NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Reviews | Glassdoor

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Reviews

Updated June 20, 2018
428 reviews

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4.2
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NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Michael Watkins
Michael Watkins
30 Ratings

428 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Great work life balance, the 9/80 work schedule is wonderful" (in 48 reviews)

  • "The 9-80 work schedule is a great way to ensure work-life balance" (in 23 reviews)

Cons
  • "there are no cons to this company" (in 11 reviews)

  • "Hard to get a full time job there" (in 9 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    "Radiation Control Manager"

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

    I have been working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Best place in the world to work in aerospace. Challenging and exciting missions that you feel an integral part of.

    Cons

    You may not want to retire because work is exciting.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work


  2. "JPL"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Pasadena, CA
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Pasadena, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    College like atmosphere, with very brilliant people

    Cons

    The only con i would give that is that employee parking is very limited

    Advice to Management

    Keep letting employees grow and they will stay for a long time

  3. "Office of the CIO and IT Needs Work"

    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 NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great to work with talented individuals who are building some bleeding edge technologies. Seeing space robots on campus is pretty amazing.

    Cons

    It's government, so there is a significant amount of red tape and established policies and procedures, that take forever to evolve with the times. Those who are hungry and constantly seek growth, will find that growth opportunity is slow.

    Advice to Management

    Incumbents and lifers need to be open minded about fresh ideas and approaches and can't be territorial if they want a new generation to work there. Either fire those who provide no value to the team or organization or find a new role that can capitalize on their strengths. Train those in senior positions to provide mentorship and guidance instead of allowing them to be territorial to those who try to provide value.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Depends on who you're working for"

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

    I worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    Great coworkers, great time off and retirement benefits, have to pay in to the health insurance, but it's worth it. Prestige in working at JPL.

    Cons

    Horribly outdated systems, nothing is centralized and there's no real reason for it. It's like working in the 1990's, but worse. Some of the egos were ridiculous. Depending on who you work for, your manager can be really supportive or throw you under the bus. Largely overall, the leadership does not seem to care about the employees.


  5. "JPL"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    Great Work environment, super competent coworkers, great work life balance

    Cons

    Advancement can be slow because worker turnover is relatively low, you don't always have a ton of say on what types of work or projects you get to work on


  6. "Absolutely phenomenal place to work."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Systems Engineer I in Pasadena, CA
    Current Employee - Systems Engineer I in Pasadena, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Incredible management, passionate, hardworking coworkers and exciting work.

    Cons

    Cons? Cons of working at JPL? No way.


  7. "."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    flexibility to pursue your own research ideas

    Cons

    tons of red tape to get anything done

  8. "Feet on the ground, head in the stars"

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

    I have been working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    The sense of mission and purpose is unparalleled. Going to work is not a chore. Whether you are working directly on the science or serving a support role, as I do, you get the sense that you are contributing in a very real way to one of the greatest undertakings in human history.

    Cons

    JPL is an old organization. There is a good amount of red tape. Getting things done can be kludgy.

    Advice to Management

    Continue and expand focus on improvement efforts.


  9. "Need better succession planning"

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

    I have been working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    A good proportion of the Lab staff are really outstanding at their jobs

    Cons

    Half of the Lab personnel will retire in the next 10 years and their knowledge is not being transferred to others in any meaningful way. The up-and-coming personnel are not being prepared for the responsibilities they will inherit very soon.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Beware"

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

    I have been working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You get to work at NASA (more or less), great lifer culture, if you find yourself in a good group you can get by without much pain. And after the 6 month mark it's really really hard to get fired (good job security).

    Essentially if you are a research scientist or engineer this might be the life dream and mission. Congrats. Job security is great. But for those outsiders here there are things you should know (see cons)

    Cons

    Horribly outdated software engineering /design practices, it's well known they promote people who stop performing (aka you might be managing up often), subpar pay with no perks, horrible management response to bad employee behavior (a lot of hold my beer moments), no parking (it's a real problem just to get to work).

    The most horrendous thing is the lack of diversity in management (imagine the tech industry 20 years ago) coupled with an ivory tour mentality towards subordinates/peers.

    Advice to Management

    More women in leadership, more cultural diversity. How you treat humans matters just as much as the cool things you work on - younger working force is not going to put up with some of the lines constantly crossed here. Get it together or expect higher churn.


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