Fermilab Reviews | Glassdoor

Fermilab Reviews

Updated May 25, 2017
75 reviews

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Pros
  • Great place to work if your a self starter and capable (in 7 reviews)

  • Great work environment and large diverse work force (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • The director spent millions the past few years making his new fancy offices and trying to make cafeteria like CERN (in 2 reviews)

  • The lab is committed to be the only single-purpose lab, this makes it difficult to collaborate with universities sometimes (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Good for a while"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Applications Developer and Systems Analyst II in Batavia, IL
    Former Employee - Applications Developer and Systems Analyst II in Batavia, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Fermilab full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Fermilab is a great place at which to develop and apply technical skills. It is personally and professionally rewarding to work at this eminent institution.

    Cons

    If you're young or otherwise not necessarily looking to retire here, my advice is to gain your experience and make your mark as fast as reasonably possible. If your position is unchanged after a few years, consider making an exit, failing which you risk stagnating your career.

    Advice to Management

    Don't continue to pay experienced employees what they're worth in the free market, or anywhere close to it. Give them a minimal annual raise that encourages them to underperform and quickly exit. After all, it's perfectly okay if experienced personnel suddenly leave for substantially greener pastures. Additionally, be sure to maintain the average age of the group at over fifty, since core projects and services are not meant to remain online for too long anyway.

    Like it or not, you're competing with at least the rest of Chicagoland for talent.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Fermi"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Applications Development in Warrenville, IL
    Former Employee - Applications Development in Warrenville, IL

    Pros

    Great environment that attempt to advance in science.
    People are nice and always ready to talk to you about what they do.
    Work is laid back and not demanding.
    Flexible schedule.

    Cons

    Staff is old.
    Tools and technologies are old.
    Takes long to include any new technology, but they are open to hear new ideas.

  3. "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Physicist in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Physicist in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Fermilab (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Dynamic working place with excellent working and life balance.

    Cons

    Aging lab in the middle of a transition finding its next big facility after the close down of Tevatron.


  4. "Great"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Intern in Warrenville, IL
    Current Employee - Intern in Warrenville, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Fermilab full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Really interesting project working alongside an experienced mentor. I also had the opportunity to see lots of experiments, and had a lot of fun with the other interns who were working there too.

    Cons

    Travel from the UK not paid for, but the salary was good so it was fine in the end, also not much flexibility in terms of arranging an internship, but the dates suited me anyway.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "beware to retirees"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Specialist in Batavia, IL
    Former Employee - Technical Specialist in Batavia, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Fermilab full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great place to work if your a self starter and capable. Also earned several college degress while working there.

    Cons

    Lower managment resent you working outside the " box" regardless of your abilities which do affect your pay raises.
    If too many engineers, or physicists ask for you personally on their projects this is considered working outside the box too. After Graduating Summa C Laude with a Business Management Degree it was made plain that I would be going nowhere

    Advice to Management

    Your lab was built in a large part by the boomer generation but no appreciation is shown when it come to retirement.
    You find it easy to sell off your retirees insurance coverage tom to an insurance exchange like Towers Watson who by the way has a lifetime limit which was not mentioned in your presentation as well as a 30% increase in Rx cost coverage for those of us who get Rx's for 90 days. Many of us have had the same Doctors fo 30 years and now you put us out to pasture like a bunch of simpletons who needs someone to tell us what kind of insurance we need You've shown your true colors. I truely hope those of youi that participated in this scam will reap what hardship you sowed. For me the day I must go to Towers Watson I'll ask to go on hospice. It may be painful but it'll be quick. Hopefully quicker than it took TIAA/CREF to lose over a quarter million dollers of my retirement. BTW if you think TW's One Exchange is good for us read their SEC filings and observe the profits they make and the risks they may be subject to.. All those profits come out of funds that would be paying our insurance.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Feigning Corporate in an Academic World."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Systems Administrator III in Batavia, IL
    Current Employee - Systems Administrator III in Batavia, IL
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Fermilab full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Vacation and Medical Leave are separate and accrue at equal rates.
    Laid-back, academic atmosphere. People enjoy sharing what they are working on.
    Vast melting pot of cultures from around the world.
    Cool tech on the frontier of physics.

    Cons

    Communication between Sectors, Departments and Groups can be rather problematic. Too many islands.
    Too much budget tension from year to year. Despite being employed by Fermi Research Alliance, the purse strings are held by the US Department of Energy Office of Science (thus DoE...thus Congress)
    Salary freezes and furloughs do occur when Congress refuses to function.
    It seems that Cronyism runs rampant in the (shallow) ranks of Management. There is a lot of dead wood which should purged.
    There are MANY working groups which tends to make the Management structure more broad than deep. The problem is that a non-physicist has a difficult time moving up the rather short ladder.

    Advice to Management

    Take responsibility. Make as many decisions as possible outside of a committee. Understand that results (controllable) are more important than public perception (not controllable). Be flexible enough to bring in a helpful technology, or ideology, without needing to "Fermi-ize" it into something ungainly and unusable.


  7. "Invaluable research experience."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Graduate Student Researcher in Batavia, IL
    Current Employee - Graduate Student Researcher in Batavia, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Fermilab full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Get hands on, personal experience with the best in the industry.

    Cons

    Batavia is a small and rural place with not much to see.

    Advice to Management

    No complaints.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Working hard during difficult budget times"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in Batavia, IL
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in Batavia, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Fermilab full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The benefits and time off are great. It is also really fun to be around so many smart people. It is still the center of the particle physics community in the United States.

    Cons

    The lab as been a bit scattered in its approach for a couple of years and is only now finding its footing with the new P5 report and director.

    Advice to Management

    Always maintain a high, but achievable goals. I think in the past scientists have had lots of really wild ideas that have received far too much consideration. It is okay that they have wild ideas and that they discuss them, but at some point those ideas to be critically evaluated with and eye to reality.


  9. "Fermi is like a family."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Financial Analyst in Batavia, IL
    Former Employee - Financial Analyst in Batavia, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Everyone is more than respectful.

    Cons

    The great cafe options are too convenient!


  10. "Intern"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in Batavia, IL
    Former Employee - Intern in Batavia, IL
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great interesting laboratory
    Does great work in particle physics

    Cons

    Didn't experience any negatives
    Was there for 10 weeks as an intern, very accomodating


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