Another Employee Appraisal of Sandia

This recently was posted to Glassdoor by a Sandia employee.  It seems to sum up what we’ve heard from a lot of different engineers and scientists at the lab.

  1. The performance management system is arbitrary and capricious, which is seriously demoralizing and demotivating for everyone. After 5 years of going above and beyond, I finally learned (and I’m not alone) that it doesn’t matter if you work hard or not. Promotions and high ratings are handed out based on some mysterious method that no one on the receiving end understands. If the managers have a method to their …  madness, they’re not sharing. High achievers can still receive a mediocre rating which just fosters a ‘why bother’ attitude. My personal (and private) annual goal has evolved into not becoming depressed and demotivated for several months after the annual performance review.
  2. I don’t like having to constantly look for work when project funding runs out or doesn’t pass through the considerable legal hurdles fast enough. I have used quite bit of vacation time to cover a lack of project work and I don’t appreciate that. I do that because there’s a stigma attached to asking your manager to help you find project work. You don’t want to be ‘that guy’. There’s an attitude of ‘if you were smart enough or good enough, you wouldn’t have a hard time finding a project to work on.’
  3. New Mexico is beautiful, but there is a lot of crime here. Property crime is especially bad – about double the average U.S. rates. I don’t like being worried all the time about my house being broken into or feeling like I can’t leave town because no one will be around to prevent a break in. I don’t like hiding valuables (like jewelry and laptops) when we’re out just in case someone breaks in. This is probably the biggest stressor about living here.
  4. One of the pros about Albuquerque is that it has a low cost of living – which is a good thing because according to Glassdoor, I’m underpaid to the tune of $25,000/year.
  5. Promotions (see #1) come with minuscule pay raises which don’t keep up with increases in the cost of living. The longer I work at Sandia, the further I fall behind.
  6. Women don’t get promoted at the same rate as men, although I’ve noticed that if the husband works at the labs too, the wife’s chances improve quite a bit.
  7. I don’t really enjoy feeling like you can’t master anything because every project is different. You have to hurry up and learn something and then the project is over and you never use that skill again. I’m worried that my time at Sandia will be an endless rotation of these types of projects and that in a few years, all I will have gained are “Sandia skills”, making me unemployable elsewhere.
  8. Sandia used to offer 15 hours of training a year on a (technical) subject of your choice. I really appreciated that but now it’s gone.