National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) Reviews | Glassdoor

National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) Reviews

Updated July 30, 2017
32 reviews

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3.8
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National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) Director Anthony (Tony) Beasley
Anthony (Tony) Beasley
12 Ratings

32 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Working for the NRAO!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Socorro, NM
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Socorro, NM
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Very relaxed atmosphere. High degree of control over your work. Little supervision. Excellent benefits. Some telecommuting. Working for NRAO. Managers are technical people, or scientists, they know their stuff.

    Cons

    It can be tough to nail down specs, interfaces, etc. for software with the different stakeholders. What's a documentation? Salary is mediocre. Office located in a smallish town, 75 miles to next big city. Managers are technical people, or scientists, they know next to nothing about managing people.

    Advice to Management

    Give your managers some "people management" training.


  2. "If you like gossip..."

    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 National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) full-time

    Pros

    Benefits are amazing, especially vacation

    Cons

    Gossip, inappropriate office behavior, cannot get ahead unless you're "in" with management

  3. "Change"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technician in Socorro, NM
    Former Employee - Technician in Socorro, NM
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great place to work for many years.

    Cons

    Change in directions and management style.

    Advice to Management

    N/A


  4. "Mechanical Engineer"

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

    I worked at National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Cutting edge science and exposure to working in a respected federal government research lab

    Cons

    Engineers/scientists are promoted to senior leadership, and they often do not have management experience


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Interference Protection and RF Management Co-op"

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

    Pros

    The job was very exciting, in the sense that every day was very different. One day I was driving a manlift around the VLA, and the next I was doing research on antenna designs. Yet another day would find me doing analysis of existing antennas around NRAO sites.

    Cons

    The only con for the specific site that I was working at, the VLA outside of Socorro, NM, is that it is very out of the way.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Some good, too much bad."

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

    Pros

    Helping to understand the origins of the universe, not just making the rich richer.

    Some really great people. Some interesting technologies in very narrow fields.

    Better than average time off.

    Cons

    If you are not an Astronomer, you are a second class citizen.

    If you are not good with politics, expect to be ground under foot by those who are.

    Stagnant wages, benefits take-backs, and politics drove out many of my peers.

    Except for a few areas where NRAO is a technology leader, most technology at NRAO follows the herd. Some technologies fall behind the herd.

    Advice to Management

    Base decisions on solid technical and business grounds, not on politics. Do not tolerate politics.

    Study industries that have successfully reduced bureaucracy and increased productivity. NRAO management was an impediment in both areas.


  7. "NRAO Review"

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

    Pros

    Great experience with science, astronomy, technical knowledge, people are brilliant and willing to share information. Challenging work!

    Cons

    For non-scientific positions, salary plus compensation is not close to similar positions in industry, yet the work is more challenging.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Internship"

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

    Pros

    I interned over the summer. The research opportunities were great.

    Cons

    Very few people of color and/or women worked here.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great Place Brilliant People"

    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 National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The work environment is really nice, There are lots of things in place to engage people from the scientific talks, colloquia's, staff presentations and staff organizations. The benefits package is really generous especially around leave and contributions to retirement plan. There is an office of inclusion and diversity and great public outreach. The CEO is supportive and has an open door policy.

    Cons

    There are some opportunity with coaching management. There are some people with in the organization that don't adapt well to change.

    Advice to Management

    Seek training and literature in addition to what the HR department offers. Being a technical person and expert in a particular area does not qualify a person to be the best manager. It takes work and self evaluation.


  10. "I love this place!!"

    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 National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great environment, generous leave time, contributions to my retirement, intelligent staff, excellent awareness of diversity and inclusion in staff and Director is leading an initiative to create more awareness around this in the culture.

    Cons

    Culture and pay can be hard to adjust if you are coming from industry. However if you enjoy working around amazing people and things in science than it trumps some of the culture shock.

    Advice to Management

    I would encourage management to read books or get training in managing people and seeking additional resources in helping to manage people and performance. Most managers are pretty good at managing people but clearly better at the more technical aspects of the job.


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