I have been working at Ocean Tomo full-time
Challenging work. Unique work. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect when I joined but things have worked out pretty well. It's almost like a cross between finance and the law. Is the work sometimes repetitive? Yes, but that is the nature of preparing reports for litigation, as everything has to be 100% perfect or the expert (my boss) will get killed on cross examination. Like a lot of professions this one gets more interesting as you stick with it since you have more client-involvement and higher level work.
Work/life balance is good. I have had some 80 hour weeks and some weekends, but I also have had lots of "easy" weeks and have taken several weeks of vacation a year.
As others have mentioned, 401k match is lacking. The monthly firm outings have also seemed to have dropped to every other month and I wish we still went out every month. It would also be nice to get together with the other offices (we have offices in several cities) more than just once or twice a year. Maybe we should have at least three all-firm get togethers a year, one in each of the major offices.
Advice to Management
My advice is really related to my "cons". More outings and get togethers would improve morale I think. And a 401k match would be good too.
I worked at Ocean Tomo full-time
1. Company has "unlimited PTO", which is good because you don't have to acrue PTO before using it. It is bad because you may not have ownership over a certain amount of days, so it may be hard to take off 3 straight weeks even though you have 15 days, for example, depending on your boss. Management is overall very understanding of taking time off, and I would say the average employee takes more time off here than most other firms, which is a plus. All time off is paid.
2. Very casual, familial culture. Some employees, especially the director and MD level employees seem to have been there a long time. I think this is a sign that people really do enjoy working there if there isn't turnover.
3. Paid continuing education classes if management approved of it.
4. Alot of after work fun events designed to allow employees to have fun and bond, even in the economic downturn.
1. No 401K match even in an uptick in the job environment.
2. Niche business, so transferability of skills is very weak at best, most exit opportunities are other patent-related businesses. If patents are what you love, this isn't a con. Business school is intriguing as the experience is very different than other business school applicants. There isn't much the company can do about this con as patents are their business.
3. We paid 20% of the healthcare costs pretax.
4. From my understanding, some of the business lines may pay below market rates.
5. There is some expectation that you work for other groups in times of downturn in your business line, which I disliked. Employees have their strength and weaknesses which make them bad fits for other business lines sometimes. We also don't get compensated based upon work for other lines, so incentives are not aligned there.
Advice to Management
Aim for a higher standard of entry-level employees. Except on the West Coast where there are USC and UC Berkeley hires, aspire to hire the top students everywhere. In the Midwest (biggest office) in Chicago, management does not hire heavily at U of Chicago, Northwestern, Notre Dame, etc, which are the best schools in the region. It is more common to see U of Illinois, Indiana University and DePaul at the firm. No disrespect to those schools, but there isn't even a recruiting presence at the previously mentioned schools. I think it results in lower quality work.
The company has several nice, intelligent, hard-working employees. Work product is thorough and accurate. The company encourages a very innovative culture.
The hours can be demanding, as some projects can require late nights and weekends. The company has a very small, familial culture and some employees have not enjoyed similar successes and/or opportunities as those who have been around longer.
Advice to Management
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