov 9, 2017

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3.8
72%
Recommend to a Friend
78%
Approve of CEO
Bottle Rocket Founder and CEO Calvin Carter (no image)
Calvin Carter
56 Ratings
Pros
  • "Unlimited vacation and they are very flexible for vacation requests(in 8 reviews)

  • "Great work environment, cool office vibe, smart people, encouraging colleagues, problem solvers(in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • "That being said, there is a defined timeline to move into a larger office space(in 5 reviews)

  • "The work/life balance is horrible(in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

Reviews about "work environment"

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  1. "Top Tier App Development Company"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IOS Engineer in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Bottle Rocket full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Big clients, cool ideas, passionate people, fantastic work/life balance, ongoing learning opportunities, modern office, nurturing work environment, self-managed vacation policy.

    Cons

    Not sure there are many cons. In fact, one would be hard pressed to provide even a single con. Salaries seem lower than the industry average but the trade off is for a more favorable work/life balance.

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  2. Helpful (6)

    "Great company for getting started in Dev"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Android Developer in Addison, TX
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bottle Rocket for more than a year

    Pros

    Ability to work on a lot of different things and get a ton of exposure and experience Ton's of training and education to help you grow as a dev Great people who love their jobs Relaxed work environment WFH one day a week Unlimited vacation and they are very flexible for vacation requests

    Cons

    Low pay and benefits compared to the market average They've had a rough past year business wise - but appear to be on the rise again Their focus is shifting to a more Strategy oriented business model, devs taking back seat Not a lot of options for career growth internally as far as promotions and pay raises It's all client work, some clients are terrible - but most are good. Just luck of the draw You work on a ton of different things, so if owning a project/app is your thing then this may not be your gig

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  3. Helpful (1)

    "Solid Company - Cool Technology"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Addison, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Bottle Rocket full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great work environment, cool office vibe, smart people, encouraging colleagues, problem solvers. Mixed industry experience because of the variety of clients BR serves.

    Cons

    Insurance too high, opportunities for career advancement

  4. "Great place to learn!"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior IOS Engineer in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bottle Rocket full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    High quality output. Great people to work with and learn from. Relaxed work environment for most of the time. A few high profile clients.

    Cons

    Slightly under market pay. Can be expected to put in a lot of extra time when projects are due. No clear management structure. Seemed to tighten the screws a bit after the buyout in 2014.

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  5. Helpful (8)

    "I loved working at Bottle Rocket!"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Information Architect in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bottle Rocket full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The things I loved most about working for Bottle Rocket: Flexibility: As a mom of small children, being able to take time off work with a sick child and not be stressed out about losing my job or being penalized for "not taking my career seriously" was huge. At my previous job, when my four-month old got sick, and I had already been on maternity leave for 12 weeks, there was a big to-do about getting the CEO to approve time off and borrowing from future vacation time. It made me feel inadequate as an employee, and inadequate as a new mother. At Bottle Rocket, I felt incredibly supported and even empowered as a parent and as an employee at the same time. It is clear that family is the most important thing to Bottle Rocket's CEO Calvin Carter, and he has made that priority part of the Bottle Rocket culture. As family is my top priority in life, this was a very happy and empowering alignment of values for me. Working with amazingly intelligent, creative people: I'm not sure that I've ever worked with such a large number of highly intelligent individuals. That kept me on my toes on a daily basis, and working with such creative, inspiring people brought out my own creativity. Non-toxic culture: I came to Bottle Rocket from a toxic work environment, where employees were always in intense competition with each other for promotions and more money. The end result was a work culture in which everyone was miserable, grumpy, and not trusting of others. Bottle Rocket is pretty much the opposite. Everyone is a team member. The staff really does function as a family. When individuals don't really jive with each other in a work sense, there is mutual respect, because all of the employees are generally hardworking and intelligent, so everyone is just kind to each other, and people are always asking to help others. The camaraderie at Bottle Rocket is stellar. People are actually friends with each other. I was treated by leadership as an adult at Bottle Rocket. That sounds ridiculous, but most places I've worked, the "rules" imposed on people were only a step above needing to ask for a hall pass to use the restroom. Good leadership: I really admire and respect my boss at Bottle Rocket. I felt that he supported his team, even when they made mistakes, as long as they learned from them. He took a genuine interest in each employee on his team, and he made an effort to get to know each of us as employees and as individuals. Culture: The casual, fun atmosphere was a bonus for me. I loved having the flexibility of being able to work anywhere in the office that I wanted to. This allowed me to change my own personal environment when I needed to focus or collaborate with others. I loved being able to dress casually also. Access to leadership: Of all of the office environments that I have worked in, I feel that I had the most access to leadership at Bottle Rocket. Calvin has office hours that are open to anyone who wants to talk to him about anything. Rocket Science: The fact that the company shuts down for 24 hours so that everyone can work on a project of their choosing is just flat out awesome. At the company where I worked previously, there was a similar program, but it was done on a weekend, you had to apply and be selected for it, and there were only 9 slots (1500 employees) available each year. At Bottle Rocket, everyone participated every year, including company leaders and Calvin! There really aren't enough positive things that I can say about my experience at Bottle Rocket. I loved my two years there. I never would have left if I hadn't been laid off. It's a wonderful company with amazing values and a fun, non-toxic culture. Calvin really understands how to treat people and he is a great man to work for.

    Cons

    No company is perfect. Benefits: There are NO short-term or long-term disability plans available to employees. Not having access to this type of insurance is stressful to parents who have children to provide for, especially when the family is dependent on the parent's income. Not having short-term disability is VERY unfortunate, particularly for maternity leave. For my maternity leave, I was paid 2 weeks of full pay + 2 weeks of half pay because I had been an employee over 1 year. (There is no sick pay or accrued vacation pay due to the self-managed vacation policy.) Having a short-term disability plan would normally have covered at least 4 weeks of my leave, if we had had access to a plan. So, if you are a woman of childbearing age considering working for Bottle Rocket, you might want to ask if these particular benefits have become available. I did not take advantage of the available health benefits, as my husband's plan was a lot better. I found the voluntary life insurance benefits to be incredibly generous, and I was very happy with that. Devices: There is no allowance for mobile devices or cell / data plans. This isn't a deal-breaker or anything, but I did use my personal device for a lot of work activity, which puts more wear and tear on a device than purely personal use or other types of jobs. In my position as an information architect, I had to understand both Android and iOS devices, so this adds up to a lot of money out-of-pocket to maintain a foothold in both ecosystems. Test devices were available to check out short-term, so in a pinch, I could usually reserve whatever I needed. But to really understand an ecosystem, you really need more a more intimate relationship with your device than what can be achieved checking out a test device for a week. Entitled employees: Having held a number of jobs in other industries and environments, I found it frustrating to hear people complain about the things Bottle Rocket did offer. For example, if we planned a social event and provided free beer, inevitably someone complained about what type of beer it was. Or if we provided free snacks, people would complain that there weren't enough snacks to constitute a meal. This ridiculous sense of entitlement was absolutely infuriating for me, and I just wanted to scream, "Go work somewhere else, then, and see what you get there!" Bottle Rocket offers so many tiny perks, like a decompression chamber, free organic milk, regular socials, company space for non-company activities (like yoga and meditation, for example), a proper break room, and so many other things. My last job didn't even have dishes in the kitchens or chairs and tables in the break room where you could eat your lunch. You pretty much had to bring your own silverware and dishes, your own mug for coffee, and crowd around someone's desk to eat lunch on-site with your friends. A close friend of mine worked in an office that didn't allow employees to wear headphones. The list goes on. Bottle Rocket treats people like humans and actually celebrates everyone's successes, which is more than I can say for a lot of companies, unfortunately. So, hearing entitled people complain about Bottle Rocket perks and parties was like nails on a chalkboard for me.

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  6. "An exciting, innovating company that is constantly improving."

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Developer 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Bottle Rocket full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    There are so many Pros to list that I could list, but I couldn't find the time to list them all here. * Employee empowerment - There is a group that all employees are allowed to join which is empowered to do things including schedule time off for the entire company to have a social activity, create learning opportunities for the entire company, schedule community outreach events, influence company policy, along with many other things not listed. This group directly talks with upper management, but is 100% run by employees. * Introspection and improvement - The management ask employees for direct feedback to continue to improve the environment and make sure that the day-to-day work environment improves as well as improving the company as a whole. The management doesn't have knee-jerk reactions to issues, but reflects upon the issues and the possible fixes in order to make sure that the reaction is the best possible one given the information at hand. This may seem like they are moving slowly, and it may be, but it's with purpose. * Culture and environment - I've seen a lot of reviews here that talk about how the culture is eroding, and how horrible the office situation is, but I think they are looking from a very skewed point of view. After working at as many companies as I have, I can tell you that this company is AWESOME for so many reasons. Most companies have a "no news is good news" policy where Bottle Rocket has a "news is news" meaning there are times when news is good and times when news is bad, but hearing news is not the bad part. There is a transparency that I have never seen in any company--whether privately or privately owned. Some reviews mention clapping at company meetings as if it's a bad thing. This is the first company I've worked at (out of a lot, I can tell you) that people have a reason to clap! It's not something the management makes us do! The management actually cares about the employees to the point that the best office space is actually the break room instead of the CEOs office where most break rooms I've been in don't have windows at all--this is just one example. Other examples include cool spaces set aside for work away from the rest of the company. * Awesome work - We get to work on awesome projects with very highly regarded and well known clients. The work is challenging, so we're never bored. We are constantly getting new projects and are hiring all the time in order to handle the new work. Some people complained that there is not enough office space, and they are right, but we have to have enough people to work on these projects. We've added more space in the building to help with that and we're moving to a new building with space to spare. * Hours of operation - I've seen people related this company to a "sweatshop" I can tell you that it is further from truth. As a software developer, hours get late sometimes (not all the time), but I have worked in TRUE "sweatshop" and I can you that these people are clueless. We get unlimited vacation that we can use for emergencies, planned vacation, and general purpose. Yes, we have to make sure we're not inconveniencing our team, but if the vacation is far enough in advance, teams tend to plan around it. If anyone was reprimanded by a teammate for taking vacation, then that teammate doesn't understand how the system works and should be educated. I've personally never had an issue taking any vacation. * Other benefits - Since we've joined forces with WPP, our (non-medical) benefits have grown. We get discounts to plenty of major brands that have actually saved me almost $600 (yearly) just in my cellular bill alone. These benefits are ones mostly overlooked, but shouldn't be.

    Cons

    These cons are being addressed actively, but I will list them for fairness. * Compensation - Because the market is turning into a large bubble, we are not paid as well as others. This may be good in that we won't be laid off if the bubble bursts, but it seems like there can be some improvement. * Benefits (medical) - It was a small, independently owned company so the benefits were never touted to be great, but with the purchase by WPP, they will be improving this year. * Office out of space - We are sometimes put into spaces where it's hard to work because of the sheer amount of people, but we're moving so that will be fixed before the year's end. * Tight work schedules - Sometimes there are projects that don't have the best forethought and cause tight work schedules.

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  7. Helpful (8)

    "Lord of the Flies experience"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Addison, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Bottle Rocket full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The company has a great sense of design for mobile apps and has very strong artists and strategists and one can learn some good things in that area. The office is beautiful (although not a great work environment due to crowding and noise). Equipment is top notch. The work environment is very playful (this may go too far, however) with Nerf gun fights, etc.

    Cons

    Now that I've had a little more time working with in a more mature firm, I realize that there were really some glaring problems at Bottle Rocket. The management all seemed to be way over their heads. Bottle Rocket is mostly people on their first job and they get a lot of smoke blown up there butts by their older manipulative management. There's lots of passing problems back to subordinates (who don't know what to do) under the guise of "empowerment". You end up with lots of people hacking out their own solution and it can get really bad (like a live re-enactment of "Lord of the Flies". There was a lot of lying - to employees, to clients, to each other - and a culture of hiding problems and blaming the worker. Estimation was throwing a dart at the board and project management was standing over a developer or artist until the work was done - I didn't even know there were real professional ways to do those things until my next job. Training was minimal at best. There are some cult-esque aspects, like the pep-rally atmosphere of company meetings, that I think my current, more serious managers would see as blowing smoke to cover incompetence. Sometimes they'll lie right to your face, like having people come in to rave about how good the benefits are, and then you talk to friends with other jobs and realize yours are really bad. There were also some aspects of the culture I think weren't good. Yes, sometimes Nerf gun fights were fun, I liked the Star Wars stuff, but I frankly thought some managers seemed racist, so I don't know that I'd want to work there if I were a minority. There was also a lot of pressure to go to company social events on weekends. It was kind of fake and forced. I'm actually surprised there aren't more good reviews, because it's the kind of company where I'd expect Calvin to tell the employees in company meeting to go post good reviews on GlassDoor (we did that for our app reviews) and project managers would stand over you to make sure you posted a good one. I guess if a wave of great reviews, we'll know why!

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  8. "Internship Experience"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Intern - Android Developer in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Bottle Rocket for less than a year

    Pros

    The work environment here is wonderful! I have been interning here for the last few months after having talks with the recruiter for over a year and it has been great. Since the first day I have come on, I have felt at home. At other internships I have been treated like just some cheap form of labor that can be used and then thrown away after the summer was up. At Bottle Rocket, I have been given opportunities to show my prowess and have really contributed to the great work going on here. The project managers are great and everyone is friendly. The HR department worked with me for about a month in talks about continuing on as a full time developer and help me understand the details behind a first full time job. I can not think of another company who I would want to work for!

    Cons

    There really aren't many cons that I can think of. Through my time here there have been a few slow days where I was not really told what to work on, but I have taken those opportunities to show I can find work without having my hand be held the whole way.

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