Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Reviews | Glassdoor.ie

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Reviews

Updated 13 September 2018
421 reviews

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4.3
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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Director Bill Goldstein
Bill Goldstein
175 Ratings

421 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Work life balance is the biggest advantage" (in 99 reviews)

  • "As a grad student: lots of resources, cutting edge research opportunities" (in 34 reviews)

Cons
  • "Being a government contractor does mean there is a lot of red tape" (in 37 reviews)

  • "High cost of living in Bay Area" (in 14 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Excellent Work-life balance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Livermore, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Livermore, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Good work life balance: better than most places, but could still be a little better
    - 15 vacation days a year
    - Low people Politics, no backstabbing.
    - People generally try to help each other
    - Both Senior and Junior Management are very approachable and open to input,
    - Management makes a lot of effort to hear, gather and value your feedback.
    - The Site Director (CEO) even has brown bags with rank and file employees to hear feedback!
    - Management is attentive to our needs and gives us everything we need to do our jobs
    - It's a Better location relative to other bay area companies. But, even here, housing is still 500$/sq foot! So any location outside of CA will be much better
    - Salaries are roughly equivalent to other companies in the area.
    - Excellent 401K
    - Everyone gets an office of their own, wow! And an office phone of your own.
    - Beautiful campus with a lake, benches, trees and wildlife, sometimes even right outside your office! Geese and rabbits too!
    - Free filtered water in some buildings, free faucet water in others
    - Some people can stay here for very long periods 10+ years or even 50+ years! This place will be loyal to you, if you stick with them for a very long time and earn it.
    - Medical insurance is not too bad.
    - Lots of interesting talks to go to, if you like that sort of thing
    - Yearly 5K run event for HOME.
    - Depending on the group your in, SE may face less beurocracy than a full software company (less code reviews and meaningless check-in processes). This leads to greater development efficiency.
    - about once per quarter there's an ice cream social or something like that.
    - Super easy parking on base
    - Bicycles and taxi service available to get around on base.
    - Great equipment: software engineers get 2 monitors and a laptop
    - Occassional free lunches once per month for new members via the NEIT group
    - Free yearly biometric reports: blood pressure, blood work, etc
    - Hackathons once per quarter, have free coffee, snacks and Pizza
    - Full time ergonomist will come by and make sure you have a good chair and computer setup
    - Excellent wifi and internet connection, nice and quiet work environment
    - Smart and knowledgable coworkers
    - Research oriented software has requirements that are more flexible
    - Low number of users for your software which helps decrease stress
    - Leads and managers often bring in donuts and bagels for everyone, paid for with their own cash.
    - Due to "need to know" policy, there is Below average overcommunication, not too many meetings.

    Cons

    - Bay Area has huge Housing problems that can't be fixed. You better think long and hard before you decide to move to the bay area or anywhere in CA for that matter!
    - Lots of substandard tools used: Outlook, Jabber, Bamboo, etc. Jabber has a terrible UI, has bugs, won't let you paste output into the chat, etc. Bamboo is particularly painful. These tools often fail and are a pain to use. You can't change away from any of these tools because it's all they will allow. However, for tools like IDEs and things that can run on your own computer, you may choose the very best tools. They don't like any hosted tools in the cloud: Gmail, Google docs, etc.
    - Security sometimes used as an excuse for Technical debt and substandard software development practices (this will vary from group to group, of course). Security concerns often negatively impact productivity.
    - Paranoia is rampant
    - Extreme security practices mean you'll need to type your password in at least 20 times per day(i'm not exaggerating) and it can NOT be automated.
    - need to change your passwords often and it's almost always a huge pain
    - You will spend a lot of time doing extra work due to security concerns and overcoming obstacles related to security
    - For research done at the lab there's 240% funding overhead! that doesn't include all the security obstacles any researchers must overcome.
    - Funding/Work can dry up and you might need to find other groups to join in order to keep your job. So, Long term stability doesn't seem to be option for everyone
    - Early work stability (first 5 years) aren't nearly as stable as I thought.
    - You may need to work on several projects at once because there's not enough funding for you to be on just 1 project.
    - Things are always changing: tech stacks and technologies
    - Enormous variety of technologies used: every team uses a completely different tech stack, which makes it much harder to ramp up, if you're going to another team
    - Getting a clearance can take 3+ years. You will spend dozens of hours completing this paper work.
    - Administrative training: LTRAIN, a couple dozen hours every year
    - Stack Ranking. This sucks because it stresses everyone out and puts a lot of pressure on people. Although, I believe it's not nearly as bad as most other places that do this because you don't get laid off for being at the bottom
    - Performance review is much more stressful than it needs to be.
    - Although the pace is relatively slow, the workload can still be high because you get placed on multiple projects at once.
    - The local cafeteria on base has very short hours: lunch is only open for about 60 minutes or less. You need to be really on time, if you want to eat. Sodeka the cafeteria provider has an exclusive license with LLNL which means they can't add more variety.
    - You will need to be very careful about your driving. Getting a speeding ticket can get you in trouble at work.
    - Gotta protect your badge. Loosing your badge can get you in big trouble.
    - No onsite pictures and no usage of any camera functionality on your phone on base, no pokemon go, no facial recognition login.
    - Disruptive building speakers: lots of frivolous chatter about testing. Sometimes this can happen 2-5 times within a few days, then there might not be any tests for many weeks. Almost seems like trolling.
    - Since all the services are hosted locally, they can be unreliable.
    - Old computer with a broken microphone
    - minor: like most places, the printers and projectors sometimes dont work.

    Advice to Management

    Check security policies to make sure they make sense.


  2. "Great work environment, benefits"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Livermore, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Livermore, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The work going on at LLNL is really exciting
    People are very welcoming and friendly
    Seems to be plenty of room for advancement
    Plenty of conference opportunities

    Cons

    Sometimes takes a long time to get things approved, slow moving
    Often work long hours

  3. "Engaging Work for a Purpose"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Livermore, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Livermore, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I want to feel like my work is for a higher purpose - and that's what I've found working at LLNL. I believe in the mission, the vision and the values. The people I work with have the same passion about their work and we have fun. When someone asks where I work, I'm proud to say I work at the Lab.

    Cons

    Working for the government is not for everyone. There is red tape and bureaucracy.

    Advice to Management

    Transparent leadership is the key to fostering a culture of trust.

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Response

    12 Sep 2018 – Recruiting Group Leader

    Thank you for your review of the Lab. We are proud of the Lab's mission, vision and values and we're glad you're proud to work for LLNL!


  4. "Compensation Analyst"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    Extremely bright individuals work here. You get an opportunity to learn from them. The Lab cares about your career growth Love working for such a great place

    Cons

    To many procedures to follow for the Department of Energy

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Response

    7 Sep 2018 – Recruiting Group Leader

    Thank you for your review. LLNL encourages opportunities for learning and career growth so we are glad you feel supported in these areas.


  5. "Impactful work, great benefits, mediocre IT"

    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 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    The lab has an inspiring mission that is not based on shareholders or fads. I take pride in working for an organization that is making an impact on the world and lives.

    Cons

    Not enough investment in training and networking opportunities such as conferences or symposiums. Business IT (LivIT) is slow and on average ineffective. I didn't have access to the internet or my email for the first couple weeks of my job, both of which are critical for my role.

    Advice to Management

    Allocate more resources to improving IT response for employees and travel budgets for conferences and training


  6. "Great Expectations"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Physicist in Livermore, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Physicist in Livermore, CA (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Resources you can't find anywhere else.

    Cons

    No hurry to use them.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "LLNL"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Coordinator in Livermore, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Program Coordinator in Livermore, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Very family friendly. Not micromanaged.

    Cons

    The compensation. Doing a job way above my pay grade and not getting paid for it.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Great place for an entire career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Science Writer in Livermore, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Science Writer in Livermore, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Willingness to help, flexible, and very stable

    Cons

    Promotions are slow and employees in line are long tenured

    Advice to Management

    Find balance between tradition and change


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to develop skills and education"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    - good benefits
    - relaxed work environment
    - opportunity for development

    Cons

    - slow paced
    - difficult to navigate organization
    - must diligently seek out opportunities to find them


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Management 1"

    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 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    Incredible science and technology, brightest people in the world

    Cons

    bureaucracy, raises aren't good once you get hired

    Advice to Management

    Pay your people at target salary


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