I worked at Picatinny part-time
It's a very small community. You quickly fall into patterns and meet "hallway buddies" that you pass at the same time each day. Everyone knows each other and if you haven't met yet, there is always someone that can introduce you. It's great for networking. For the most part, it's consistent hours. If you're lucky you get to leave a little bit early before most holidays. The jobs come with pretty decent benefits and sometimes access to nice facilities (such as discounts and a membership at the gym).
There isn't always the opportunity to move upwards. It's a great place to start out but starts to feel monotonous after a while. There are a LOT of regulations to follow and inspections to pass (That being said: you learn and grow from it. Even if it is stressful).
Gives great pay and benefits.
People lack enthusiasm and drive and live by the saying "good enough for government work." The workplace is anything but inspiring.
Advice to Management
Fire people who suck at their job.
Good benefits and working conditions. Good retirement plan.
Limited opportunity to advance based on individual initiative. Very controlled by Federal regulations.
Advice to Management
Benefits. Rise up in rank quickly.
No real engineering. All the real engineering is done by Contractors.
Advice to Management
Federal government needs to do their own engineering.
I worked at Picatinny full-time (More than 5 years)
- Hard to get fired
- Work/Life balance -- once you are done with work, you are basically done with work
- SOME organizations within Picatinny are well managed, and work on interesting projects that can be very rewarding.
- Will pay for graduate school (the best benefit of working here)
- Gym and other facilities on site
- Very talented engineers who are a pleasure to work with
You can end up on a good team -- but this is up for chance.
TL;DR: You’ll love it or hate it (you’ll more than likely hate it)
Picatinny is very large organization that’s highly compartmentalized. You can either be very lucky and end up on a great team (they exist, but more are bad than good), or you can end up on a really bad team. It’s a game of Russian Roulette. Below are some of my experiences:
- Highly political -
Very dysfunctional; obscene amounts of political in-fighting and favoritism amongst teams and managers. This will absolutely affect you (even amongst well managed teams). Many projects have failed because of this. I can't stress how bad the political infighting really is.
-- Collaboration with other teams is hard and discouraged:
There is an over-reliance on “chain of command”
- Not a meritocracy:
Hard working and self-starting individuals are the most dissatisfied at Picatinny. The rating system is stacked ranking with favoritism on steroids. Don’t expect your hard work and effort to be recognized (in some organizations).
- It's "too hard" for people that are not productive and downright toxic to the organization to be let go -
In some cases, these individuals are promoted. Often, others need to do their work for them.
- Terrible management -
This is broad, but there are some specifics to outline:
-- Lack of professionalism and objectivity:
For many organizations within Picatinny, managers have close personal relationships that greatly affect their ability to make objective decisions. In some cases, managers are in very obvious romantic relationships. As one can imagine, problems in the relationship bleed into the work environment.
-- Too much focus on funding and growing the organization:
The Government is not a business, yet the management is overly focused on growing the size and scope of what the org must work on. This often comes at the expense of time and resources to work on existing projects and obligations.
-- No interest or care in what you are most talented in working on:
See career development below.
-- Poor priorities and values:
Good, innovative work is not valued at Picatinny; bringing money into the org is. A lot of this is political.
-- Lack of motivation for improvement:
Unfortunately, too many managers have the attitude that you would never leave a stable Government job with benefits. So, they lack the motivation to make meaningful improvements.
-- Many managers are simply control-freaks
- Poor career development and pigeonholing -
The Government has a very heavy-handed approach to career development. They force you to take many training courses (40+hours at a time) that are not even remotely relevant to your job function. They consider this “career development”
-- Mobility is difficult:
Unless your management wants you to move elsewhere, mobility is very hard to achieve. Managers often block people from moving to other organizations where they would be a better fit. This is due to the religion of the org chart (see politics above). As such, your manager would much rather you be unhappy and not grow professionally than contribute to the greater organization. In some cases, pettiness of management plays a role (again, see Politics above).
-- Ignorance of your skillset and career goals:
This is very significant. Picatinny management could not care less about what is in your best interest career wise. They often pigeonhole people into job functions that are mundane, and lack professional growth. It is way too common for people to be explicitly hired for technical job functions to quickly be placed onto a non-technical career path. They very much encourage and task highly-technical staff to work on business developmental work (and rate poorly if you fail to do this). <- For some people, moving from technical to management is OK, and in line with your career goals. But, it is something that you need to be made aware of.
- Poor physical work environment -
This depends entirely on your building. Some buildings are newer and are OK. However, there are other work environments in very old buildings that should frankly be condemned. The building I worked at was dirty, dilapidated, had frequent HVAC issues, mold and pest problems.
All the above being said, if you are lucky to land on a good team, then you will not have many of the above problems. However, there are too many orgs at Picatinny that have the above flaws (some are universal). As another reviewer very well said: “You’ll love it or hate it” -- I hated it.
Throughout my career, I have spoken with many people of various DoD installations, and I can very well say that Picatinny Arsenal is one of the worst DoD installations that you can work at.
Advice to Management
Resign. Stop the political infighting; we all work for the same people, and we all have the same goals. Respect is not automatically given; it’s earned. Show your employees respect, and actually talk to them individually. See what they want to do with their career and help them grow professionally. Stop dumping work on people and pigeonholing them -- help them grow professionally, and your employees will show you loyalty and respect.
I have been working at Picatinny full-time (Less than a year)
Flexible Time (SDO)
Too much travel
Not much planning
Silos and complicated processes
I have been working at Picatinny full-time (More than 8 years)
Good pay, good benefit and laid back work environment. Job security as well since this is a federal government entity.
Office politics will consume you. You either fit in with the majority or you don't and get frustrated.
Lots of great projects and opportunities to gain experience as an intern. Also lots of friendly people who help make you feel like a part of the team.
Pay isn't great and as an intern you don't get any of the government benefits. All your friends who didn't go into the public sector will be making double your salary
Advice to Management
Keep on getting the young people engaged. Any project is better than having nothing to do at work. If there isn't any work in your department let interns explore other areas
good benefit package, training and education provided, good working environment.
Some transferable skill set backs
I have been working at Picatinny full-time (More than 5 years)
Salary may not be as high as private industry, but the benefits make up for it. You get a good amount of holidays, rarely have to work late, and most importantly a stable job. The chances of them having to lay off people are slim and it's also really difficult for them to fire you too. Also, depending on your management, vacation and sick time use is pretty flexible, and you can work a compressed schedule so that you get off every other Friday!
Morale can be low depending on your management. There are issues with working with employees who are basically just counting down the days to retirement and have absolutely no motivation (especially since it's difficult to fire people here). Also, there's always the risk of furloughs (aka forced unpaid days off) and you don't get a paid lunch break!
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