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Critical Mass Reviews

33 reviews

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2.0
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Critical Mass CEO Dianne Wilkins
Dianne Wilkins
13 Ratings

33 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Some great people and bright minds work here so it was never a chore to come to the office (in 17 reviews)

  • They believe in work/life balance and have structured the company around it (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • People would talk about crazy long hours, burning people out (in 7 reviews)

  • Lack of formalized review process (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (15)

    "Pass"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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

    Pros

    Free Dunkin Donuts Friday mornings (if there is any left when you arrive at 9am). Decent beer in the fridge. Nice outings once in awhile.

    Cons

    No decent work. They began hemorrhaging clients when new leadership came in a few years ago. The culture suffered significantly and they began firing one person a month. Many others left on their own.

    Pet projects go to the pets. Do you interrupt people in a meeting and tell them they’re wrong? You’re #1 on the it list. This mentality scares off some of the best talent. Their review process is such that they beat you down so you question your worth. Unless you’re a pet, then you get the world.

    The group is incredibly cliquey. They will make up their minds about you and you somehow have a bizarre reputation for no reason. You will be left off of important meetings, emails, and given grunt work.

    Direction and expectations are not clear. They allow associate managers bully their talent and turn a blind eye. Sexism is rampant and the boys won’t even allow some people to help concept for new ideas or pitches.

    Creatives, especially leads, are incredibly difficult to approach or communicate with. Some are lazy, some don’t want to lead or have time or care enough to even talk to you, some go in and change your work and don’t tell you. No communication, too busy, too cool.

    No process whatsoever. Management and leadership as a whole is lacking, conniving, elitist. I’ve seen them build false cases against people just to get them to quit or have a “reason” to fire them. No value in their employees. HR is a joke.

    Advice to Management

    Leadership courses for associate level and director level. Anyone managing people.
    If you keep putting the same talent in the room you aren’t going to innovate.
    Stop playing favorites.


  2. Helpful (12)

    "Horrifyingly Mismanaged"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cupertino, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cupertino, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Critical Mass full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Got to work with Apple as a client, which is pretty cool.

    Cons

    -No management structure whatsoever.
    -Severe layoffs with no warning or severance.
    -Zero communication about what's going on behind the scenes.

    Advice to Management

    Stop promising things to people that you have no intention of delivering on, stop overestimating head count, start communicating with your employees about what is going on behind the scenes, and don't surprise people with job cuts.

  3. "Art Director Vendor"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Contractor in New York, NY
    Former Contractor - Contractor in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Critical Mass as a contractor (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great people on CM side,

    Cons

    Vendors for Apple are production slaves and are often looked down upon by Apple staff, even if vendors out perform Apple-side employees. Miss-hires that needed lots of hand holding. Management never wanted to step up and help resolve issues amongst workflow or people.

    Advice to Management

    Be clear about how you're selling "creative" work to new hires.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Senior Art Director"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Art Director in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Art Director in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Critical Mass (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Nice work space. Free drinks and snacks.

    Cons

    Poorly managed. Lack of leadership.


  5. Helpful (5)

    "Too big for their britches."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Critical Mass full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Offers a very good work life balance as employees are rarely required to put in late hours at the office. Office perks are inline with most creative agencies, including beer o'clock on Fridays, bonuses and recognition for a job well done, and decent employee benefits. Despite the cliquey culture there are some great people there.

    Cons

    Even though most everyone in the Chicago office seems friendly, it's mainly on the surface as it is very cliquey. Upward mobility seems hampered by said cliqueness, since the most interesting and engaging projects tend to be assigned to people who are close to upper management. Backpats in townhall meetings seemed self-congratulatory and hardly sincere.

    Teams and disciplines fail to share their expertise or project knowledge among each other resulting in inefficiencies across departments. Although there are some talented individuals, the Chicago office lacks the enthusiasm or creativity to produce award-winning work, which appears to be self-perpetuating. Sadly, this last year was fraught with such low morale and non-existent comradery that it became a depressing place to work. Expect to be siloed into project teams for years or months at a time.

    Advice to Management

    Culture trickles down from the top, so consider encouraging a more inclusive environment where employees are nurtured. These days lux perks aren't enough, employees want to feel engaged and proud of their work. Working in isolation does not encourage growth or innovation.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Great For Entry Level"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    If you are just trying to get your foot into the door in the online space this is a great place to do it.
    The salaries are fine for the jobs.
    The culture is weird in that by 5:30 the office is -empty-. I've never seen a digital agency where everyone fled so quickly.

    Cons

    Honestly, the people you are working with are kind of idiots. Everyone I met was eager to jump ship during the 18 months I worked there. The programmers are overworked (and are frankly too skilled for the sweat shop conditions they are given), the designers are good but not great, and everyone else is just...a worthless parasite.
    it is an office filled with marketers that go around calling other marketers douche bags (without realizing they belong in that same category) .

    Advice to Management

    You have created an interesting business. People pay you a boatload of money for moderately interesting web experiences. There will ALWAYS be a place for that...so why change a thing?


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Regular experience, could be better"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Great people
    - Office in downtown, with nice view
    - Lots of social events
    - Good clients for resume
    - Typical American company

    Cons

    -Office is open space, sometimes too noisy
    -Work is like a consulting for clients, no clients - no work
    -Very bad management planning for projects and recourses (people), overtimes for employees
    -Not much challenge from technical point of view, all the projects typical and rather simple sites to display/save to DB something
    -Work with offshore services in Costa Rica
    -Lots of games around projects with Canadian guys (they have offices there), sometimes it's annoying, aka family with top management as parents, and teams as siblings hating each other.

    Advice to Management

    -Improve planning for projects
    -Try not to share work among different offices
    -Provide employees with performance review on a regular basis

  8. "Bad management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chico, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chico, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    great pay, flexible work schedule

    Cons

    no direction/leadership, lots of cliques

    Advice to Management

    better recruiting


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Life as a software developer at Critical Mass"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The people are great and fun.

    Cons

    Bad project planning and management and employees expected to work their butts off to make up for it. No emphasis on career growth. Favouritism and cliques.

    Advice to Management

    Evaluate people on more than just hours worked. Plan for the future instead of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Lacks attention"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    awesome work/life balance . Flexible hours and good clients

    Cons

    no growth .senior management pays no attaention to other departments. no career growth

    Advice to Management

    pay attention to core team


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