I worked at Critical Mass full-time
It embraces a great company culture. As much as a creative department, it has strong R&D department. Designers can work with global brands.
Company politics. Fast turn around on pitch work. Often people worked for the weekend to work on pitching project.
Great culture, challenging work and strong female leadership
Poor maternity leave policy (even with strong female leadership) but they are working on making parenting/work more flexible
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.
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.
I have been working at Critical Mass (More than a year)
Amazing people, great clients. They give you the opportunity to take on new work and develop your career. Even support employees transferring to other CM locations which is pretty sweet.
Lack of transparency with employees concerning client relationships and overall business and staffing requirements gets frustrating. They tend to focus on strengthening an employees weaknesses as opposed to developing and utilizing strengths.
Advice to Management
Rework current quarterly review structure. AD's shouldn't be as hands on in developing careers, it should be the CD's responsibility. Be transparent and real with your people.
I worked at Critical Mass full-time (Less than a year)
-Got to work with Apple as a client, which is pretty cool.
-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.
I have been working at Critical Mass full-time
Great senior leadership committed to taking the agency good places. Solid accounts and generally great work, with solid innovation happening.
Some accounts have work that is a little more production oriented.
I worked at Critical Mass (Less than a year)
Nice work space. Free drinks and snacks.
Poorly managed. Lack of leadership.
Great company culture. Solid client roster.
Runs lean on staffing (but who doesn't).
- Free bagels on Friday
- Great office location
- Was hired to do one job, but was promptly told that I would be doing something completely different when I started
- Asked for more responsibility and that I wanted to take on more challenging work and was promptly let go. Their reasoning? Performance based, which is interesting considering I was working 9+ hours a few days a week to finish up projects for pitches
- When asked for clarification around why exactly I was let go, I was given ambiguous reasons and my questions were more or less dodged by HR
- My manager didn't even speak to me most days, even though he sat in my area and I saw him daily
- The culture is incredibly cliquey. If you're not a senior designer, you're basically worthless and no one will talk to you
- Managers literally do not care about helping you / furthering your career
Creative, energetic environment. Big brands, interesting work.
Political. Have to be part of the "inner circle" to get anywhere.
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