Burning Man Reviews | Glassdoor

Burning Man Reviews

Updated Mar 25, 2019

To filter reviews, or .

3.5
56%
Recommend to a Friend
72%
Approve of CEO
Burning Man Chief Executive Officer Marian Goodell (no image)
Marian Goodell
4 Ratings
  1. "Event Operations Director"

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

    I have been working at Burning Man full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Culture, Community, People, Work, the desert.

    Cons

    Complicated work place, competing work needs.

    Burning Man2018-04-26
  2. Helpful (1)

    "Struggle bus ride"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Administrative in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Burning Man for more than a year

    Pros

    Great colleagues Casual office Good food, hospitality, happy hours

    Cons

    Zero opportunity for career advancement. Notice how most positive reviews on here are from directors or senior management - there is a top down power structure that disempowered people “at the bottom” I was excluded from staff meetings and other chances to collaborate productively by my manager. I did not have the tools or resources provided to do the work that was asked on multiple occasions, and not sure why. There is no fair work evaluation process, they do not do performance reviews- I did not find this out until I had concerns with the way my manager behaved. The manager was able to say I wasn’t good at my job, and nobody asked if that was true or fairly evaluated my work. It was a no-win situation professionally, and very frustrating.

    Show More

    Advice to Management

    Treat others as you’d like to be treated. Seriously.

    Burning Man2019-03-25
  3. "Great community, tough for work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Burning Man full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The community is awesome, the ideas behind it is great, the teams are fantastic

    Cons

    As a non-profit the salaries can be tough for San Francisco

    Burning Man2019-01-21
  4. Helpful (1)

    "Very Culty"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor 
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Burning Man

    Pros

    they provide good food for the employees

    Cons

    very small pay, actively suppressing workers rights to unionize

    Advice to Management

    make it a free party again

    Burning Man2018-08-28
  5. "Fun in the Sun"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Burning Man for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Highly social, varied work environment. A city of 80,000 is built over the course of months, and in working here you help to design, create, maintain, and return the physical and social infrastructure.

    Cons

    Communication between departments is limited until two months before any given event. At that point upper management floods employees with information, which they have to sort out and give to volunteers. This environment is stressful in a way that is fairly easy to fix.

    Advice to Management

    Hire based on merit, consider gaining a better understanding of traction and communication practices.

    Burning Man2018-08-02
  6. Helpful (1)

    "Do What You Love; Love What You Do"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Department Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Burning Man full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Being part of making the OG ‘transformative event’ each year has been incredible. Watching Black Rock City happen and learning how (and why) it rises from the playa each year has been worth it. I’ve met and worked for and with the best people I will ever have the privilege of knowing.

    Cons

    Budget process is a bit ridiculous; how the money will be spent on non-profit programs and initiatives should be more transparent during planning, not just after the fact when the previous year’s financials are reported. Technology team is self focused and not customer focused; tech is and should be accountable for systems failures.

    Advice to Management

    While decision making by committee is often effective, delegating more authority to the line level will only improve engagement. Replace the leadership of the Technology team with new folks sourced from the community.

    Burning Man2018-02-08
  7. Helpful (3)

    "Contract Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Burning Man for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The 10 Principles are an awesome guide to life. Great people, challenging work environment making magic happen for participants.

    Cons

    Friends don't let friends work at Burning Man. The "season" of paid work was technically eight months but 11 months of work was required of the work load, (I absolutely didn't mind volunteering for months at a time, I loved my work). As a manager of teams of hundreds of volunteers each, my reqs for volunteer coordinator training were denied, my teams grew however my mentorship or development did not. Zero opportunity for lateral movement or advancement. Very delicate and moody upper management. Constant fight to keep project and function alive and kicking despite annual budget cuts and fewer resources each year. Literally zero recognition for initiating successful programs with lasting and ongoing impact unless your are one of the golden, and or able to pay to play for off season events, (GLC, Autumnal). Introverts churning quietly behind the scenes are passed over, and over, and over. I LOVED my work for Burning Man, my entire career (and adult life), was committed to working towards my position at Burning Man. I gave the organization a lot of myself through my 16 years of volunteerism, participation and seasonal contract work. I was regularly encouraged to believe there was a full time Real Job for me at HQ _after_ I moved to SF (why would anybody move there without a job?). In my last year of work for the org, I asked for a break to complete an outside requirement that conflicted with the event, I proposed a few viable work arounds for my absence however my proposal was flatly denied and I was forced to step away for the season. The following year, I asked to rejoin my team and was refused. I had no intention of quitting or moving on, none. My soul has been crushed. There is no real world equivalent for my work at Burning Man, my career died that year I took off. FWIW the project I worked on could very well benefit from full time program management.

    Show More

    Advice to Management

    Drop the carrot on a stick. Mentor seasonal managers for professional development. Acknowledge that volunteers and contractors may have a smidgen of life outside of the event, and be a little flexible in your relationship with committed participants.

    Burning Man2017-10-29
  8. Helpful (15)

    "Ehhhh.... they are sort of good at pretending to be good."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     

    I worked at Burning Man

    Pros

    Some aspects of self-care are taken quite seriously, including ergonomics, vacations and time off, and illness. Leave no trace is a very real thing in the office -- you'll probably never work anywhere else where folks do their own dishes and clean up after themselves. Women are basically in charge of everything. The staff does not take for granted in-office benefits are genuinely appreciative when food is provided or an in-office happy hour is organized. Outside service workers are treated well by the staff - delivery drivers, postal service, catering workers, etc.

    Show More

    Cons

    Generally speaking, they are incompetent and have low standards for performance/work product relative to the rest of San Francisco. It is unorganized and Ludditism is commonplace. Business decisions seem more determined by nepotism, gossip, and lying than anything else. They encourage an "open door policy," wherein any employee *should* be able to talk to any other employee about anything. Be careful, this will get used against you. A not-that-radical radicalism is the red herring preventing much of the staff from realizing their employer is no different from any other employer -- their bottom line doesn't have to be cash profit in order to function like a corporation. They get away with a lot in the name of changing the world and transforming lives. The kool aid flows thick! The culture is insular, and despite claims about changing people's lives, it's painfully removed from people's lives and the realities of existence in the U.S. The staff is almost entirely white, like the event, and talking about racism is pretty taboo. There are only white people in leadership roles. Talking about roles and positions as "labor" or employees as "laborers" is also aggressively avoided. The CEO made some quite ignorant political statements at all-staff meetings. By "ignorant" I do not mean "I didn't agree with her." I do mean: uninformed and uneducated, poorly thought out, and, most importantly, entitled. "Entitled" is applicable to how the organization goes about changing the world in the first place --- by assuming they have found the answers to social change and are, therefore, experts on it. Historically informed radical social consciousness is not part of it. The "Philosophy Department, " responsible for coming up with the ideas behind the culture, consists of entirely white men who have no training in Philosophy. One member is the founder of Burning Man, who when in the office, regularly throws tantrums. The leadership body insists there are no hierarchies at Burning Man -- this is clearly false. I had a boss, who was a boss that made more money and decisions than me. That boss had a boss who made more money and decisions than them. That boss had a boss who..... It is disrespectful to tell all non-management staff, including those who are contractors, temps, or volunteers, that there is no hierarchy at Burning Man and expect them to believe it.

    Show More
    Burning Man2017-08-01
  9. Helpful (2)

    "Amazing people - amazing and unique experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Burning Man for more than 5 years

    Pros

    You are a part of something bigger than yourself in a huge way. It's an incredible thing to be a part of. You will work among/with some of the most interesting and fantastic people you might ever meet. You get to take a week off to go do a thing that people around the world spend endless time, money and effort to be a part of and attend. You have the gracious opportunity to be a part of making that thing happen.

    Cons

    There's tons of nepotism. The pay scale is well known to be tipped. It takes years to progress if you do at all. Often given the feeling that you are replaceable.

    Advice to Management

    Spread the wealth. Look to other like organizations for how to give more of your part time staff better benefits.

    Burning Man2017-03-16
  10. "Annual Event"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    IT Support Engineer in Gerlach, NV
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Burning Man

    Pros

    Creative culture and amazing artwork.

    Cons

    Physical environment is not for everyone.

    Advice to Management

    Burn the man!

    Burning Man2016-01-22
Found 19 reviews