Argonne National Laboratory - It was mostly a good experience | Glassdoor
There are newer employer reviews for Argonne National Laboratory
There are newer employer reviews for Argonne National Laboratory

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Helpful (2)

"It was mostly a good experience"

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  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Former Employee - Scientist in Lemont, IL
Former Employee - Scientist in Lemont, IL
Recommends
Negative Outlook

I worked at Argonne National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

Pros

Access to world class research facilities and world class scientists. Really high company retirement contribution (9% of your salary!!) if you are a full-time, staff employee. Reasonably good health care plan. Good on-sight child care (employee pays full cost though). On-sight medical department that does annual health evaluations and gives free flu shots. Nice, modern on-site fitness facility. 10 paid holidays. The whole place shuts down between Christmas Eve and New Years Day, so everyone gets a nice winter break. If you are an inventor on a patent that gets licensed, you can get 30% of the royalties. Decent cafeteria food (prices are same as for comparable restaurant food; not free for any employee). Security guards at the site entrance. There is a branch of Abri Credit Union on-site. Flex time is allowed, at the discretion of an employee's supervisor. Sometimes flex-time is arranged formally, especially for the non-scientists; but it is more often done informally for the scientists. This makes work-life balance easier. You can bank up to 30 vacation days before you have to use them and you can bank up to 120 sick days. Staff members can also use sick leave for when family members are sick.

Cons

Virtually all funding come from the U.S. government in the form of many small grants--it is not one big pot of money (except for the APS which is 25% of Argonne's funding). This means that many staff scientists are expected to develop their own research program and apply for grants, much the way university professors do (only there is no tenure or guaranteed job as a reward). When Congress can't get their fiscal act together, which is almost always, it causes problems with funding. In addition, no funding is 100% guaranteed and the DOE can recall it, usually with no advance warning, anytime they please for any reason, even if they have promised not to. Every time there is a change or President or change of DOE secretary, research priorities change and funding is shifted to other technologies. Good scientists then get let go because each division is run independently money-wise. Lay-offs are common (90% of the workers are not federal employees, so there is no protection from this sort of thing). Post-docs have a 30% chance of getting a staff position. Safety is a more important to the DOE than science and Argonne management has a target of zero injuries, so don't you dare get stung by a bee or slip on the ice. There has been significant benefit erosion, especially with sick days and vacations days, but also with severance pay. I expect banking of vacation days and retirement plan benefits to be cut next.

Advice to Management

Have realistic safety goals. Give the new employees a decent amount of vacation and sick days like you did prior to 2009. Help the staff scientists establish research programs and continue to get funding, don't rely on "mentoring" for that. Show that you recognize that all of the programs and technologies have value, not just the APS and the battery program. Make a significant effort to retain those unlucky scientists whose programs lost money due to Washington politics and not poor performance.

Other Employee Reviews for Argonne National Laboratory

  1. "Work in the FMS department"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Intern in Lemont, IL
    Former Intern - Intern in Lemont, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Argonne National Laboratory as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Pretty laid back environment and not stressful. Supervisors were friendly and helpful.

    Cons

    Some days could be very boring if there were no assignments.

    Advice to Management

    Give the interns more responsibility and potential for post-grad jobs.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Experience as a young scientist"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Scientist
    Former Employee - Assistant Scientist
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Argonne National Laboratory full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    It has a nice campus, pay and benefits are okay.

    Cons

    Extremely bureaucratic, there is no clear plan for what the laboratory wants to focus on. Resources are limited especially conference travel, there is no career pathway or research independence for junior scientists which can have negative repercussions for your career progression.

There are newer employer reviews for Argonne National Laboratory
There are newer employer reviews for Argonne National Laboratory

See Most Recent

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