I have been working at L-3 Cincinnati Electronics full-time (More than 5 years)
I thought about this section long and hard and regret to say I don't have much in the way of pros.
Management is difficult to handle. If you try to standout you are not reworded but expected to continue to perform above and beyond. This is while the person next to you who has been there for 20+ years plays on the computer. Very few engineers in this company care for technicians and are willing to go above and beyond to keep them safe. Most have the mind set of "I don't have to run it so I'm good". The few engineers that are good are not senior engineers but newer, still careing, trying to make a difference engineers. As far as I know there is very little to no respect for engineering management. This company should make serious changes and soon. Stop changing employees schedule's on a whim and consider family life. I have seen 8 hour days, 9 hour days, alternate shift, 12 hours rotating and now going back to 9 hours. All this in the same department. The rules are not the same across the company. Most rules are up to your personal manager. They call it "Managers Discretion". Hope you find one that's level headed and fair.
Advice to Management
Take care of the people that take care of you! Stop relying on a few and expect all to pull there weight.
I worked at L-3 Cincinnati Electronics full-time (More than a year)
The company offers good benefits, 401K, etc (though the salary is only mediocre). The 9/80 work week provided a good break. The cafeteria had some pretty good options, and the company did try to develop some employee engagement. This company will be around for a while due to their existing product lines, so there's stability.
This company is going to be in trouble if it cannot start retaining young talent. The company has an interesting product line and sounds good, but there is no incentive to stay. L-3 seems to be used more as a stepping stone -- engineers, etc. can get valuable experience and leverage it to a position at a better company. Upon first walking the halls, you'll realize 90% of the workforce has been there for a long time, and they are mainly older white men. The diversity at this company is nonexistent, and mainly because the culture is toxic. Sexual harassment, racism, and unprofessional gossip runs rampant at this company, and HR does nothing to combat it. The management is awful; they have no idea how to lead or develop employees. Everyone sits in little cubicles and there's very little push to have any collaboration. Managers would rather fight over whose office goes where and whose office is bigger than whose than get any real work done. It's definitely a boys' club, but they act like mean girls. The CEO does nothing to reform the company culture and just focuses on sales.
Advice to Management
As mentioned by about every other poster, there need to be cuts across the board. Management needs leadership training, and serious reform needs to be made regarding professionalism. Some sort of training program about racial/gender sensitivity is definitely needed.
Good benefits, insurance, 401k matching, ESPP, 11 paid holidays per year, 9/80 work week (1 friday off every two weeks). All of those things were nice, though common in huge enterprises such as L-3. Salary seemed competitive. Overtime was permitted for salaried workers at standard rates, no time-and-a-half unless you were hourly.
The aerospace and defense industry is populated by a wave of baby boomers and half of the work force ought to be retired by now. Theoretically when they do it will create a talent vacuum that will propel up-and-comers up the ladder, but that remains to be seen. The down side was that everyone operated like it was 1984. It was a paper society, and there were three forms to fill out to use the bathroom. There were procedures documented for everything and it took two weeks to get anything done that was not purely autonomous. Everyone's desk was covered in stacks of papers that had been there so long they should have been shredded a year ago. There was an intercom system that was always in use and it was everywhere in the facility. So if Mary-Sue needed to find Jim-Bob from the production line then you got to hear about it. There were about 600 people there and they were always trying to find each other. You couldn't concentrate worth a darn because of all the interruptions. Beware the hallway meetings. You would walk past a colleague and next you would be trapped in a conversation about the latest status update for some project or problem. Often these conversations drifted into other subjects too, and you could walk away with three unwritten action items. You had to try and conclude quickly or you'd stand there for 30 minutes and forget about what you were trying to do in the first place. No one did design work except the grunts and the co-op students. Sometimes the design work was outsourced. The engineers were just administrators and project managers, with little opportunity to design, which is what engineers should be doing. This made them less competitive, unemployable elsewhere, and helped retention. There was a time card system that reduced you to an hourly wage slave. You had to enter the projects you worked on for the week and the hours worked, and it had to be a full day's worth of hours. If you checked email, you billed that time to a project. Most companies assume only 6 hours of work get done in a day, besides water cooler, bathroom, email, etc. This company assumed a full day was spent in furious activity on the government's behalf and wanted it documented. If you didn't enter a full day's hours on the time card, you wouldn't get paid for a full day's work that day. This is why you were reduced from a salaried white collar worker to a blue collar wage slave. If you took a doctor's appointment it came out of sick time or vacation. If you met a friend for lunch, you worked an hour late to make it up. Or else you just lied and hoped you didn't get caught, but they had video cameras on all the entrances and periodically audited employees to catch potential cheaters. Cheating would get you reprimanded in writing or fired. They claimed it was defrauding the government but that is not true because the government pays a fixed predetermined contract price for a fixed number of hours and the actual hours a project takes is paid for by the company. The time card was a paper card that you write on. If you messed up writing you had to write a new one because corrections looked suspicious in the audits. You turned the time card in every friday and a lady typed it into the computer for you. Vacation was earned bi-weekly, your first year you started with 0 hours and earned two weeks per year. Because you started with 0 you could not take a vacation until you earned it, or else you could take upaid leave. A normal company gives you two weeks up front to start in my experience. Once you are hired, you can ride it till you're 65 and you'll never get fired unless you totally blow it for yourself. There were tons of people there with 30+ years of experience, who had never worked anywhere else ever. Even the CEO never worked anywhere else in his life. The people were entrenched and uncompetitive, unemployable elsewhere, having been isolated from the rest of the economy for so long. Because there was such a preference to retain people, a great deal of incompetence was tolerated in employees. Production workers would make the same mistakes over and over despite retraining and not receive a single negative reinforcement. As an engineer supervising production, there was little recourse except to ask them nicely not to mess it up again. If their job was on the line I bet they would screw up less, but they knew they were secure so why bother trying harder. The company earns such a huge profit from the government contracts that they don't need to be very competitive to perform well. They have a lot of contracts that are virtually guaranteed, being sole source suppliers, so they are sitting pretty as long they can meet their obligations. They could perform a heck of a lot better and earn even more profits if they would take themselves more seriously, and not as a career camp for future retirees.
Advice to Management
Fire the bottom 15%, Jack Welch style. Revamp the time card system into an online system that doesn't charge projects for using the bathroom. Retire some of the old bulls who have no place in the 21st century economy, and bring in some fresh air in the management. Lose the intercom system in the cube farm; people check email every 20 minutes anyway. Start paying salaried employees like they are salaried.
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