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Sun Microsystems Reviews

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Pros
  • But Sun was novel in many areas such as company-wide work from home policies before it became trendy (in 212 reviews)

  • Employee friendly, great work life balance (in 124 reviews)

Cons
  • unclear how open source focus can grow a business (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Layoffs killing the company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Program Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Marketing Program Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Still a great group of people to work with

    Cons

    Constantly waiting for the next layoff and lack of information about them once they are announced.

    Advice to Management

    Last November it was announced that there would be 6000 layoffs yet we are, in the main, still waiting. Nobody tells us what's happening - each time there is a layoff you say the last one wasn't handled very well and we'll do better this time. Guess what, your doing even worse. Not knowing how long you've got a job is no way to run a business.
    Flatten out the management structure - is there really a need for Vice Presidents, Senior VPs and Executive VP's???? talk about top heavy management structure


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Jonathan Schwartz has been replaced by former CEO Scott McNealy"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    decent salaries, used to be a fun place to work but the latest cuts put too much strain on all employees.

    Cons

    overworked, under appreciated, not much room for advancement because upper management does not make middle management develop their employees. Long term management continues to make bad decisions with lack of intervention.

    Advice to Management

    Take a long hard look at the middle managers you have making the decisions that impact your company! Until Sun takes the RIF process seriously, bad decisions will continue to manifest itself. How about putting the managers that are 1 level down in the role of their current manager or director and downgrade the salaries. This will not adversely affect the business much to your surprise. The "new blood" may actually spawn new ideas and revive the sinking company


  3. Helpful (3)

    "Sun: A Formerly Great Company. Now, Not So Much."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Pay is equal or better than elsewhere in industry, great benefits (though they slip a little more every year)
    Flexible work environment, including telecommuting
    Work/life balance is important
    Friendly environment

    Cons

    Never know when you're going to be laid off
    Managers manage from the top down; company vision is just a game of "buzzword bingo"
    Extreme focus on the appearance of caring and competence
    No growth opportunities; random work schedules don't allow for training
    No opportunity for promotion
    Fixation on outsourcing as the salvation of the company -- no in-house support for anything, from HR to office computer maintenance
    Easy to wind up in a dead end
    Lack of project planning means that the engineering staff is always on the verge of burnout, deadlines are only a suggestion
    No rewards or recognition for doing a job well, unless you're well connected with favored managers
    As long as a bad manager has superstars working for him, they'll allow that bad manager free rein to do as much damage as he can

    Advice to Management

    Quit using layoffs as your only means of cutting costs. Get rid of Jonathan before it's too late. Stop acquiring companies; you never do anything with the technology and you end up killing them anyway -- and laying off the people involved. For the sake of all that's holy, sell MySQL before you ruin it, too.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    "Evaluate Sun carefully before deciding to accept a job offer here."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Recruiter in Santa Clara, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Recruiter in Santa Clara, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Sun has a culture which supports work/life balance, and Sun truly does try to stand behind their employees and allow them the opportunity to work virtually or in the office, whichever is the best fit for the employee. This is a strong benefit, as it allows Sun to attract and retain talented individuals they otherwise may have lost to competitors.

    Cons

    Sun is a trusting and friendly culture, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, sometimes that trust can be abused by less than honest people who misrepresent themselves during the interview process, and then come on board as an employee and do nothing but support their own interests, often at large cost to Sun. I have seen many hires, sadly in HR that could be classified by any standard as a "poor hire", meaning that the hire is doing more damage than good to Sun. Because of Sun's trusting culture, these bad hires seem to multiply and it is not hard to imagine that part of Sun's current business struggles are in part because of poor hires and the subsequent retention of these hires due to lack of management backbone.

    Advice to Management

    Look at your direct reports - are they doing what they need to do to support you? Or are they running their own agendas? Will their actions ultimately cost you - both financially and careerwise?


  6. "It's certainly not the place it once was"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Program Manager in Santa Clara, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Program Manager in Santa Clara, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    There are no best reasons to work for Sun any longer

    Cons

    The concept of flex-time & working from home was a perfect one, at first. Then, Sun took it too far. It erroded the culture and the basic concept of teaming & collaboration.

    Advice to Management

    Have the courage to really make those hard changes at the top. Bring in a CEO and a Board who can really reinvent or save Sun from it's downward spiral.


  7. "Could be better"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineering Manager in Broomfield, CO
    Current Employee - Engineering Manager in Broomfield, CO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    salary is reasonable
    flex time is good

    Cons

    Constant downsizing.
    Poor strategy
    Very bad processes

    Advice to Management

    Too many bad processes. Extremely difficult to find a person responsible to get something done. Stop peanut buttering the layoffs. Pay your bills as vendors won't talk to me because they haven't been paid.


  8. "Even my wife is embarrassed to tell her friends I work for Sun"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Santa Clara, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Santa Clara, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    There are some nice and capable engineers still work for Sun. I don't know why they are still here, including myself.

    Cons

    It's depressing to see all the empty offices where laid off employees used to sit. It's also a pain to sit through all the town hall meetings listening to all the non-sense crap that comes out of the senior manager's mouths. Another downside is to look at your stock option and ESPP balances and try to guess how low it'll go.

    We now have automatic paper towel dispensers installed for cutting cost. Only 1/2 sheet of paper is dispensed each time. It's not enough to dry our hands!

    Advice to Management

    Senior management needs to go back to school and take some management courses.


  9. "Great place to do nothing if you don't care about advancement."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Staff Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Staff Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Cushy benefits, great place to do nothing.

    Cons

    No chance for advancement for young engineers.

    Advice to Management

    Build better software. They always talk about building open systems and taking advantage of open standards, but the actions are too focused on selling hardware, so the focus on software gets lost. They need to stop listening to old customers and start listening to future potential customers.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "My hair is on fire. Why aren't their hair on fire?"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    1) Flexible Hours: I can get home by 5/6pm and log-in again to work later.
    2) Smart people: Yes, some are still around.
    3) Easy-going style: not a bunch of fist-tighteners.

    Cons

    1. Results-orientation: More metrics appearing, but they don't matter because people are gaming the system.
    2. Discipline: people don't get punished for missing deadlines. so it keeps going
    3. Teamwork: when there are less food going around, people hoard information, relationships, hardware, everything
    4. Risk-taking: first-line managers are wimps. lots of name-dropping ("because vp x, y, z says so") because their influencing skills are low

    Advice to Management

    See the ball. Hit the ball. No company is ever successful by not giving customers what they want.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "When Good People go Bad"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Lead in Santa Clara, CA
    Current Employee - Technical Lead in Santa Clara, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    First-line managers are skilled, organized and professional.
    Employees are also skilled, organized, professional, knowledgeable and helpful.
    Some technologies (Java, Servers, Networks) are professionally interesting to work on.

    Cons

    Sun employees have endured unplanned layoffs three times a year for the past four years. In that length of time, Sun has retained approximately 45 thousand employees, had perhaps four thousand senior employees quit, and laid off about eleven thousand employees -- often very quietly. This creates serious morale problems among employees who survive those layoffs. Anything positive I could say about Sun must be tempered with this layoff problem, always lurking in the background, always sapping the employee pride and enthusiasm that would normally produce the compeditive edge that made Sun a successful company in the past.

    Sun's problem is Management. Second-line managers and above do not understand company problems and opportunities well enough to provide the leadership we need. Internal business processes are simply horrible, and contribute to communication problems and project planning and execution between working groups. This is not simply a version of the communication problems that any large organization faces -- it's a basic competence problem. Many managers were long ago promoted beyond their level of competence and are now apprehensive about trying anything new, for fear they will lose their jobs in the next Layoff.

    Advice to Management

    You have failed. You have poorly managed your most important new projects; failed to identify who your most important employee contributors are; not acknowledged your most important customers; and you have not recognized your most important business opportunities, for the past decade.

    With Sun's latest surprise revenue failures and their resulting RIFs, Sun has fallen too far behind to remain in the first tier of high tech Silicon Valley Corporations. Sun's revenues will drop another 50% over the next 15 months, and become a specialized reseller of technologies they didn't develop, to old customers who are finally moving on from us after about twelve years.



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