Words & Numbers Reviews | Glassdoor

Words & Numbers Reviews

Updated February 10, 2017
25 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.4
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Glenn T Evans
7 Ratings

25 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Don't believe all these bad reviews"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Current Employee - Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Words & Numbers full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I just read through all these reviews and here's what I think: Your experience at this company, or any company, is proportional to the amount of effort you put in, and you will benefit accordingly. People complain that there isn't enough communication and we're relegated to our cubes like lab rats. That's crap. I talk to everybody, laugh every day, have lunch with a jovial group of people, and even when I am on Skype it's not as dismal as it's made out to be as long as you have a sense of humor.

    The pay: sure, you're not going to set up trust funds for your kids with this job, but it's livable. I accepted a very low wage when I started here because it was a good industry and I knew that it was an opportunity to grow my career. There's value in that, but people can't see beyond the paycheck. I've gotten a couple raises and bonuses, I have health insurance, paid holidays, paid vacations, and I am happy. Moreover, my supervisors are very good about giving me work that interests me. You have to speak up about what you want, don't just sit there and plug away at spreadsheets hating everything. Tell them what you're good at, what you enjoy, and they will slowly but surely guide you in that direction. You have to be patient though, it doesn't happen overnight. People who write these negative reviews are probably generally negative people who are reflecting on their own negative experiences that were brought on by haste, impatience, and immaturity, and they want to spread their negativity across the internet. Don't believe the hype. Work hard and you will be rewarded.

    Cons

    The amount of turnover can lead to training people over and over in the same thing, and being skeptical of new hires and their dedication.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to allow employees the breadth to work on projects that interest them, using programs specific to their skillsets, and challenging them in ways that will benefit their career both here at Words and Numbers and beyond.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "I would NOT recommend this employter"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Mathematics Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Mathematics Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Words & Numbers full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    None that I can remember. [Note: My last year was before 2012, but the actual year was not an option.]

    Cons

    Poor management and isolating work environment. Management discouraged cooperation/interaction/teamwork among employees; hence, there was very little collegiality among co-workers. The department that I worked in was run like an elementary school. I actually experienced managers running to "tattle" on workers...it was unbelievably childish. The compensation was also rather poor.

    Advice to Management

    It has been several years since I worked at Words & Numbers, but if the management hasn't changed drastically in the last several years, you need to change the management culture.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Freelance Editor"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Maryland in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Maryland in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Nice people to work with and content is interesting.

    Cons

    It takes a LONG time to get paid. Finance Department is beyond slow. No training for company expectations beyond email.

    Advice to Management

    Provide some training of expectations to new freelance writers beyond an emailed document. It's hard to do a good job when expectations are not clear.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Editorial Assistant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Editorial Assistant in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Editorial Assistant in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Words & Numbers full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    There are plenty of nice people who work there. The offices are modern and comfortable. The projects are interesting and the clients are impressive.

    Cons

    No one talks in this office. It is eerily quiet, because everyone uses Skype messenger to communicate instead of speaking. Supervisors work remotely, for the most part. The company culture doesn't promote collaboration or innovation.

    There is a huge industry disconnect in Words & Numbers-- they call themselves educational publishers, but they are really only content creators and managers. They don't use any of the industry technology. The computers cannot support the use of Word, Firefox, Adobe, and Excel at once, so they regularly crash. Content is edited using post-it notes in Adobe reader, and despite the fact that many of the staff hold publishing degrees and possess the skills to use the technology efficiently, the company discourages the use of InDesign or the Adobe Creative Suite. The actual publishing is outsourced to other companies, which is an unbelievable waste of time, when the trained and skilled professionals are sitting in cubicles wasting time until they get files back from another company.
    Finally, moving up in the company is random and difficult to do. Company hierarchy is like a game of chutes and ladders. HR will promise in the interview that there are opportunities to work from home, but then strongly discourage you to do so after you're hired. The best thing this company has going for it is its lower- and mid-level employees, who are hard-working people with integrity. But management doesn't seem to value them at all.

    Advice to Management

    Value your employees. It was rumored that one of the CEOs, Nanda Krish, said he doesn't care if Editorial Assistants stay or quit, because they're the lowest rung of the ladder. Not only is that an insult to the educated professionals trying to work their way up, but it is a terrible way to conduct business. Stop wasting clients' time and money by outsourcing design and publishing, and instead invest in your employees and the technology to stay on the cutting edge of this quickly-changing industry.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Awful Experience"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Ediitorial Assistant in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Ediitorial Assistant in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Words & Numbers full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -The people
    -Could be a good place to get staryed right out of school, but don't stay long

    Cons

    -Insultingly low salaries
    -Very high turnover
    -Leadership treats employees very badly

    Advice to Management

    To retain great talent, you have to pay people well and make every employee feel valued.


  7. "I loved this place while it lasted."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Team Leader in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Team Leader in Baltimore, MD
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Words & Numbers full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    If you are passionate about the work, you will love W&N. You work with many people who are similarly committed, which helps when you are in the trenches. You can advance quickly. Benefits are decent, which includes being able to work from home. Not sure if the on-site child care facility is still open, but that was a lovely perk.

    Cons

    Management will fire a person at the drop of a hat for fabricated reasons. Pay is terrible. It's a small enough company that you can be noticed, which can turn out to be a disadvantage.


  8. Helpful (4)

    "A perfect example of how NOT to run a company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Words & Numbers full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Frankly, the only good thing was that there is the freedom you have in terms of schedule. There's no real management structure so employees have the freedom to come and go/work from home as they please. Most of the management is absent/working from home all the time so you don't have a lot of micromanagement, which is nice. There are people in the office who have never met their managers, even though they live in the same town as the office.

    Cons

    Too many too count.

    The first con is really about how the company is run. There's no visibility or honest communication from management to mid/lower level employees. The employees have a strong feeling of distrust of the management. There's a general understanding that management does not care about the employees whatsoever and this is reinforced by their terrible wages and refusal to give salary increases (or even real health benefits) to employees who have worked there for 1-2 years or more.

    The company culture is really non-existent. The office is awkward and quiet all the time. People rarely speak to each other outside of quick work-related questions - most of which take place over Skype or email even if we sit just a few cubicles away. Everyone is always looking over their shoulder and there's a general uncomfortable/ominous feeling over the whole office

    The pay is ridiculously low. There is a Royal Farms about a half-mile from the I would recommend to anyone that they apply there first instead of Words and Numbers. You have to fight tooth and nail to get a raise, and then if you do, it's barely noticeable on your paycheck.

    The job market is pretty bad, especially in this industry so management knows they've got 100 applicants that would be happy to take any job right out of college, and their attitude towards their employees reflects that. Everyone is basically replaceable in their eyes. There are some poorly-executed attempts at recognition for peoples' good work, but it's really all just a drop in the bucket and everyone sees through them.

    Finally, I would bet my life savings (which is admittedly low after working with this company for over 3 years) that most/all of the good reviews posted on this site are fabricated and written by upper management. After 3 years of working there, I knew basically every employee and NO ONE would write a 4 or 5 star review.

    Advice to Management

    Be honest with your employees. Listen to their concerns and treat them like you care about them. If people think they're valued by their company, they're going to work harder. Employees get burned out so quickly when they feel like management does not care about them whatsoever.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "If you're looking for a fair pay, opportunities to advance, or an ethical management team, look elsewhere."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Assistant Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Words & Numbers full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    One of the few positive sides of working at Words & Numbers was the flexibility to work from home, or take off a day if necessary. Of course, for full time "contact" employees, including ALL Assistant Editors & Editorial Assistants, this meant no pay.

    Perhaps the only other pro I can scrape up is that the grueling work gave me the opportunity to build a robust portfolio to land employment where I could have growth (both professional and salary) opportunities.

    Cons

    Editorial Assistants and Assistant Editors are considered "disposable employees." Not only are these staff payed an hourly wage that can't even compete with your local gas station cashier, but employees are given no benefits at all. You can opt in for health insurance - if you can afford to sacrifice 25% of your waves. The company usually hires these staff members in waves, when they anticipate heavy workflow, which means starting your first day with a punishing deadline hanging over your head.

    If you can't take the heat, not to worry - there are almost no distractions in the building. Cube rows are silent as the grave, and staff interactions are limited to Skype messaging system, even if your colleague is only one cube away. Simply put, the company culture is terrible.

    W&N doesn't invest in their junior employees because they expect these positions to have a high turnaround. The research and writing is so endless and monotonous, with deadlines so punishing, that employees tend to burn out within a year. Some take their poverty level wage (did I mention you need a college degree for these positions?) and land a fair salary and other local publishing companies. Others are not so lucky: if work is slow, W&N has no qualms about "laying off" employees. As a contract worker, they are not obligated to give notice or compensate you in any way.

    When I was offered my position at W&N, I was told there would be opportunities for growth within the company and signed a contract that would be "up for review in three months." I assumed this would mean possible full-time employment status-- but after 3 months, there was no conversation, and after 12 months, there was not even a raise.

    To round out another chilling aspect of company ethics: the Words & Numbers senior management staff has talked a great deal over the last few years about an increase in topline growth, but unless the word "Executive" is attached to your title, you won't reap any benefits. The company is also very proud of their "offshore initiatives" which translates to sending graphic and web design work to India so that they can pay these "offshore" employees a minimum wage that falls even below the bottom of US standards, taking potential jobs away from domestic employees.

    Advice to Management

    If senior management is unable to find it within their budget to staff positions with fair salaries and benefits, perhaps they could siphon a little off the top of their well-known six figure salaries?

    Words & Numbers Response

    Oct 2, 2013 – Senior Manager

    Words & Numbers’ graduate intern program has provided entry-level college graduates an opportunity to learn the educational publishing business in an aggressive time frame. In this program, entrants ... More


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Simply Put: A Mess"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Assistant Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    There are some smart people there with good ideas. Sometimes they mean well.

    Cons

    Management is in the toilet. The company seems to restructure every six months or so. The departments differed in their levels of chaos when I left. I would say science was probably the best run (and was also the smallest), followed by humanities, and math is far behind both. Or was--the departments have restructured again since I left, so things may have changed.

    The company tends to put far too many people into management positions who are severely underqualified. Employee trainings are often a joke (three copyediting trainings in the space of six months?).

    Feedback is rarely given for work produced, usually because supervisors are overloaded with work and don't have the time or management training to give appropriate, constructive feedback.

    People are also assigned to projects seemingly at random, with no regard for the past experiences of these employees or thought given to what they might either want to do or be good at doing.

    Advice to Management

    Read the above "cons" above, study the resumes of potential employees and put more thought into hiring (especially in this job market where there ought to be loads of qualified applicants), listen to your employees, don't take employee feedback as a personal attack, and focus on giving more meaningful training to a workforce largely untrained in educational content development.

    Words & Numbers Response

    Mar 29, 2013 – Senior Manager

    Thank you for your thoughts. As a services-based company, we need to be flexible in organization to meet client and market changes. We believe the best training for managing projects is on-the-job ... More


  11. Helpful (4)

    "Temp to perm employment offer not a well thought out experiment, be forewarned!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Math Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Assistant Math Editor in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Friday 1pm meetings to review new projects were great. Schedule flexibility was also. Mathematical expertise of some staff was superior. Competence of adminstrative staff was superior. There's plenty of work to be done.

    Cons

    Candidates who applied for math editor positions were contacted and offered temp positions that might become permanent positions instead. Although the website states that "Qualified applicants will be asked to take a writing/editing test," none was given. Instead, after completing HR forms, temps were introduced to project managers and 'hit the ground running.' At least one secondary math text project had no staff with classroom teaching experience.

    Advice to Management

    Department managers should take the time to meet and interview new hires, even temps. Know what your website specifies as far as qualifications for positions. Explain your decision to deviate from these published specifications by clearly definimg your goals, including deadlines, to new hires.

    Words & Numbers Response

    Mar 29, 2013 – Senior Manager

    We appreciate your feedback. Because educational publishing is a new field to many new hires, we often bring people in on a trial period which allows potential employees to determine if there is a ... More


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