Monterey Bay Aquarium Reviews | Glassdoor

Monterey Bay Aquarium Reviews

Updated July 22, 2017
31 reviews

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3.6
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Julie Packard
20 Ratings

31 Employee Reviews

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  1. "A great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager of Public Programs in Monterey, CA
    Current Employee - Manager of Public Programs in Monterey, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Monterey Bay Aquarium full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Excellent Benefits, Excellent Resources to make big ideas happen, Wonderful coworkers, supportive management

    Cons

    Sometimes can be too serious, not somewhere you should work first, better to gain experience and then come work here.


  2. "Beware the Golden Handcuffs"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Monterey, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Monterey, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Monterey Bay Aquarium full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    During my time at MBA I had many adventures, made life long friends, and had the opportunity to contribute to many first in the world projects. I am proud of being from MBA. It is a place filled with wonderful and lovely idealistic people, who genuinely want to contribute to making a difference in the world. They are some of the most competent, well-educated, best-skilled people I have ever had the privilege of working with. It is a good place to get your start because you will be exposed to a culture of excellence, and will know what sorts of projects are possible when funding is not an issue. During my time there, everyone was excellent at what they did, which meant that unfortunately we couldn't do everybody's good idea. In fact, there is literally a department of people who have the good ideas that are carried out. If you are not in that department, you must be content to do you your part to carry out the ideas of others. For the first five years this is OK, for years 5 - 10 it can be frustrating to not be allowed to see your ideas come to fruition on a large scale. Years 10+ can be even tougher. This is why MBA has a difficult time keeping their best and brightest for longer than 10 years, they move on to places where they can see their vision come to light.

    Cons

    If you do not fit in with certain people then advancement will be impossible.

    I watched some really good people lose their jobs after they were injured building MBA temporary exhibitions. They were told that since they were no longer able to fulfil the duties of the job, they had to go. Shameful.

    Intellectual property: Any good idea you have belongs to MBA - not to you.

    Advice to Management

    Nobody likes being told, "We are world famous, you are lucky to be here!" In reality, you were lucky to have us. Although I am grateful for the opportunities I enjoyed contributing my energy to, I wouldn't want my family members, or people I care deeply about to work at MBA. It is a drain on one's self esteem. In the end I felt exploited.

  3. "Great environment and coworkers as well as benefits"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Underwater Explorers Instructor in Monterey, CA
    Current Employee - Underwater Explorers Instructor in Monterey, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Monterey Bay Aquarium (More than a year)

    Pros

    Surrounded by passionate coworkers who really care about what they do.
    There are many benefits for working there. If you really dedicate your time into this institution there is a lot of education opportunities as well as internal advancement.

    Cons

    Extremely competitive. Don't be surprised to find yourself competing against extremely talented coworkers for a select number of sometimes temporary positions.


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Terrible Top-Down Management, Worst Work Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Monterey, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Monterey, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Monterey Bay Aquarium full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Supporting the mission
    - Beautiful Location
    - Coworkers
    - Good restaurants nearby

    Cons

    After 4+ years It was an awful work experience and I ditto "PIT OF ELITISM AND PRIVILEGE." What was worst about working here:
    - the "top down" management style **cannot emphasize this enough**
    - inflexibility for families unless you are senior management, then it's fine to only be in the office 2-4 hours a week while other staff picks up slack
    - "anonymous" HR survey on senior staff will result in your senior staff bringing everyone into a meeting to threaten everyone for their "anonymous" responses.
    - Senior staff can't remember your name after you work closely with them for over 2 years. (Am I supposed to do this for you, or should I find a person named "xyz"?)
    - dismal amount of vacation and holidays, must schedule year-end holidays in July, and can only pick either Thanksgiving or Christmas. If any variation or more than a few days it is "inappropriate"
    - not being paid a living wage, and when asking for a raise in person and following up multiple times, never getting a response ever
    - No autonomy, unable to make any decisions, micro-managed. You can't have a meeting, you can't buy office supplies, you can't even send an email to another person in your office unless a manager has read and approved it.
    - If you go to lunch with coworkers leave and arrive separately so that you don't look like a "click" which according to management is "inappropriate"
    - Sitting through meetings while manager talks about themselves being a drunk
    - Having a "team" meeting where no one is allowed to talk but manager
    - Other coworkers had to push hard for breastfeeding accommodation.
    - if you are internal you are a leper for advancement
    - everyone is always overworked and stressed out
    - Watched coworker go through agonizing ordeal after a work injury, Aquarium was not accommodating and made process very difficult, treated them like a criminal.

    It was an emotionally abusive and stressful experience. In the end, I just wouldn't talk to anyone for fear of someone seeing me talking, or not in my cubicle. Now at my new job I can finally be comfortable at work. When I'm in a meeting and someone makes a joke or just has an opinion I no longer think "they are going to get fired" or "I hope I'm not looking at them when they said that because I might be fired." I'm now able to have ideas and work on projects where I have input in a team environment.

    Do not work at the Aquarium unless you just plan to use it as a resume builder. I know so many people who are borderline homeless because they "love" the Aquarium. Why? Their budget is $160 mil. + a year and senior staff is raking in $140k and $240k just in my old department. I encourage everyone to steer clear, or quit. I am so much happier.

    Advice to Management

    Value employees, pay them a living wage, accommodate flexible schedules, create team environment.


  5. Helpful (4)

    "PIT OF ELITISM AND PRIVILEGE"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Monterey Bay Aquarium full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Beautiful location, great benefits, co-workers, mission. Leverage the opportunity and trappings for all they are worth and move on to find a better, respectful work environment.

    Cons

    The "leadership" does not know what it means to lead. You will quickly find people in high "leadership" roles with no experience in the roles for which they were hired. "Leadership" model excellent examples of the passive aggressive style of communication and do not value or appreciate constructive feedback from their experienced staff. "Leadership" is easily threatened by smart, engaging millennials and will find ways to undermine you. Additionally, "leadership" are not held accountable for unprofessional, unethical, and irresponsible behavior. Consistently late to meetings, no vision, no planning, no class,no accountability, no sense of contrition for wrong doings--You are hired for management and will be celebrated!!! If you believe in "Do as I say, not as I do" as a mantra, you will thrive. Staff that have been exemplary in their roles for 3-10+ years are rarely promoted. Bullying as a "leadership style" is acceptable, encouraged, rewarded and protected. If you come from a privileged background, married into it, and/or are connected to hiring staff, you will get hired and do well. It is a sad place to work with very little respect for work life balance.

    Advice to Management

    Management is well aware of their failings as they have been repeatedly told of their deficiencies throughout the years through survey results from staff, meetings, and so on. It is a pit of elitism and privilege--an autocracy with the feigned image of a collaborative and synergistic team environment.


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Education"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Monterey Bay Aquarium full-time

    Pros

    Beautiful aquarium, great coworkers, good message.

    Cons

    Extremely bureaucratic, everything has to go through 50 different channels for approval. Also, management has been there for decades and there is no chance to break through. Additionally, be prepared to have your past achievements completely erased the moment you start your job. They laugh at their tendency towards "institutional amnesia"...

    Also, pay is abysmal considering the INSANE cost of living in Monterey. A single income family cannot survive.

    Advice to Management

    Value the hard work your employees put in the years before you hired them. You hired them for these experiences, allow them to use them and flourish.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Has a lot of potential"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Aquaculture Research Analyst in Stanford, CA
    Former Employee - Aquaculture Research Analyst in Stanford, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great people working for a very important cause. The Seafood Watch program has a huge impact in the industry and consumers.

    Cons

    Lack of communication among different components of the program (biz, research and outreach).
    Needs to think more on career development for low rank employees.

  8. "World-class institution"

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

    I have been working at Monterey Bay Aquarium part-time

    Pros

    I am so blessed and honored to work here! People travel from all over the world to visit even for a day, and through my role as a membership sales rep, I invite them to be apart of the Aquarium's mission-- to inspire conservation of the ocean.

    Cons

    I've only been here about 1.5 months but so far it's been a great experience! Despite the challenges of working with the public and being on your feet for hours, it's a positive and fun work environment!


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Unacceptable Treatment of Employees"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Monterey Bay Aquarium full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Beautiful place to work. Amazing animals and a good core message.

    Cons

    The management constantly puts down their employees. You are constantly reminded that because they are so prestigious that you are replaceable and have little value. Inappropriate comments made by managers. Slackers are never punished but hard workers are. Overall very unhealthy work place.

    Advice to Management

    Many very hard workers quit because they feel they are not rewarded for the years that they dedicate to your company. Reward those that work hard. Fire those that are slackers and break the rules constantly. Stop picking favorites who don't get reprimanded.


  10. "Valued staff"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Monterey Bay Aquarium full-time

    Pros

    The Monterey Bay Aquarium values conservation and the natural world. Their dedication to sea life and nature is reflected in the staff and the culture they foster. Wonderful company to work for.

    Cons

    Strict guidelines to adhere to.


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