Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Reviews | Glassdoor

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Reviews

Updated February 4, 2017
71 reviews

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Director Bill Goldstein
Bill Goldstein
12 Ratings

71 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The laboratory has a lot of work-life balance opportunities (in 50 reviews)

  • There are incredibly smart people here (in 24 reviews)

Cons
  • lots of red tape and government policies (in 24 reviews)

  • things move slow, lots of bureaucracy (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Converson to "Career Indefinite" Employee Pulled at Last Minute"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Livermore, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Livermore, CA
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Lots of bright people
    Lots of interesting science being done
    Compensation is good
    Benefits are Excellent

    Cons

    I was hired in 2011 as a "Limited Term" employee with a 5 year term. They were in process of upgrading me to "Career Indefinite" when my program got a budget cut. So they pulled my upgrade and told me to find work within the lab within 30 days or I'm gone. However, the original letter informing me that I was upgraded to "Career Indefinite" did not get recalled and I received it in the mail. I didn't make a huge deal of it as I didn't want to burn bridges and I did find a temporary position for ~4 months afterwards I moved on to Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, right across the street.

    Some people have been in same job for 20+ years, lack vision and energy and are resistance to change/improvements.
    Some project require coding in ...ADA and using VMS... this is laughable. I thought National Labs were cutting edge.
    In my temporary job, the project lead was inventing/adding on to C++ Classes. Not sure why except to save lines of actual code??
    Lack of direction from top
    Lack of meaningful schedules and deadlines
    People are in no hurry
    Complacent - co-workers willing worked in lab where temps >90F in summer w/o complaint

    Advice to Management

    Honor your agreements. I felt totally betrayed.

    Clear out the deadwood, don't let anyone stay in same project too long. Some time longevity in a project is bad.

    Set deadlines and schedules. First place that I've worked where there wasn't.


  2. "More like industry than academia"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow

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

    Pros

    Salary for postdocs is much higher (double) than academic postdoc salaries.

    Work-life balance-- with a few exceptions, most people work regular hours and don't work on weekends and evenings (unless they want to).

    There are several internal recognition programs, and people seem to be given recognition for contributions. Most folks here seem genuinely happy to see others at the lab succeed and win awards.

    There is a large internal funding program, where postdocs have the opportunity to be PIs. This program is supposed to be free of politics so that new ideas and investigators are given a chance, but in my experience this isn't always the case.

    Cons

    Since the lab was privatized, it seems to run more like a company than a university, which was a disappointment to me as I was looking for more freedom in my research. There is a billable hours system, which constrains the amount of time you can spend on different projects.

    Although it's now some kind of weird government- private company hybrid, they do get a lot of federal funding, so there are no freebies (company swag, food, car washes, childcare services, gym, etc.) like you would receive at many other Bay Area employers.

    There is a LOT of bureaucracy. Sometimes I feel like I spend more time figuring out the protocols and rules for how to do something than I spend actually doing science. Safety classes are burdensome and being in compliance with the many safety checks and protocols is a significant time sink. Some administrative folks seem to relish wasting the time of scientists in order to CY(their)A.

    In my experience, human resources was not only not helpful, but actually confused me about the benefits available to me. I had to do my own research on the benefits that I was eligible for and figure things out for myself.

    For new hires, the clearance process has become a significant burden. My security clearance application has been submitted for over a year and I haven't been contacted to begin the process for the investigation. Given that others have waited at least 6-9 months after their process begins before receiving a clearance, it seems unlikely that I would receive mine by my 2 year anniversary with LLNL. Without a clearance, you are fairly limited in what types of projects you will be able to work on.

    Food options are very limited. The cafeteria serves mainly salads and burgers, with few ethnic choices available, and is priced like an airport restaurant. There are few restaurants within driving distance for a 30-45 minute lunch break (options include Taco Bell and Carls Jr.). Downtown Livermore has more options but it takes ~15 minutes each direction to drive there from the lab.

    Advice to Management

    See what can be done to speed up the process of granting security clearances. There are a lot of man/woman hours wasted as folks are waiting to receive their clearances and can't be as effective/useful as if they had one.

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Response

    Jan 26, 2017

    We have forwarded your insights to our management and thank you for your comments. We hope that you will take advantage of the perks offered through the Lawrence Livermore Employee Services ... More


  3. "Lawrence Livermore National laboratory"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great place to do interdisciplinary research. There is a lot of great research interactions at the interface of materials sciences, engineering and biological sciences.

    Great place to do research if you like a fast pace research environment that often results in new projects and tasks being developed to meet a sponsor/stakeholders need.

    Cons

    Not a great place for research scientists in any of the biological sciences as projects are often funded by DoD grants that often have only a 1-2 year life span based on the sponsors/stakeholders need. Overhead makes it impossible to compete for NIH funding and are mostly reliant on DoD funded work. Difficult environment to get anything started.


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  5. "LLNL Internship"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern in Livermore, CA
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern in Livermore, CA
    Recommends

    I worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as an intern

    Pros

    Cutting edge technology & projects, collaborative environment, diverse atmosphere, open educational opportunities

    Cons

    Low visibility to overall project scope and objectives


  6. "ok"

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

    Pros

    -safety awareness and culture
    -good general training, but not so much in department. i guess it depends which group are you in.
      i started few months ago as sr. engineer and was given work to help some engineer kids whose interest was more of their own career development than helping/showing around new guy.
    - work life balance i heard is good. but i've noticed that co-workers work (or show that they work by sending emails at 10pm) late and kid managers create expectations to others based on it.
    - benefits are good.
    - good technical people.
    - matrix system (can be pro - con depending on your likes)

    Cons

    - it depends on group/team you work on. but i experienced that it's more of individualistic than team work. which for new guy is not good to start with.
    - co-workers work late hours for promotion(or show that they work by sending emails at 10pm) and kid managers create expectations to others based on it.
    - skewed gender balance

    Advice to Management

    1) managerial positions should be offered to people with more overall experience (not just in lab) and not just technical as human aspects come from real world experience and variety of experience. please don't assign new sr engineers to help kids (who's goal is only to finish task and look good rather than train)
    2) have rotational program between groups/dept and utilize advantage of matrix system
    3) monitor individual department personals for growth
    4) try to higher some women in technical side for balance and work balance.
    5) rotation of tasks.


  7. "Physicist, Nuclear Criticality Safety Analysis Group"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Physicist, Nuclear Criticality Safety Analysis Group in Livermore, CA
    Former Employee - Physicist, Nuclear Criticality Safety Analysis Group in Livermore, CA

    I worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Multi-disciplinary teams on great projects.

    Cons

    Personnel Management Problems In Conflict with UC Regents Policies.


  8. Helpful (2)

    "Red tape and politics"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Clovis, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Clovis, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Feeling like you are contributing to something great. Some people view it as great work life balance, if you want to go in and do the hours and not be bothered outside work.

    Cons

    Stagnancy, fear, lack of process improvement.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "review"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is good.

    Cons

    Livermore, California is very expensive


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Mechanical Design Engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Low stress, good work hours, decent benefits (15 vacation days off, 12 sick leave days off, 9.5% 401k, good tuition reimbursement program, kaiser with no deductible)

    Cons

    Narrow job focus, job classification lumps engineers in with non-engineer designers for pay purposes, job performance review process is not transparent, low pay

    Advice to Management

    Improve budget stability, implement a mentor program for new-hires, improve internal processes

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Response

    Feb 18, 2016

    Thank you for your comments! Employees are invited to choose and engage with a mentor and it is an employee-driven process available through Human Resources. Please feel free to review this on the ... More


  11. Helpful (4)

    "Challenging, great work. Rewards are not good."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    Good benefits. Most challenging work on the planet.

    Cons

    No longer have a pension. Negotiate a good salary coming in, you'll never see a decent raise at this place. Place is full of degree snobs.

    Advice to Management

    Pay more, better raises, bring back pensions to new/current employees that don't have them.



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