Chicago’s First Lady Reviews | Glassdoor

Chicago’s First Lady Reviews

Updated June 2, 2017
12 reviews

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12 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Solid gig"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    lots of nice coworkers, great location downtown, nice being outside for work,company parties, some benefits like CTA passes, downtown parking discount

    Cons

    vacation policy isn't great and working out side sucks in bad weather or if its really hot

    Advice to Management

    improve communication


  2. Helpful (1)

    "If you're a tour guide, avoid the company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Professional Tour Guide in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Professional Tour Guide in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Chicago’s First Lady part-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    A few lovely people and HR is pretty cool

    Cons

    Captains are mean and have too much power. Owners probably instill that in them, so that's a company culture passed down from the top. The company generally cares more about the boats than the people who run the boats. Tour Guides are expected to be Deck Hands as well, but paid lower than other Tour Guides in the market. Tour Guides solicit tips because of this, which creates a tacky situation all around.

    Advice to Management

    Fix the culture of nepotism, fear and intimidation. By all standards the captains of your fleet are paid the best of any captains in Chicago but are consistently the most how shall we say, jerkish (the kind way to say it). It's not a work environment conducive to any fun or at the least enjoyment. Professionalism doesn't mean disrespect.

  3. "Poor & Inconsistent Benefits"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Chicago’s First Lady full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Beautiful city
    -Hardworking and caring coworkers

    Cons

    I have to agree with others here that nepotism runs rampant. Benefits are extremely inconsistent due to nepotism and due to there overall being a lack of official written policies for year-long employees.

    The "official" policy is 3 sick days, 1 personal day - and for year-long employment that leads to poor work/life balance. However, it becomes extremely obvious this is not consistent for everyone. Some family (face of the company) of the owners have taken 25+ personal days in 2016, easily over 30 if you count sick days. On the other hand an employee who only missed several days was fired for taking too much time - his wife literally broke her back (and he was still able to finish all work as needed.) I can go into more examples but the point is it's very obvious how time off and other benefits are inconsistently handled. If you're not family, or close friends, the work/life balance offered is poor.

    The only "vacation time" is when the company is closed for ~9 business days around Christmas. There's also some expectation of you being available for some work tasks during this time - just in case. The company seems to fail to realize that during this time people want to spend it with their families, that it's the most expensive time to travel and that most "vacation spots" are not vacations spots during this time. Not to mention that the off season can be better utilized to prepare for the season.

    The owners and family of course enjoy plenty of vacation time outside of this though. Outside of that, it's unpaid if approved. Because this "paid time off" is predetermined by the company I do not consider it vacation time. And once again, some employees clearly have (paid) vacation time and personal days outside of this, but there's no official policy. There's no official way to work your way up to better benefits.

    This leads to a feeling of working hard to watch others play hard. You tend to notice there's an atmosphere of bitterness and side comments about the vacation and time off polices (lack of) when the owners and family are enjoying time off - it's not just me who has had an issue with this. The benefits offered are not competitive. This is something the company will eventually have to address because as time goes, less year-long employees will be long-time friends of the owners.

    Communication between and from upper management is very poor. They often do not communicate well with each other or at times even at all. You will be told contradicting things, you will be told to do things that don't make sense in context (due to lack of communication) and you will be put in the middle of different things - and it's awkward. They at times enter tunnel vision without realizing other factors, then refuse to communicate - there's almost a child-like attitude about communicating at times.

    From a career perspective? Unless it's your life long dream to be a boat captain, there's not much here to grow into. Short-term experience? Sure, however with how the benefits are handled I cannot recommend it for full-time employment unless you need a job now. It's not an absolutely horrible place to work, but if some one asked if I would recommend working here my answer would be no due to clear nepotism and a lack of work/life balance.

    Advice to Management

    Provide a clear and open benefit policy that includes vacation time. Any reasonable amount of planning would allow for this even in the prime-time of the season.

    Company policies for year-long employees. As-is the printed company policies are clearly meant for seasonal employees. There's an unspoken policy for full-time and year-long employees, but it really does need to be thought out and written down.

    Make time to talk with employees - and listen.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Great place to work"

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

    I have been working at Chicago’s First Lady full-time

    Pros

    Fun atmosphere, very nice coworkers, unique work environment and personable management

    Cons

    Some coworkers are lazy, they should move out and let someone else pick up the slack. Wages are competitive but could be a little higher for being the best company in the sector.

    Advice to Management

    Don't be afraid to trim the fat. Please continue the great benefit programs and company parties.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Be Wary"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Chicago’s First Lady full-time

    Pros

    Fun business, great co-workers. Perfect summer job for a college student - others, not so much.

    Cons

    family owned business and family members advance first regardless of skills or merits. Seasonal employment and lack of advancement opportunities. Working outdoors in the heat or rain can be very difficult.

    Advice to Management

    N/A


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Overall fun"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    It's s great seasonal job

    Cons

    Hours are demanding at times


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Good coworkers. That's about it."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Operations
    Former Employee - Operations
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Chicago’s First Lady (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Coworkers are great. They make an otherwise bad company tolerable. They'll pay for your CTA pass.

    Cons

    Low pay, absolutely atrocious scheduling, nepotism - as another reviewer said - runs rampant. HR is useless, management is clueless, zero benefits for seasonal workers.

    Advice to Management

    End nepotism, stop nickel and dining everything. Realize your employees are people and stop acting like they're just placeholders for drone boats or whatever.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "IT Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - IT Manager in Oak Park, IL
    Former Employee - IT Manager in Oak Park, IL
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Chicago’s First Lady (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The general staff is made up of very hard working and dedicated people. They really care about the company and the job they are doing.

    Cons

    Micro managing of IT and inability to formulate long range technology plans

    Advice to Management

    Trust your staff to do the job you hired them to do.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "ok"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Dock Worker in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Dock Worker in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Great place to get a start in my work career. I worked on the docks - lots of sun and things to do.

    Cons

    Wages were on the low side. Worked a weekends, but not set hours. Seemed like you needed to adjust to their schedules


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Chicago's First Lady Cruises in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Chicago's First Lady Cruises in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Chicago’s First Lady full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    It's a very laid back work environment. It is definitely a place where you can laugh and have fun throughout the day. Everyone who works there is really nice.

    Cons

    Scheduling is inconsistent. There really is no room for growth, depending on your position.


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