California Institute of Technology
Happiness rating is 72 out of 100
4.1 out of 5 stars.
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California Institute of Technology Employee Reviews

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3.9Work-Life Balance

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Flexible hours

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You have relatively high time flexibility as research assistant. However, sometimes you do not have the freedom to work on the project you are most interested in.
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Fun Job

I learned a lot being a docent here. I learn a lot of new things here. I love working with the children and the national science foundation. It's a great stepping stone if you want to teach someday.
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California Institute of Technology insights

Based on 40 survey responses
What people like
  • Feeling of personal appreciation
  • Ability to learn new things
  • Clear sense of purpose
Areas for improvement
  • Fair pay for job

Fast-paced intellectually stimulating environment

A grad student typically works ~10h a day but it really depends on the lab and the field. In general, people are highly motivated and are genuinely happy but also tend to overwork and lose work-life balance. The stipend (~$2700/month) is a bit less than what's needed to live in the area.
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Very immersive research environment

Opportunity to research at a top-tier institute, surrounded by very intelligent researchers. Caltech has unparalleled access to observational facilities and resources. Good work-life balance, but little career progression.
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Good working environment

Great coworkers, supportive environment. Surrounded by many people who are at the top of their fields doing work that feels like it has a positive impact on the world. Satisfying.
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Poor management support - none

Extremely poor management at the Athletics. I wouldn't see my manager for months at a time you are completely on your own working there. No support, no advancements opportunity.

Pros

Benefits

Cons

No advancements
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Productive workplace, not the best pay

As house dining room server, you get to have fun through talking with people. Though the pay isn't great. It was a good introduction to casual service, management was nice but not often present and would make mistakes with people's food (dietary restrictions). Workplace culture was nice and hardest part of job was doing it when busy with homework.
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They will try to save on you every way

Not employee friendly: no loyalty, no fairness, no care. HR and management will act only in the interest of the company and if you disagree with them, they will find the way to get rid of you.

Pros

Benefits

Cons

Low salaries
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Excellent place to use and acquire new skills

Productive and fun with gym available to allChance to improve and get trainedIts a pleasure to work with professors and studentsYour work is mostly recognized by management

Pros

Free chance to meet interesting people

Cons

Mostly bad management
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Special place to work

Caltech is a very special place to work with lots of really smart people. Work life balance is not always the best, depending on the position, as people are very driven and fine with working in the evening or weekends.
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Great place to work for moms

Great place to work for. Your experience will completely be dependent on the PI and Lab members. Beautiful campus, flexible schedule, and great research institute.
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Unfortunately managers are not trained to manage.

My experience was mostly negative due to the managers I worked for. They were hired for a variety of reasons (such as having a PhD), but not because they could manage.

Pros

Eat at the Athenaeum for business lunches

Cons

Dealing with bad managers
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Work environment is not very good. Feels like everybody is on edge. Mat be the management and micromanaging.

Stressful job and work environment is not what it use to be. Feels like you're walking on eggshells due to management. Pay is descent but not worth the stress.
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It was an honor to work at the CIT

My time at Caltech was amazing. It was great to work with good people who were very supportive. All my co-workers especially my supervisor were great at interpersonal relationships and they were very encouraging.
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The Independence

Caltech was a great place to work. I just had horrible bosses which made my job/ work life rather difficult.
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Postdoc: Hard work, quiet environment, great science, low pay (as expected)

My postdoc experience was what you would expect: hard work, great science, low pay. You will constantly be surrounded by very intellectual peers, who often are very driven. There will be plenty of opportunities to learn from each other. As a small, private school, the community certainly is different than large public schools. The experience was very unique. For me, the hardest part of the job was knowing was realizing that I wanted to eventually leave academia and not knowing how to transition gracefully.

Pros

great science, top-notch research facility

Cons

long hours and low pay
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Procurement services

People only see after themselves. Even with the pandemics supervisor and director don’t care about anything. No breaks allow. We have to be sitting at the computer all the time except for lunch break.
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Very old fashioned and not nimble

Caltech is an Institution over a 100 years old and it shows it in the way it manages their employees and embraces new technology. Departments and Divisions are very siloed and are not at all collaborative. One needs to jump through 100's of hoops to be able to telecommute and it is very rarely granted. New ideas and new ways of doing things are not encouraged - in fact they are actively discouraged!

Pros

beautiful campus, good benefits, prestiges

Cons

old-fashioned, traditional management style, not-collaborative
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One of the top research-focused schools in the world with growing commitment to Biological Sciences

Research in life sciences is incredibly rewarding with flexible hours but you will be working 50+ hours with weekends minimum. Flexible hours also mean weird hours. There is no blueprint for what you are studying as novel research can take you many directions. Job requires you to be a bookkeeper, voracious reader, mechanic, programmer, and project manager as needed.
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Caltech is secure, unique, but personal experience depends on the department you're involved with

Caltech has an extremely unique culture among the staff and the students. The workplace environment varies based on your department. The benefits and pay is fairly good, however.
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Easy going staff and management

Can take up your entire life based on what you are doing there. Sometimes it's easy sometimes it's a long day. typical day is setting up and striking equipment

Pros

healthcare

Cons

not many breaks, can be daunting
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Overall rating

Based on 145 reviews

Ratings by category

3.9 out of 5 stars for Work/Life Balance
4.0 out of 5 stars for Compensation/Benefits
3.6 out of 5 stars for Job Security/Advancement
3.5 out of 5 stars for Management
3.8 out of 5 stars for Culture

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