Pros: good pay & benefits; good people at the local level; variation in daily work
Cons: increasingly structured workplace; little opportunity for advancement
I started at Solvay prior during the big Y2K scare, in 1998. We had a bunch of upgrading and other changes to accomplish in preparation for that. I got to work in a way that fit my style very well and I flourished there.
On any number of projects, I saw a need that I believed I could fill and I was allowed to step in and do it. It was very gratifying. I built some really good, beneficial systems for them over the years and I appreciated having the freedom and trust to be allowed to do that. I owe some of my most valuable skills and experience to my years there.
Toward the end of my time there, management changes began to alter that environment and disallow the same level of creativity to solve problems and automate processes. Management goals began to oppose direct help for end users and development of new systems to do it. My biggest joy at work was evaporating.
The coming change from "what's most beneficial to my users?" to the typical, self-interested help-desk-and-trouble-ticket approach sucked the joy out of the job for me. This played a big part in my decision to leave Solvay.
Also, being a European-owned company, there are some very real differences in management attitudes and style when compared to the usual American-owned company. The sense of openness and mutual respect drops off more quickly as you interact with people higher up in the org chart.