Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Postdoctoral Researcher Reviews | Glassdoor

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Postdoctoral Researcher Reviews

Updated September 13, 2018
13 reviews

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Postdoctoral Researcher

4.9
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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Director Bill Goldstein
Bill Goldstein
9 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Work life balance is the biggest advantage" (in 100 reviews)

  • "As a grad student: lots of resources, cutting edge research opportunities" (in 34 reviews)

Cons
  • "Being a government contractor does mean there is a lot of red tape" (in 38 reviews)

  • "High cost of living in Bay Area" (in 15 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great work environment, benefits"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The work going on at LLNL is really exciting
    People are very welcoming and friendly
    Seems to be plenty of room for advancement
    Plenty of conference opportunities

    Cons

    Sometimes takes a long time to get things approved, slow moving
    Often work long hours


  2. "A great place to work and grow in"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Staff Member in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Staff Member in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    National security mission, cutting edge science, extremely intelligent people, immense and powerful resources, high prestige, incredible salary

    Cons

    Bureaucracy, many layers of approvals, expensive housing market, big consequences for security mistakes, high intensity environment, lack of fun events

  3. "Life is great after grad school"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Life is great after grad school. More opportunities. Happier people. Regular hours.

    Cons

    Currently its 103 degrees. But this is not common, and the worst thing I have to say is it's hot today... So I'm pretty content here.


  4. "Good place to launch your career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Staff Member in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Staff Member in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good opportunities to work and collaborate with different research groups, you can use 25% of your post-doc time to conduct your own research, work-life balance is very good.

    Cons

    No clear career path for Foreign nationals as they can not work on Classified projects, difficult to obtain funding for fundamental scientific research projects


  5. "Postdoctoral Research Staff Member"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Staff Member in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Staff Member in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (More than a year)

    Pros

    Very fast-paced, high-energy, results driven work environment

    Cons

    Administration, procurement, and maintenance move very slowly


  6. "Post-doc researcher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Excellent research environment with experts in all fields

    Cons

    none none none none none none


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Postdoctoral Research Staff Member"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Staff Member in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Staff Member in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    They provide 25% of your annual time for projects you want to work on which includes collaborations, finish work from PhD dissertation, and others. Co-workers with 5 or more years of experience in the lab are very knowledgeable and helpful for the 75% of time project(s). Depending on the number of projects you will be assigned a mentor. Outside of your project, in Engineering they have a Mentorship Program to build your career at the Lab. Your contract is renewed yearly so if you want to work somewhere else or find a better opportunity you can leave. The Engineering Division has currently a 99% conversion-to-non-contract employee (staff member) rate. Most Postdocs convert to full staff member within 18-28 months. There are various activities in the Lab, including soccer, volleyball, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, salsa classes, music group, holiday parties and others.

    Cons

    Most projects, depending on your group, will be red-tape (classified, non-publishable, Official use only OUO, etc). Funding in some projects is limited and you have to be included into additional projects.

  8. "Postdoc research"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Livermore, CA

    Pros

    A lot of interesting projects to work on and a lot of diversity in projects.

    Cons

    Politics can be an issue. Funding can be limited in certain areas. U.S. Citizenship is a must


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Awesome place to do good, interesting work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    Smart people, tough problems, and you can and are encouraged to work on the tough problems with smart people. Plus you get to actually pursue your own ideas.

    If you play it right, you can do research like being a professor, but without the teaching and administrative duties (though you will lack the unending cheap graduate student labor), but of course you need to find your own funding. Alternatively, you can do more directly programmatic work, and have constant steady work by trading away autonomy. You get the best of both worlds, AND can switch between the two! (Talk to your manager first though) PLUS you get 33% of the royalties from patents!

    Director BIll Goldstein is cool. He's a real scientist who keeps it real, and doesn't B.S. when it comes to admitting real problems.

    Cons

    Red tape -- but once you understand that the purpose of the red tape is not only to obey a plethora of federal laws, but also to increase the security (physical and information -- something lacking in many companies these days), then it's possible to accept it (or at least wade through it efficiently).

    Being tied to the fiscal year (Oct-Sep): money is saved up until the end of the fiscal year (in case Washington does something nuts like a shutdown), which means that you get underfunded, and at the end of the year suddenly a lot of money is up for grabs. Would be fine, but you not only have to spend it before the end of the year, but all items you purchase *MUST ARRIVE* before end of September. Makes buying big ticket items with long lead times hard, so spend big early!

    Benefits are seriously lacking. Cafeteria is terrible and overpriced. Gym is expensive and bare. But don't blame LLNL, blame Washington for under-investing in science.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to encourage more small, high-risk projects, especially those with the potential for commercialization. LLNL wins with royalties (you do too!), companies win with new technologies, USA wins with competitiveness.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Great place to do research while maintaining life-work balance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Livermore, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Livermore, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good work environment, great work-life balance, decent benefits. If you want to do the kind of research they do at NIF or need super-computer muscle then this is one of the best places to be at.

    Cons

    It is a national lab so there is a lot of friction and red tape. Tasks that would be easy elsewhere might require significant effort here.