The Option Institute Reviews | Glassdoor

The Option Institute Reviews

Updated November 23, 2017
54 reviews

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3.9
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Bears Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman
42 Ratings

54 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • I was given the opportunity to support the teachers and participants as we travel all over the world teaching about The Son-Rise Program(R) (in 9 reviews)

  • I absolutely loved working at The Option Institute and Autism Treatment Center of America (in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • Programs are overpriced and they are constantly begging for donations as they fill their own pockets with their "non profit" earnings (in 7 reviews)

  • In conclusion, if you are not a sycophant ready to grovel for approval at Barry Neil Kaufman's feet don't bother with this one (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "A wonderful organization"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Art Director/Production Supervisor in Sheffield, MA
    Current Employee - Art Director/Production Supervisor in Sheffield, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Option Institute full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I have been working for the Option Institute/Autism Treatment Center of America for a little more than a year. I love my job! It is creative, challenging, and never a dull moment. I am offered support and constructive criticism, as well as, a work atmosphere where I feel more than comfortable expressing my opinions.

    Meetings are filled with intellectual discussions and laughter. Great atmosphere and a positive work environment. People are genuinly interested in their employees' well being, growth and success within the organization.

    My co-workers are a really fun group of people and we have a mutual respect for what each other contribute to the organization. We work in an open office atmosphere, and we are continuously brainstorming and collaborating with each other.

    The Kaufman‘s are the principals of the organization and are all extremely passionate about their mission. They have been very sweet to me and they appreciate my work ethic, creative talent and what I bring to the organization.

    The mission of the organization is positive, and the fact that we are actually changing the lives of children, families and also individuals with personal growth programs makes you feel like your work is really life changing for people.

    Cons

    Sometimes direction from the different parts of the organization can be conflicting with each other.

    Advice to Management

    Trust in your employees to make the right decisions for the organization.


  2. "Program Teacher"

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

    I have been working at The Option Institute full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I have worked with the Option Institute for over 11 years. I began with learning the profoundly accepting, joyful and gentle approach of helping children with special needs. I moved on to be trained to work directly with parents and with groups of families from all over the world. I have had hands on experience of working with over 600 children. At the end of every week I, honestly, feel inspired in what we do and in who I have become. Every person I work with, no matter what department, has some hand in supporting people to believe in themselves and their children. I am always stimulated by my work. I came here to help others and much to my surprise I learned how to help myself the most. This is an exceptional work environment filled with genuine compassion for not only the work we do but each other. If you want a meaningful work experience, which challenges your skills, and will exercise all the muscles you use to laugh, then fill out that application.

    Cons

    I don’t think I have ever met an individual who has not had some form of criticism about where or whom they work with. It would be a disservice to what we teach if I suggested to you that there have not been challenges in my journey here. However, every challenge I have experienced and faced in this work place has always been met with an invitation for discussion and growth. Did I always get what I wanted? Of course not (Where does ANYONE always get what they want). Do I have an open invitation from my supervisor and her supervisor, directly to the organization’s founders to communicate and to persist towards getting what I want? That is a most certain, yes! The Option Institute is where I can have the most impact to create change in the world towards what I believe in. Simply put, it really matters that we care for each other and care for ourselves. If you are interested in pursuing such a journey then fill out an application! Once you arrive it will take courage, effort, and love. You may not became a lifer but you will learn some things that will help you land strong no matter where you jump towards next.

    Advice to Management

    Keep pursuing and prioritizing creative incentive plans to support new and long term employees.

  3. "A Unique, Inspiring Work Community"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Son-Rise Program Instructor/Mentor-Counselor in Sheffield, MA
    Current Employee - Son-Rise Program Instructor/Mentor-Counselor in Sheffield, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Option Institute full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    A gorgeous, mountainside property with clean air and water. I first came to the Option Institute for 2 months as a volunteer (when Massachusetts had volunteer programs) in 1992 because I wanted to learn from the programs offered. I went from mowing lawns to training and becoming certified both as a Son-Rise Program Instructor and Option Process Mentor-Counselor. These positions are unique to this company - these services are not offered anywhere else in the world. The training is phenomenal and the work inspires me every day. A huge bonus is that I'm working with others who feel the same: it is a joy to be in a work community where our work is fun, meaningful, exciting and profound. My first career was in hair/makeup/tv which was artistically satisfying. What it lacked, which is universally common, is a work environment that was supportive, respectful, and nourishing. Over the 25 years as an employee, I love how there is no 'political' game at work, no back-stabbing, no need to disconnect from my co-workers. I enjoy the relaxed, lively and mission-driven environment. I enjoy that I can be myself and this environment supports us to be the best version of that. I have worked in many environments around the world and have never been in any work environment where each person is deeply respected and honored for their work.

    Cons

    If you don't want plain straight talk as the communication style ... If you don't prioritize respecting others, both the clients from around the world as well as each staff member no matter what department ... If you don't resonate with what is taught in the educational programs to help others live happier, healthier lives ... if you don't want to be part of supporting and participating in people creating miraculous personal experiences ... this is not a place you will want to work.

    Advice to Management

    Thank you for doing your best to uphold the value of each staff member as well as the work performed. I'm grateful the work environment is inclusive of new ideas, vision and creativity.


  4. "property/kitchen(floater)"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Property/Kitchen(Floater) in Sheffield, MA
    Current Employee - Property/Kitchen(Floater) in Sheffield, MA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Option Institute full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Thank you Bears for allowing me to attend your class. It was a pleasure to
     finally see you in action. I'm a big believer in the miracles that happen here at the Option, having witnessed the change in the participants from the moment they arrive to just the next night is simply amazing. And then there is the affect that these classes has on me personally. At HOW weekend I was given tools to implement to live a happier life. I now hold myself accountable in situations where I use to let others dictate how I felt. In Radical Authenticity I realized just how much I lied to myself and to others. At the end of the class I raised my hand
     and said "I'm not going to lie for the rest of the day!" Within 5 minutes
    there I was lying again. So I'm not going to lie starting TODAY... I also
     learned a valuable lesson about going after what I want in life instead of
     focusing on what "I don't want". "I don't want" is a negative thought and
     I've lived my whole life thinking negative thoughts with no results. As I
     mentioned before, HOW gave me the tools to live a happier life but the Option
     Institute has given me the tools to be a better person. And that, is what I am eternally grateful for. So, thank you again Bears!

    Cons

    Non to mention thus far.


  5. "Intensive Coordinator"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Administrative Supervisor in Sheffield, MA
    Current Employee - Administrative Supervisor in Sheffield, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Option Institute full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I don't even know where to begin! Option is by far the best place I have ever worked-I've had other jobs that I liked, and the employers were good but I have never had a job where I have felt so supported, and cared for by my employer. The services that Option and the Autism Treatment Center of America offer are wonderful and I feel honored to be a part of delivering it. It's clear that the company cares about the services they offer and they know that taking care of their employees is one way to ensure they continue to be able to offer them. I've been given the opportunity to participate in programs that people come from all over the world to attend. I've gained tools that have enabled me to become a better person in all aspects of my life, not just work work life. A great benefit Option offers is a perfect attendance bonus-something not many employers do offer. I've also been very impressed with how this employer cares about my personal life and making sure that I am able to attend milestone events with my family.

    Cons

    I can't really think of any cons-except that since we don't wear shoes in the buildings here at Option I've had to start paying attention to the condition of my socks!

    Advice to Management

    Continue to show your appreciation to the employees that you have-it's such a dedicated team!


  6. "Great Organization - Great growth 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 The Option Institute full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I have been working here at The Option Institute for 6 years. I absolutely love what I do. I am happy to come to work every day. When I was first hired, I was working as a temporary part-time employee. I am continually learning and growing. As a staff member I have the opportunity to take any of the programs we offer. Through my attendance and participation in these programs, I have grown into the confident loving person that I am today. In my time here I have worked in a total of 4 departments, in a variety of positions. I has seen nothing but growth opportunity after growth opportunity as an employee. Each position I have held has been a stepping stone of growth personally and professionally.

    Cons

    The only “con” would have to be the highly distracting breath-taking beauty of our location in the Berkshires. It would be nice to have more paid holidays however, the generous vacation time makes up for it.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "They want you to be your "Authentic Self" so long as you do it their way."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Option Institute full-time

    Pros

    The program Samahria Kaufman created for her son is effective. The Autistic Treatment Center does create positive changes for autistic children and their families.

    Cons

    No one on staff has any medical training or psychological degrees, however they know what's best for you. You will be indoctrinated with their philosophy from the moment you are hired. You will be required to attend and participate in their programs (such as Happiness Option Weekend) whether you want to or not. They preach an atmosphere of "non-judgment" however, you will be judged every single day by your "supervisor" to help you improve. The use of coercion and bullying on the part of "supervisors" and directors is unprecedented in my previous 25 years of work history. They pay abysmally low wages. They create a hostile work environment by encouraging employees to turn in any coworker who grumbles discontent (because that employee is not demonstrating abject obedience - which is the Option way). In conclusion, if you are not a sycophant ready to grovel for approval at Barry Neil Kaufman's feet don't bother with this one. Chances are you won't make it six months.

    Advice to Management

    It is very obvious to any who have spent time on this "campus" that the Management does not listen to critiques they only GIVE critiques.

  8. "A place for growth within yourself and within your career"

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

    I have been working at The Option Institute full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I work with the most incredible people who really believe in our mission and strive to make a difference in the world. There is no lack of inspiration and heart in this organization. In the three years I've been here I have been able to expand myself personally and also within my career. I have had enormous opportunities for learning and growth. This is the first place I've worked that I actually enjoy coming in each morning.

    Additionally, we have a great employee attendance program, generous vacation time and I get to work in the gorgeous berkshire mountains.

    Cons

    Some employees live in New York and travel into Massachusetts each day. Our HMO health benefits do not cover those in NYS and in order to get coverage in New York you need to opt in to the higher cost PPO plan.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to acknowledge the team members that are going above and beyond and continue to follow and adapt to the evolving technology trends.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "you will be entering the twilight zone....."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Option Institute full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Beautiful property in the heart of the Berkshire mountains. If you like wearing socks all day and no shoes then this may be your place!

    Cons

    Employees forced to place high reviews on Glassdoor as you can see by all of the bright green current employee reviews on here, Very low pay, unexperienced management, extreme nepotism, if they don't like you- they will fire you, cult like ideas about always being "happy", no room to grow unless your last name is Kaufman or you are a complete "yes man" to them for years, children given executive roles with no experience and act like they are celebrities, no attempt for community connection. Programs are overpriced and they are constantly begging for donations as they fill their own pockets with their "non profit" earnings.

    Advice to Management

    what's the point- narcissists don't hear or take advice.


  10. "Teacher"

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

    I have been working at The Option Institute full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I have been working at the Option Institute for 13 years. It is a place that I love and that I feel very happy to be a part of. Some of the main things that I love about working for this company:
    1) I work with a staff that is honest, caring and truly good people who want to help others.
    2) We work with clients from all over the world and we help them deeply change their lives for the better. Every week I witness amazing transformation - children learning to say their first words, parents forgiving themselves and learning to love each other again, parents enjoying and accepting their children….
    3) What I have learned here I also apply to myself and this has made me a better mother, wife, daughter and in general a better human being.
    4) I love our campus (gorgeous), the staff and our clients – what else could I ask for?
    I would like to add that the Option Institute is a place for people, who want to be honest, who want to make a difference in the world and who are open and excited about connecting and caring for others!
    It’s a great place to work for!!!

    Cons

    We are in a beautiful location, surrounded by mountains, woods, waterfall, but sometimes it’s hard to find dedicated, open, good hearted people to fill the open positions.


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