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University of Washington Reviews

Updated August 14, 2017
38 reviews

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Ana Mari Cauce
7 Ratings

38 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The University of Washington has an excellent culture and work life balance (in 105 reviews)

  • Great benefits, nice to be a part of a big institution (in 109 reviews)

Cons
  • Pay somewhat below private sector (in 26 reviews)

  • Same pay for grads and undergrad part time employees (in 25 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Post docs treated as second classs"

    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 University of Washington full-time

    Pros

    None. Could ride my bike there.

    Cons

    Horrible pay and benefits. Miserable admin in the bio dept.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the postdoctoral pyramid scheme


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Quality of experience depends on department"

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

    I have been working at University of Washington full-time

    Pros

    Very large network of students, employees, etc.

    Cons

    Extremely low salaries for even experienced employees

  3. Helpful (2)

    "UW Regional Advancement: The Triumph of Mediocrity or Personality Disorders 101"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Fundraiser in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Fundraiser in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at University of Washington full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Solid benefits package, like healthcare, 401K match, and federal/state holidays observed

    Cons

    Nepotism, mediocrity, sexism, inefficiency, dysfunction (to name a few)

    Advice to Management

    When 80% of your team turns over in less than 2 years, that's a problem. In the brief time that I worked with UW Regional Advancement, positions turned over multiple times -- again and again -- because of poor management.

    My unit's leader couldn't care less about the team's actual performance. However, the appearance of performance, and the semblance of creating value, was what mattered. That means backsides in chairs, smiles on faces during team meetings, and everyone showing up to a weekly coffee social that's more awkward than Thanksgiving with the Trump-voting in-laws. As long as we were wearing purple pins and cheerfully handing out cupcakes at football games, we were doing our jobs.

    All of this is to cover up the scary secret: the team produces little to no value. We often had team meetings focused on "gratitude" that involved going around the room and giving superficial compliments. When those meetings involved actual moves management for prospects, fundraising benchmarks, or questions about the ROI of our team, the topic was hastily changed. When team members raised questions about the direction of what we were doing, or challenged leadership in any way, those questions were ignored. "Don't worry about raising money in a campaign," we were told, "just engage! Engagement yields investment!" (Ever hear of the underpants gnomes? "Stage one, underpants . . . then stage two . . . then stage three, profit!")

    Team leader is a bizarre person who not only lacks strategic vision, but may have an underlying personality disorder or deep-seated emotional problem. Leadership has a scary controlling streak. You will micromanaged to death. You will be patronized. You will be belittled and talked to like a child. You will be admonished for going to the bathroom too much, having an untidy desk, or trying to do anything that's perceived as coloring outside the lines. A colleague in the team didn't like leader, so leader humiliated the colleague by forcing her to apologize to every manager in the office for a "bad attitude." If the colleague refused? Immediate dismissal.

    I would also observe leadership in meetings with very senior persons. Leader had a habit of making bizarre "sticking my tongue out at you behind your back" and "I'm rolling my eyes at you" faces. Behavior you would expect of a 4-year-old, not a high-level person managing sophisticated donors and overseeing a team of 20 people.

    Hiring decisions were all about bringing people on to the team who would not rock the boat. In what is perhaps a textbook example of cognitive dissonance, leadership tried to hire a woman for an admin job. However, applicant did not know how to use a computer and asked, "so we get 3 months off for summer vacation, right? Because this is a school?"

    Also, if you join this team, don't expect intelligent discussion. Leader reads young adult novels and thinks that it's "cosmopolitan" to own a passport. Watercooler chatter typically involves a synopsis of the last episode of "The Bachelor" or what you thought about the Seahawks game. One expects that coming into a university environment, where your team is responsible for centrally representing some of the biggest ideas coming out of a stellar research institution, a little more sophistication.

    The icing on the cake is the culture of casual racism and sexism, even though we have a Race and Equity Initiative at the UW and we are supposed to be the "face" of the university and our President's key initiatives. Example? A colleague asked a Japanese-American staffer (4th generation?) if she could please give her pointers on how to interface with a foreign donor from South Korea. I stepped in to try and explain how ludicrous this was, but colleague did not see why this idea was the least bit racist.

    Male managers are paid far more than the top-producing women on the team. Some shamelessly steal work from more talented female colleagues. One male colleague prevented the hire of a superstar female fundraiser from a unit because her performance would threaten his.

    TLDR: If you have a masochistic streak, go ahead and work in Regional Advancement and see how it goes. If you have any ambition or self-respect, there are better fundraising shops at UW, and better teams at other institutions.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Stop attacking employees focus on managers"

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

    Pros

    Experience for first job in healthcare or hospital

    Cons

    This hospital organization has nerve saying they are LGBTQ friendly. They can ship as many new diverse employees in and spread as much propaganda as they want but I am living breathing proof of a discriminated employee who has been swept under the rug by them. My manager is a a reverse racist homophobe who has terrorized myself and former colleagues. I've watched more than a handful of my dear colleagues disappear in thin air as a part of cleaning house. We have three separate unions; the division was created with intent. The nurses and other staff are separated to create a division. Other organizations like Providence Health/Swedish and Kaiser, lower staff have the same union as the nurses so if they need representation they can have a fair chance. The union and managers work together and collaborate with one another. Small employees are the lamb for agreements between management and the union. The non nursing union has their own agenda and shame on them. They even refused to contact an employee who requested representation, make deals with managers, and refuse to pay for mediation! I know one person for sure who has received a settlement because the union failed her intentionally so she'd walk out the door! We have managers who refuse to take phone calls or help with problems and say they are on vacation or not working so that employees will have to deal with a problem while managers can escape the blame for any problems. Managers here's don't get let go they get promoted or transferred internally or to affiliates. Seems like the organization CYAs by bringing in new people to advocate they are not reverse racist or homophobic. I live that as an employee who has been here for a while.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of (fire don't transfer) managers who hold grudges, isolate employees, and have their own agenda. Be aware of discrimination and harassment which includes preventing employees from the same opportunities as coworkers, favoritism, nepotism, and managers bullying.


  5. "Consider what's really important before deciding to work here"

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

    I have been working at University of Washington full-time

    Pros

    Get to work on many different projects at any given time. Very diverse so you get to learn from and work with people from all backgrounds.

    Cons

    Poor management with no communication to staff. Pay isn't great. You'll be told about all the great benefits in working for the U but not many really exist. If you do exactly as you're told and don't ask questions, you'll enjoy working here.

    Advice to Management

    Start communicating with employees and requesting their feedback. Engage staff because they're the ones doing the work. show appreciation and respect for all employees. treat everyone fairly.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Interesting place to work"

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

    I have been working at University of Washington full-time

    Pros

    Lots of challenges ahead for the organization

    Cons

    disorganized unengaged leadership that is out of touch

    Advice to Management

    Consider getting rid of some of the senior leadership who no longer keep an active practice and are out of town with the clinic.


  7. "Director"

    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

    Pros

    You don't work real hard, nobody gives a shizzle, they don't care about money and it's mostly BS

    Cons

    Management is just a joke, everyone hates everyone else, I mean HATE. Nothing gets done and if you care, watch out. I lasted three years and it was three years of hell

    Advice to Management

    Go get a real frickinjob.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "University of Washington Aeronautics and Astronautics: People are running away from this department"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at University of Washington full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Lots of good co-workers.
    The undergrads and grad students come in highly motivated and can be fun to work with.
    Individual programs and labs like the MAE Program, wind tunnel, fusion energy related research programs, propulsion, etc. have great people doing great work.

    Cons

    Departmental management is extremely difficult to work with, including regular incidents of employees getting shouted at. It is also terrible about budget decisions, causing concerns about layoffs and undermining staff management of budgets. That also has brought infrastructure and organizational improvements to a halt; we have had multiple occasions when days were spent doing scoping, design, or pricing only to be told to wait for a one departmental leader or another to get back from where ever it is they go for weeks. Donations have had more than half the money diverted to some vague admin functions.

    Five staff have left. Two others retired ahead of their original plans. Two have transitioned out to other departments. Someone was hired and left five months later. Job requisitions get approved, advertised, and then closed without hiring anyone. Three positions seem to be going unfilled. Symptoms of bad management, such as tardiness, are very high. For an organization with core staff positions numbering only 17, these problems and high turnover rate incur more inefficiency and new problems.

    Three older faculty members who carry a big teaching load are rumored to be getting squeezed out, while the new department strategic planning draft document calls for looking to other universities to poach their young professors who were recently awarded big grants. Many Aeronautics and Astronautics faculty members may as well be ghosts since their appearances in central or admin areas are fleeting.

    Undergrads have begun avoiding the Aero & Astro major, since they hear stories of shuffled and postponed courses due to the effects of poor leadership.

    Advice to Management

    Please leave.


  9. "Depends on the College/Department"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Seattle, WA
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at University of Washington as a contractor (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good pay, good benefits, depending on the department and school things can function very differently. I have worked in 4 different schools, two of which were very positive experiences, two of which were/are not. Things have changed a lot since the 2008 reduction in funding.

    Cons

    Bureaucracy, red tape, lots of outdated policies that keep any real positive changes from happening within an appropriate timeline. Can be quite cliquey, lots of employees who have worked in the system for many years who just sit around and don't do any work but have close ties to many in upper management, get in the way of work that others do, and claim that "this isn't how we did it 20 years ago, so it is wrong now".

    Lots of people in upper management that don't understand how to implement meaningful change and ignore cultural issues.

    Advice to Management

    Toxic work culture is the #1 thing that will kill a companies productivity, create high turn over, and cause internal work tension. Fix it. From the top down, not the other way around. You are wasting time and tax payer dollars. You have less money to do more with, be smart about it.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Department of Medicine Division of Cardiology"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA

    I worked at University of Washington (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Many of the staff in the Division are wonderful intelligent people.

    Cons

    Hierarchical upper management, secretive and back stabbing with no respect given to employees or faculty who have contributed greatly to the Department. Do not work for the Division of Cardiology!

    Advice to Management

    Replace upper level management with those that embody the spirit of the university environment rather than employing militaristic intimidation tactics.


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