SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Reviews in Menlo Park, CA | Glassdoor

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Menlo Park Reviews

Updated March 17, 2017
53 reviews

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Menlo Park, CA

3.2
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Approve of CEO
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Laboratory Director Chi-Chang Kao
Chi-Chang Kao
25 Ratings

53 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Too many politics gets in the way of getting things done (in 4 reviews)

  • Upper management has created a hostile interaction between these shops and the large projects (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Facilities and Operations"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Facilities Technician in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Facilities Technician in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great location and surroundings, excellent benefits including children's tuition grant (50% of Stanford University's tuition), great training programs & opportunities. Clear vision and goals from Directors.

    Cons

    Funded by DOE which can be stressful at times regarding Government budgets, every few years new management comes in and tries to reinvent the wheel.


  2. "Engineer"

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

    I have been working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Most meaningful engineering work I've ever done

    Cons

    management could be more effective


  3. Helpful (1)

    "SLAC Cowboys still rule here"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great location. Solid benefits. Good job security. Interesting work. You can do some cutting edge science here. Technical execution and experimental support are world class.

    Cons

    Management has generally been promoted from hard driving scientists, engineers and technicians who have close to zero people skill. A macho, bullying, cowboy attitude still prevails. Slim advancement opportunities since many here are lifetime SLACers. A friend once told me that SLAC is a place careers go to die, so don't stay too long.

    Advice to Management

    Chi-Chang is a great guy, but I don't know if he will be able to overcome the entrenched cowboy culture or the horrible dehumanizing mistake of matrixed services that were started under Persis. I wish you the best of luck, Chi-Chang, that you will be able to cut out the few bad apples and promote a culture that supports good communication and appreciation of the faithful employees who truly do love the lab.


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  5. "PostSoc at SSRL"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great research center. Excellent collaboration.

    Cons

    Lower salary that in industry.


  6. "Visiting Physicist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Visiting Physicist in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Contractor - Visiting Physicist in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory as a contractor (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Lightsource LCLS
    - Many bright people
    - Inspiring environment (Silicon Valley / Stanford)
    - Stanford University
    - Benefits

    Cons

    - Director
    - National Lab Environment
    - Safety
    - Hierarchical
    - Lab-vision
    - Scientists seen as beamline support staff
    - Living-cost

    Advice to Management

    Career possibilities for young scientists. Less Hierarchies. Valuation of scientists


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Business Administrator, LCLS"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Business Administrator, LCLS in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Business Administrator, LCLS in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    When I started here 10 years ago I was pleasantly surprised by the great work environment: Respect; knowledge; creativity; warmth…people cared. Maybe the buildings were old and the offices were not spectacular, but people were always happy to come to work each day, and all of us tried to do absolutely the best. I was always proud to say that I work for SLAC.
    • Support cutting-edge science.
    • Multicultural and international environment.
    • Decent salary and great benefits.
    • A chance to work with and know exceptional, visionary scientists from all over the world.
    Unfortunately, these positives have steadily declined since then.

    Cons

    The lab has experienced changes in management and strategy in the last few years.
    The new LCLS management behaves like a club for feudal lords. The knowledge and experience of their serfs is not considered or appreciated. “Yes, sir” is the only right response because your personal vision and opinion is prohibited.
    To maintain a wide gap between upper management and the workers, they hire middle management whose qualifications are not important so long as they embrace double standards and manipulation, while honesty is viewed as a weakness.
    Communication between workers is not encouraged, and some office workers are instructed not to talk to people from other departments.
    The climate of fear and intimidation motivates workers to do the absolute minimum required by their job description because they feel any more or less is too risky.
    All strategic decisions are made behind closed doors, and then proclaimed as a directive that you need to act positive about. You cannot express any concerns about the decisions.

    Advice to Management

    Stanford provides lots of classes for management which you attend all the time. You should be good students and learn that workers cannot function in a hostile and toxic environment that you create. It cannot be sustained for long.


  8. Helpful (7)

    "Supply Chain Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Subcontracts Administrator in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Subcontracts Administrator in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good salary. Good benefits. Good working hours. No severe overtime required. Nice peers and coworkers in general. The work is not too demanding and people in general are willing to help you understand.

    Cons

    I have never witnessed such poor management in my work life. They are unclear about their expectations, goals and planning. They seem to play favorites. They are not transparent at all. They are not mature. And they do not build their people, they actually seem to tear them apart. This unfortunately is a toxic environment. Do not engage HR as you will end up in worse shape than you were in. HR only and blindly supports management.

    Advice to Management

    Get some integrity. Grow up and be transparent with your people. Communicate your real expectations. Support your people in achieving them. Avoid drama and playing favorites...build a pleasant environment to work in.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Super duper DoE"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Freelancer - Anonymous Freelancer in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Freelancer - Anonymous Freelancer in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Nobel laureates, beautiful campus (if you're not stashed in a bunker), great perks.

    Cons

    Technology leadership completely out to lunch and negligent. Some of the worst risk management I have ever seen. Decades of technical debt.

    Punishes squeaky wheels who try to fix things.

    Advice to Management

    Hire someone outside of NASA/research to manage technology. This path isn't working out.


  10. "Had a great time here. Good place to start"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends

    I worked at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory as a contractor

    Pros

    - Many smart and wise people around
    - Access to stanford facilities
    - Great location (next to sandhill road)

    Cons

    - Red tape
    - Not suitable for engineers


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Operations Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Operations Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Operations Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Wonderful people, great science, great area.

    Cons

    Too many meetings, some resistance to change by many who have been there for 20+ years, financial systems are a mess

    Advice to Management

    Embrace incoming workforce, beat average salaries to keep staff, better financial system



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