An ideal location for an academic scientist...
Research Scientist (Current Employee) – Cambridge, MA – September 3, 2015
Working at MIT is a wonderful experience. They are excellent about work/life balance and flexibility. The benefits are fantastic but the compensation is generous but, as expected, will be less than one could make in the private sector.
Job security is always an issue for a research scientist that relies on grants for salary, so it seem the only real job security is through tenure if you are a professor.
For research scientists, the structure is very flat. There are certain "rules" at MIT that only allow a certain number of senior scientists which depends largely on the size of your department. So if you are "capped out" on senior scientists there is really no opportunity for internal advancement. To make it even worse, only senior scientists can be Principle Investigators on new grants.
Overall, if you just want to focus on research it is a wonderful place to work. You get to work with brilliant scientists and students and have all the flexibility, autonomy and balance you need.