Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory Employee Reviews

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Bureaucratic institute saddled with politics, rife with favoritism/cronyism, aged facilities depending upon where you work/what you work with
Team Leader, Project Leader, Nuclear Engineer (Former Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMMay 10, 2013
Management inconsistent with employee development, job expectations, working hours, constantly changing organizational structure and job duties, mainly in response to crisis situations arising from audit findings and/or budget cuts. Many unpaid overtime hours required of salaried staff.

Security and safety mandates sometimes at cross-purposes with each other and always with project goals and budget constraints. High level security requirements mean extensive background checks and daily commitment to clean living, attention to detail, dedication to nation's welfare and constantly at beck and call at all hours. Sacrifices are expected and made.

Audits and budgets are problematic because many facilities here are antique and well past their lifetime, especially any building associated with nuclear materials. No facility has been successfully built for substantial quantities of nuclear material for the past 35 years, largely due to Congress' gross inability to recognize this need and fund one, but also due to poor planning and ever-escalating estimates. This place is highly political.

I worked at the group with the highest level of disablity-retired employees due to stress-related illnesses. Our positions were so critical, we were denied any of the voluntary RIF separation packages when downsizing. Yet we were understaffed, overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated and badly used. Upper level management's not interested in exit interviews. A lot of lip service paid here.

Work achievements sometimes recognized but politically backfire in regards to co-worker interactions and/or
  more... loss of job position.

Just be sure to get a Scientist or R&D position, nothing lower, and stay away from engineering, project management, quality assurance, nuclear safeguards, or accounting divisions. If you're in any kind of supporting position, you feel the crunch - constantly. Support positions are all about taking care of problems behind the scenes, letting the technical folks shine and be unbothered by trivia.

Also be sure to negotiate highest salary upon job offer as raises are inconsistent over time and across employee/division/job position lines. And it's difficult to ascertain salaries to assure equitable distributions are made. The Lab has lost 2 past court cases where they were found to pay women lower across the board as compared to men. The gender gap is alive and well here.

Work/life issues/parental leave/part-time hours with respect to family are regarded as women's issue only and is expected and supported, as long as you're female. For males, such career limitations are not tolerated and have led to job loss. And although grievance process is fair and equitable, in the event of the Lab proven to be in the wrong, no power may reinstate an unfairly fired employee. (And black-balling said employees from re-hire is alive and well, in many more than our case in point.)

Some managers great, others not. Your job security and overall satisfaction depend on them. Recognize that and suck up accordingly.

Also be sure any FMLA leave is accurate - HR has miscalculated employee hours, wrongly denying FMLA requests, whereupon managers have immediately demoted employees while they're proven to be, and supposedly protected under, legal FMLA. Of course job security at that point is nil. This is a separate employee from above case. Again, all depends on who your manager is and how well they think of you, regardless of your performance or how highly it was last rated (even by them!)

Good luck and happy job hunting!
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Pros
salary, benefits, some new facilities with advanced equipment, opportunity to serve country
Cons
strict hours, stress, constantly changing budgets/audits/goals/job expectations, aged facilities expected to meet current standards
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top level, prestigious institution for scientific research
Director's Postdoctoral Fellow (Current Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMAugust 20, 2012
Los Alamos National Laboratory is a premier national security research institution, delivering scientific and engineering solutions for the nation's most crucial and complex problems. Our primary responsibility is ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the nation's nuclear deterrent.

The Los Alamos of today emphasizes worker safety, effective operational safeguards & security, and environmental stewardship, while outstanding science remains the foundation of the Laboratory.

In addition to supporting the Lab's core national security mission, our work advances bioscience, chemistry, computer science, earth and environmental sciences, materials science, and physics disciplines.

Los Alamos National Laboratory personnel play leading roles worldwide in basic and applied scientific research and technology. Whether it's conducting crucial experiments in space and at our linear accelerator in Northern New Mexico or developing breakthroughs in nanotechnology and determining how best to prevent the spread of
HIV and avian flu, the men and women of Los Alamos help lead the way.

Lab R&D helps curb a wide variety of threats to U.S. interests—whether it's the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the spread of deadly diseases, inadequate supplies of energy, or the effects of climate change.
Cons
healthcare
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LANL is a great place to work. I had a wonderful boss.
Admin. Spec.III / Prof. Staff Assistant (Former Employee) –  Los Alamos, New MexicoDecember 15, 2014
I really enjoyed working at Los Alamos National Laboratory. I always enjoy a challenge and LANL provided that opportunity. I learned about purchasing all types of equipment, some in the one to two million dollar range. I learned what types of purchases required what types of paperwork. I also really enjoyed helping the scientists administratively to get what they needed so they could work on their experiments. I had a great supportive boss. He was always encouraging and let me try new things, such as working in the lab. I turned out that the lab wasn't for me, but at least I got a chance to try it. My coworkers were great and I liked being part of the team. While I worked on projects on my own, being in a team environment is always a big plus. The most enjoyable part of my job was being a personal assistant for my boss and sometimes my bosses boss. There was always a lot going on and if I could help out in any way I was happy to.
Pros
great benefits. great people to work with.
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Not for everyone
Human Resources (Former Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMOctober 20, 2015
LANL is a great place to work for scientists and people who like a culture that is established routine with little change or challenge. The culture is very closed. Many of the key people take years to trust someone new and it has a certain junior high aspect - hazing new comers, making up false rumors, political back stabbing, etc. If you like to work in a positive environment, or like to create change this is not the place to go. If you like government regulation and someplace where change rarely occurs it will be a great fit. Also if you are moving to the area make sure you get very involved in churches and community groups so you will be accepted.
Pros
Good pay and benefits, good work life balance
Cons
Closed unfriendly culture, slow to change
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Los Alamos National Laboratory
Subcontract Specialist III (Current Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMJune 15, 2015
This is a wonderful place to live and work IF you are not a die hard city dweller. It is a long way out of Santa Fe to the Lab and there are no top quality restaurants in Los Alamos, I'm a steak guy from Texas and there are no good steaks to be found. What's here are mediocre at best and all over priced. The outdoors, outdoor entertainment, hiking and natural beauty here are breathtaking.

Given an opportunity to come here, you must give it a look. The public schools are incredible and the weather is fairly cool in the summer.
Pros
Great outdoors and great pay.
Cons
Lousy dining and very little shopping
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Enjoyed working in different areas (groups) at los alamos national laboratory.
Administrative Secretary, Word Processor (Former Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMSeptember 18, 2014
Get along well with other co-workers.
Obtain knowledge of policies and procedures as a lanl employee.
Excellent customer service skills, direct eye contact.
Obtained a Q-Clearance to work in a classified vault.
Independent and fast learner.
Cross training a is plus to help other co-workers who are not present.
Never tell anyone "I don't know". There is always a solution to every question.
Pros
good health coverage.
Cons
contractor the plus group had no workmen's compensation.
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Great place to grow
Graduate Student (Current Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMJune 4, 2013
I started at LANL soon after receiving my BSME as a post-baccalaureate student. After a year as a post-baccalaureate student I started graduate school and now I have an MSME. LANL has taught me a lot of what a Mechanical Engineer does and how to deal with multidisciplinary teams.

At LANL I am given the liberty to work independently while having upper management available for guidance. Here I've had the opportunity to travel across the country to visit vendors or to attend national and international conferences to present my work.
Pros
good pay and benefits. occasional scientific talks. occasional travel
Cons
uncertain laboratory future.
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School prioritized work environment
Seasonal Student (Former Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMJune 10, 2013
•Self start day that included research of financial literacy, create PowerPoint useful to the needs of college students, planning and coordinating a campus wide financial Literacy Fair; this included booking vendors, guest speakers, and creating an agenda.
•Management promoted teamwork and problem solving.
• Co-workers were friendly and always willing to provide helpful suggestions and constructive criticism
• The most difficult part of the job was trying to generalize my research and inform
• The most enjoyable part of the job was having such a helping work environment. This allowed me confidence and creativity when completing my work tasks.
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Excellent work environment
Systems Engineer (Current Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMMay 24, 2012
Typical work day is fast paced with ever changing demands. I could not write all the things that I have learned but an example would be how to write parallel programs. Most mangers are awesome. I work with some of the most brilliant minds in the world. Hardest part of the job is staying on top of technology while remaining grounded with still in production technology. The ability to challenge myself to greatness.
Pros
awesome teams, willing to teach you, willing to learn from you.
Cons
academic bigotry runs a little rampant
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If you are early career it is difficult to move upward in this company
Financial Analyst (Current Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMNovember 6, 2014
This company is better suited for those who are later in their career and have already built a good salary base. Those coming from student type positions will have difficulty getting compensated for the work they do.

Often times there will be employees that have more education and experience that are passed over for career advancing opportunities for those that do not have said education and or experience.
Pros
flexible working environment
Cons
little to no upward mobility, management and employees are very segregated
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Grew up in area
IT Project Manager (Current Employee) –  Los AlamosAugust 20, 2012
The Lab is a great place to work. The pay and benefits are better than average. The work is challenging and fun. There are some chiefdom's among the long-term staff; which can be bureaucratic at times and frustrating. Job security is varied based upon the type of position hired on to perform. The advancement is not as good as it used to be. There is no life and no young people; not a place for singles. The lack of restaurants and culture is depressing.
Pros
benefits are awesome
Cons
los alamos as a whole sucks
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Avergae
FINANCIAL BUSINESS ANALYST II (Current Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMMay 20, 2015
Good benefit's package, 401K match, and job security is pretty good.

Cons: if you are on the support side of the organization the pay scale is lower as well as the raises.

Very political & you always here "It used to Be" or "in the old days"
Well the glory days are gone, lets move one.

If you get in with a good team & management stay! For the grass is not always greener on a different org/group.

Location is not very ideal . .
Pros
Benefits, vacation time
Cons
Politics
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What it was like working at my last job
Occupational Medicine / Student (Current Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMMarch 18, 2015
Overall working there was a good experience but, the culture has changed over the years. Its not the greatest job anymore. In the past it was considered one of the best jobs a person could have over the years that's not the case anymore. A typical day would be like any other job. The hardest part of my job was the paperwork. the most enjoyable was the customer service.
Pros
money, not extremely hard work, customer service
Cons
job instability due to budget cuts, not as fun as it once was
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Productive research place with lots of collaboration and scientific support
Postdoctoral Fellow (Current Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMSeptember 25, 2014
Comparing academic research environment, LANL is way more open and collaborative. Travel grants are frequently available and good opportunity for building up network. Good health benefits. Great place for postdoctoral researchers to build up resume.
Higher management often very supportive. Also very accomodating for foreign nationals.
Pros
great research environment
Cons
lots of paperworks sometimes unnecessary, budget crisis by government during economic down time, management particularly it support has very slow response.
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Routine, but can be boring.
Quality Assurance Specialist II (Current Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMJanuary 14, 2013
If you are into science, research and development, this place has plenty of resources and opportunity. Do not work here if you are working on developing your leadership and management skills. The pay is generous, the facilities might not be what you had in mind, in terms of a nice cozy office, and fancy lobby areas. Nope. Not here.
Pros
flexible work schedules, competitive pay
Cons
repetition leading to boredom, and poor leadership
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Great place to work -- if you have an advanced degree
DBA, Database Developer, Applications Admin (Current Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMAugust 29, 2014
While I've loved my time here, it has become clear that I will not advance any further than I have. Therefor, it's time for me to seek other challenge in the world to solve.
Pros
great work/life balance, compensation are excellent for this area.
Cons
due to budget cuts, job security has decreased over the last several years.
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The effort that LANL has put towards making our everyday task safer while preserving the history, the mission and the future.
Undergraduate Student (Former Employee) –  Los Alamos, New MexicoJune 5, 2013
Located in northern New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security. LANL enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. developing technologies to reduce threats, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.
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Good pay & great benefits
Scientist 2 (Current Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMJanuary 4, 2015
The laboratory is a great place to work. Balance between personal life and work life is pretty good. There are plenty of opportunities to work on different areas if you have the appropriate skillset, but you need to be at the right time in the right place. Most of the positions seem to be written for some people in particular.
Pros
good bebefits and pay.
Cons
you'll get stagnant after a while. management is very poor.
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Diverse Environment
Post-Baccalaureate Intern (Former Employee) –  Los Alamos, NMSeptember 27, 2013
Great place to grow and learn. You are surrounded by many bright people with master's and PH.D degrees by their names. The work is challenging and very rewarding when you solve the problems.
Pros
great learning environment
Cons
very little housing for interns, not much to do outside of the lab, transition from intern to full-time is highly dependent on government funding.
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Managing Fire Protection Project
Senior Quality Manager (Current Employee) –  Pantex Nuclear PlantJuly 6, 2012
Over the past thirty (30) years I have conducted quality assurance audits, surveillances, assessments and oversight of safety-related and risk managed practices and developed quality assurance plans and procedures. I have been certified as Lead Auditor since 1989 in accordance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) N45.2.23 and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) NQA-1.
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Overall rating

4.3
Based on 61 reviews
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