Winchester Mystery House Reviews | Glassdoor

Winchester Mystery House Reviews

Updated April 6, 2017
14 reviews

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2.4
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Shozo Kagoshima
6 Ratings

14 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Far more interesting of a job than the paycheck would suggest."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Tours in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Tours in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Winchester Mystery House (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    There are a lot of wonderful people that work there. It's an absolutely fascinating place to work, if you're at all a history buff. Even apart from the myriad spooky legends associated with the place, there are layers upon layers of history there. If you're so inclined, you'll have a chance to be a bit of a detective during your downtime.

    Cons

    The pay is nothing to write home about - although if you're looking for a summer job, it's infinitely more interesting than flipping burgers or working in a mall. The house isn't exactly climate controlled, and you'll likely freeze or broil depending on the weather. You will sometimes have to deal with poorly behaved guests.

    Advice to Management

    Less to the management, which are a great bunch, but to the owners of the house:

    The house is a historic gem, and really should be treated as such. The ghost stories are fascinating and all, but the upkeep and the preservation of the house tends to fall by the wayside. Invest a more in restoration and repairs, and remember that you're the custodians of a historic gem.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Interesting place to work, but terrible compensation and treatment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Tour Guide in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Tour Guide in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Winchester Mystery House part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Exercise, public speaking skill development, exploring the behind the scenes areas, sometimes coworkers can be cool

    Cons

    Exhausting shifts where you are walking and projecting your voice for over 8 hours a day with little break time, receiving barely over minimum-wage pay even though you are performing extremely well (and then being instructed to not accept tips, even though that's probably the only way you'll be able to afford dinner for the night), learning that the stories you tell people are actually full of lies about the property, and just generally being overworked without respect everyday (which is terrible, considering you likely have at least 1-2 other jobs to go to during the week to make a living).

    Advice to Management

    Given how heinously overpriced the tickets, food, and merchandise are, it is clear that the people who make this place function (like custodians and tour guides) are being exploited to do grueling work for a paycheck that will undoubtedly ever be a living wage in San Jose. Management should at the very least offer better wages with opportunities for advancement, benefits for full-time workers, and invest in the wellbeing of the employees that make this place "beautiful but bizarre".

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Better Pay anywhere else, Poor conditions, No Respect"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Tour Guide House and BTS in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Tour Guide House and BTS in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Winchester Mystery House part-time

    Pros

    It's an interesting place to say where you work. Not only is the house old, but so is the employee trailer. Miserable working conditions and poor pay. People work here because they can't get jobs elsewhere. Everyone is on Food Stamps and Government Aid.

    Cons

    Never expect a raise. 80% make min wage. Only people who work here cannot get jobs elsewhere. Sub partner and oppressive supervisors. If you are friends you get better treatment, but even that is poor. Tour is made up and lies, just like the recently discovered room and candlelight tours. Tourist find it a rip if they get a bad tour guide, and most do. Don't work here. You'll realize why in a few months, then you will leave like most. High turnover.

    Advice to Management

    Shape up. Pay true actors to do tours not children out of HS who act like kids out if high school. There are only 3 tour guides that are exceptional and supervisors treat them badly. Why, oh why.


  4. "An ok job"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Cashier in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Cashier in San Jose, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Winchester Mystery House full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The staff can be understanding. You'll have a lot of hours. The job is basic cashier skills, so anyone can do it.

    Cons

    I was promised a promotion to another job in my department. They failed to update and provide me with info. Any time I asked, I was told they would have me starting it in 2 weeks. After 1.5 months of waiting, I had to leave due to the lies just to keep a worker. It was completely hurtful to be lied to like this.

    Advice to Management

    Keep your promises. Don't twist words of your employee.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Wonderful coworkers, no pay raise"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Tour Guide in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Tour Guide in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Winchester Mystery House part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Coworkers. These people (and the dispatchers) are there for you after a long tour, and to laugh with you when you share funny stories and encounters. The break "room" gives you a chance to talk with people from other departments (gift, food, janitorial). Once in a while there's free/leftover food! The only reason I stayed so long was because of the people. Good first job--no dealing with retail or food smells or repetitive music. Instead, you fall in love with this incredible house that never ceases to surprise you, and you get to meet hundreds of people! Great for people entering the workforce, and for retired people! I've worked with 16 year olds and 60+ year old tour guides--each type adds a different skill set to the group. I never felt that anyone was discriminated against because of their age.

    Cons

    No pay raises. Training takes ~1-2 weeks to learn the regular tour, and additional time for the behind-the-scenes tour. You have to know the entire tour--plus additional information--safety procedures, how to deal with large, mixed groups, sometimes give back-to-back tours, be on your feet for hours at a time, and then some, yet when I left in 2014 we were only getting 15 cents above minimum wage. After less than a year I was promoted to be a behind-the-scenes guide. I put in effort, and did everything possible to make every tour interesting, even if it was my 4th or 5th time repeating the information for that day--I wanted each guest to enjoy their time and not be stuck with a monotone guide. Still, my only pay raise came when the minimum wage was raised. Back then there were feedback cards, but we rarely heard from those notes if guests ever commented about our tours. Little feedback given on how to be a better tour guide.
    Other than behind-the-scenes tour guide, there's only one more possible promotion for most. Not a career job. You have to love the people/coworkers and the house to love the job.
    Heads up: The house gets really cold during the winter, and very warm during the summer.

    Advice to Management

    Show your appreciation for the tour guides and give them pay raises (merit based, not necessarily based on how long they've been working). The price of tickets should be somewhat reflected in tour guide's pay. Some guides are monotone, others really try to bring Mrs. Winchester's story to life, yet the compensation remains the same regardless. Higher pay would raise moral a bit, and would improve retainment rates/avoid spending time training new people regularly.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Slaves and Illegal Aliens Sometimes Treated Better"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Tour Guide in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Tour Guide in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Winchester Mystery House part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    It's a kewl place to tell people where you work. But, that's about it.

    Cons

    Be prepared to be paid minimum and like it. Even those paid more than minimum are barely paid more. The working conditions are horrible. If you're not giving tours, you clean. Unless you are a favorite of Ash and Jess, then you don't. Breaks and clocking in and out need to be very precise. Did I say you are worked hard? The ticket prices are a rip off. Most pay $30+ for a tour and get a poor tour guide. And despite what guests are told, the money doesn't go towards the actual upkeep of the house. It lines the pockets of the owners. The house leaks badly when it rains and we have to mop up water, And in the summer, it gets so hot that people actually throw up or suffer fro heat exhaustion.

    Advice to Management

    The past managers and GMs are a joke. Grow up and hire professional managers and staff, not just a bunch of kids whose claim is that they have worked there over 10 years. Time is not a factor. Quality of work and managerial skills are.


  7. "The place is DEAD, as well as the employees."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Tour Guide in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Tour Guide in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Winchester Mystery House part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    It's a kewl place to tell friends that you work there. And, that's the highlight. The rest is downhill.

    Cons

    Pay for nearly any job, including supervisory is $10.15 an hour, the SJ Minimum wage.

    Job is terrible. They treat employees like dirt. There is no respect, and there seems to be an employee quitting or terminated about once a week.

    Don't get used to seeing anyone or knowing them by name. They will usually be gone in a month or so.

    Always min wage. Always less than 32 hours.

    Sometimes no lunch or breaks

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees with a little more respect, instead of dirt, as you do.

    Rule not by fear, but with respect.

  8. "A great entry level position"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - General Employee in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - General Employee in San Jose, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Winchester Mystery House part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Summer there is a lot of hours
    - Team mates are AWESOME!
    - Perks include discount in gift shop, free passes to the mansion yearly, and company dinners.

    Cons

    - Little room for career growth
    - High volume of guests to handle, which means they aren't always pleasant and kind, especially on hot days.
    - Tour guides are amazing for the most part, but it's really hard work, and even harder during summer.


  9. "WAS, a great place to work. I think much has changed."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Gift and Ticketing Supervisor in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Gift and Ticketing Supervisor in San Jose, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Winchester Mystery House full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great team work and cool place. Recomend as a started job.

    Cons

    Very micromanaged and low paying.

    Advice to Management

    Much has changed since I worked there so I wouldn't know where to start. Hopefully it's improved. CEO (General Manager) listed is no longer there.


  10. "Cafe Cashier"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Winchester Mystery House part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    great first job, they trained me well while keeping a lively work atmosphere, my manger was always willing to jump in and help if I ever got overwhelmed or super busy

    Cons

    not much room to grow within the company, departments seem kind of divided, and you were not able to receive tips which was disappointing

    Advice to Management

    keep doing what you are doing!


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