Physical Optics Corporation Reviews | Glassdoor

Physical Optics Corporation Reviews

Updated August 7, 2017
67 reviews

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2.9
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Physical Optics Corporation Chairman, President and CEO Joanna Jannson
Joanna Jannson
45 Ratings

67 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • There is career rewarding for hard working and effective problem solver (in 6 reviews)

  • They have free coffee which is nice, and a handful of fun company wide morale booster type parties throughout the year (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • 3- HR is essentially a secret agent for the upper management (in 12 reviews)

  • The technical staff people are also unhappy (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great Place To Work"

    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 Physical Optics Corporation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    People who care about the products, s well as flexibility to grow and develop under successful leaders.

    Cons

    None at the moment, but there are most likely some bad moments for everyone.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Unhappy people turn happy after they leave"

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

    I worked at Physical Optics Corporation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Working on many projects helps the resume.

    Company is a viable opportunity for people that cannot get jobs at nearby aerospace companies due to attitude, personality or inability to get clearance. But, there are caveats (see Cons).

    Cons

    There are three groups of people at this company: support staff, technical and management.

    The support staff are the happy people seen around the main lobby. They are well treated.

    The management people are unhappy. A horrible work environment is forced down from the very top. Survival involves accepting the worst habits of mismanagement, including repeated and personal public reprimands, blame transfer, and dictatorial authority. Those who do not submit, leave.

    The technical staff people are also unhappy. The management people end up passing on the negativity to the technical staff. Even managers who would be great at other companies are overwhelmed by the negativity, sometimes with active encouragement from higher levels. It flows down hill, and technical staff gets the brunt.

    None of the information in this review is news to anybody at the company. This environment seems to have persisted for years on the principle that employees are to be treated badly so they will quit after a couple of years, making room for new cheaper employees. Employees that do not quit get fired. More yelling and crying occurs in one month at POC than in a decade at other companies.

    Word is that the environment has not changed even though the company is entering a new expansion phase, due to inertia.

    A great question for those considering employment at POC is to ask about the employee turnover rate in your new group. Maybe there's a reason that POC only lets managers interview potential hires. Too many scared away by non-managers during the interviews?

    Advice to Management

    There is no advice to give to current management since the company is, apparently, operating according to company principles.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "looking good...."

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

    I have been working at Physical Optics Corporation full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    plenty of opportunity to grow my career because company is growing fast; the new technology fair is cool

    Cons

    not sure if there is enough space although I heard there is another building (?); not sure what I would do if I'm not into avionics

    Advice to Management

    would like to hear "the plan"


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Scientist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Physical Optics Corporation full-time

    Pros

    Research and Development Company working on cutting edge technologies

    Cons

    Senior members are not at co-operative to the new employees. Any time you can expect back-stabbing.

    Advice to Management

    Very bad management.


  5. Helpful (8)

    "High pay, low integrity."

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

    I have been working at Physical Optics Corporation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Many employees have comfortable jobs and are paid well compared to other companies, and jobs are easy to come by and interview for, even with sub par qualifications. Since POC milks the SBIR system, these jobs are also stable as long as there is funding. There is a good amount of freedom of time outside of proposal season crunch, almost everyone has a private office. There are many different programs to work on at any given time. The benefits package was recently upgraded, and is now average among small companies. There is a ping pong table that several of us use to release stress during breaks.

    Cons

    Middle/upper management is untrained and driven by revenue, which compromises the quality of programs and the integrity of the company. Program funds are used to write more proposals and support "strategic" programs rather than create products, and POC's "portfolio" is embellished and based on a couple of these "strategic" programs that the end customer is unhappy with. Unfortunately, those with the negative information about these programs hide it, so the company continues to think it is successful and it's aimless, abusive approach is correct.

    POC attempts to hide their shortcomings and mislead the employees about success and opportunities, but this only hurts overall employee loyalty, which causes POC's high technical staff turnover.

    There is a lot of internal politics that lock you in your position for life, and managers intentionally sabotage employees to keep the power distribution in check.

    Advice to Management

    Work on cleaning up your upper management tier that misguide you and abuse employees. The perceived success you have is actually based on lies from these managers to you, and many programs are on the edge of becoming huge liabilities.


  6. "Inflated"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    You get a unique experience working with different projects and become exposed to different backgrounds. Like all Defense, working in POC means you compete for contracts and all the crazy project ideas that you can think of (or search for). Title promotions are relatively fast compared to other companies.

    Cons

    Office politics besides the typical top down pressure. You'll get immature bickering between lead engineers and coworkers. Be careful how many times you skip eating lunch with your team, because you might get outcast. Experienced a senior engineer claim a younger colleague's work as their own and deny it when confronted. Obvious which side management takes. Also if you're a young engineer, don't expect to keep any of your good projects.

    Advice to Management

    Work out this young vs old gap within the departments.
    Find why you're so disconnected to your employees.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Fast growth means new opportunities"

    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 Physical Optics Corporation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    best opportunities for career advancement than at any place I've ever worked before

    Cons

    growing very fast - it's a little scary. Haven't dumped the old dead wood yet.

    Advice to Management

    You know about the old dead wood, right? Why are you hesitating?

  8. "Good place to work, IF you like to write TONS of proposals"

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

    I have been working at Physical Optics Corporation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Co-workers are really fun to work with. They put in the effort to deliver on time. They have free coffee which is nice, and a handful of fun company wide morale booster type parties throughout the year. Oh yeah and a ping pong table if you're into that. They're probably going to get rid of it soon, but we'll see.

    The pay is not bad either, you could probably get more elsewhere but it's good enough to bring people in.

    Cons

    The major con I see most is lack of management skills in those they let run the projects. Whoever writes, and wins, the proposal is put in charge of managing that project from a schedule and financial standpoint. This is a terrible idea as you get a bunch of scientists and/or engineers who have no managerial skills, nor care to develop them, running the show. That is why you see a lot of other reviews stating that you're always rushed to finish your work, it's true. They always seem to run out of time and money before a prototype is properly designed and built.

    The other issue you'll run into a lot is the push back you'll get when asked to estimate how long and how much something you're working on will take to design and/or build. You know best how long it should take to do your job but for some reason the pseudo managers will always tell those doing the work that it shouldn't take that long nor cost that much. That's rich considering they're the ones asking the professionals, who do this on a regular basis I might add, what it takes to get the job done, but they don't want to accept it.

    And last but not least is the idea that you'll need to keep working on one task to completion but charge your time to another project in the meantime because the project you're working on is out of money, get used to that quickly. Sad but true. The ethical standards in some of the division directors is less than par.

    So if none of this bothers you, and you like writing proposals, then please feel free to join the POC family, welcome aboard.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on products that your customers need and spend your time and money on those and ditch the SBIR proposal concept as a way to keep your company in business because when push comes to shove, you'll always set aside making real products, to write more and more proposals just to get more money.

    Physical Optics Corporation Response

    Jan 23, 2017 – Human Resources

    Thank you for your comments and especially your feedback on accurate time charging at POC. One of the elements and a major focus of the Compliance Program (now more than two years old) is time sheet... More


  9. "Lab project engineer"

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

    Pros

    There is career rewarding for hard working and effective problem solver.

    Cons

    Stressful works. Every project has a short time to complete.

    Advice to Management

    For mutual benefit, pay attention to employee's feeling and need.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Great company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Flexible hours.
    Good work life balance
    Good benefits package
    Competitive pay
    Medium size/family like culture
    Great exposure to a variety of technologies
    Management to worker communication is improving

    Cons

    Hard to become an expert in an area when you constantly multi task in a variety of fields.

    It comes with the growth, but for some, the transition to becoming a larger company can be difficult


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