US Naval Research Laboratory Employee Reviews about "nrl"

Updated 16 Jul 2020

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4.0
84%
Recommend to a Friend
79%
Approve of CEO
US Naval Research Laboratory Commanding Officer Scott D Moran
Scott D Moran
9 Ratings
Pros
  • "At NRL you have great access to resources and mentors(in 16 reviews)

  • "there is a great work-life balance(in 10 reviews)

Cons
  • "That brings me to some of the trouble with the division model at NRL(in 17 reviews)

  • "Somewhat bureaucratic, lots of red tape but that's expected(in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Reviews about "nrl"

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  1. "Excellent Experience, Subpar Pay"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineering Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    There are tons of perks that come with working for a lab funded by the DoD. Lab employees get lots of exciting projects and almost complete freedom over the work they do, so long as it makes progress towards something productive. Each division is different, so your mileage may vary, but I found the work I was doing to be engaging and exciting, and it was all challenging but doable, as an internship should be. With very few exceptions (see Cons), my manager is quick to help and stays engaged with me as an intern, and I can usually get good help from other more experienced engineers when I need it. Something I really enjoy, but may be a con to others, is the variety in my work. Any given day could be completely different from the one before, as new problems or even entirely new projects pop up frequently. Additionally, the name is reputable and it provides amazing talking points for interviews or career fairs.

    Cons

    The specific area I work in is full of great people doing exciting work, but they are usually pretty spread out. In a given day I may only even interact with 1 or 2 people, which gets a bit lonely. Also, there have been some times when a project stalls, and everyone is so busy that I have been stuck in need of assistance and unable to find reliable help. As I write this even, I'm stuck on a problem that I do not know how to solve, and the response from management is "read a textbook and figure it out." Part of me thinks that is awesome, as I get to learn a ton while I work, but it also puts me in a difficult spot as my work is delayed substantially while I spend my time reading textbooks and watching online lectures. If I could just walk 5 minutes over to another more experienced engineer, I'm sure they could help me out pretty quickly, but everyone is so busy all the time that I don't usually get to do that. Of course that is also in part due to the fact that I am a mechanical engineer working in a lab focused primarily on electrical engineering, so most of my coworkers don't know the solutions either. That brings me to some of the trouble with the division model at NRL. Each division and branch acts as its own separate unit. I have NEVER interacted with an employee outside my division, with the exception of the occasional conversation during lunch. Finally, pay is not great. I started at the bare minimum GS scale pay, and I am still there after 3 summers worth of work and multiple major steps up in my education. With DC raising their minimum wage, I now make less than a McDonalds fry cook. That said, the educational experience alone is so great I might even do this work for free, but it still would be nice to get a decent wage.

  2. "Great place to learn and develop"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Mechanical Engineer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory for less than a year

    Pros

    At NRL you have great access to resources and mentors.

    Cons

    Being next to blue plains can be unpleasant at times.

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  3. "Pretty Good"

    4.0
    Current Intern - Mechanical Engineer Trainee 
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory for less than a year

    Pros

    I haven't been here that long but all the people I've talked to seem happy and keep saying that the NRL offers more flexibility than other government jobs.

    Cons

    Most of the buildings are very old. Not a big deal though

  4. Helpful (1)

    "Stable work but not family friendly"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Physical Scientist in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The work is very stable and it's easy to make a career here. It's not uncommon to meet scientists who have been working on the same research for 30+ years. A lot of scientists here are from ivy league schools with impressive pedigrees and dozens of publications in top tier journals. My coworkers and Section Head were fantastic and I loved being surrounded by intelligent people. Despite the dilapidated buildings, there is some state-of-the-art technology to help with your research. The majority of research groups have base funding and don't have to constantly beg for money. My experience here added enough to my resume that I was able to accept a job offering DOUBLE my current pay. Even having the words "Naval Research Lab" on your resume gets you a lot of attention.

    Cons

    With all the good said, I have to focus on the fact that I don't find the NRL to be family friendly at all. There is no parental leave, child care through JBAB has a 2+ year waiting list, and while schedules are largely flexible, my Division Head looked at me like I had two heads when I told him I have to leave by 3 to pick up my daughter from the bus stop. Many people here don't even have families and, as a result, don't understand when you need a day off here or there due to school closings and child care hiccups. I understand that a career in research isn't family friendly to begin with, as taking any kind of extended leave ruins research timelines and screws any collaborators, but the NRL doesn't even try to mitigate this inherent obstacle. I was on the waiting list for a raise for almost 3 years before I decided to look for new employment. I just didn't feel like there was enough opportunity for advancement or broadening my area of research, and that the management didn't understand that there's more to life than conducting research. Looking back on my career, the lack of advancement and stagnated pay make me feel like I was taken advantage of. I wish I had looked for employment elsewhere sooner. It is a shame that these failings make it so appealing to leave an otherwise amazing laboratory.

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  5. "Great People, Underfunded, Facilities are falling into disrepair"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate in Broomfield, CO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory for more than a year

    Pros

    Working at NRL allows you to work on excellent research projects with a quality team of people

    Cons

    1) Government bureaucracy! 2) Facilities are falling apart. Some of the buildings need to be demolished, but they're standing due to some federal rules. Almost every roof is leaking. 3) Stinky neighbors! Sometime the smell of blue plains (DC's biggest water treatment plant) wafts over to us.

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  6. "Great work/life balance and research opportunities"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great work/life balance, good community of people and work culture. Fairly good reputation in certain fields. Postdoc positions often lead to staff offers.

    Cons

    Since postdoc positions at NRL are so cheap, they try and keep you a postdoc for as long as possible. Staff position pay after conversion is significantly under industry but benefits and security offset some of this.

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  7. "Great resources poor management"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Materials Research Engineer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    NRL has some of the leading researchers in their field and the latest and greatest equipment. The potential to collaborate and work between disciplines is good.

    Cons

    Management direct as a whole changes frequently and is brutal for entry level scientists look to move up. The moral is low and work expectation are extremely high.

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  8. "SEAP Intern Review"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - SEAP in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory

    Pros

    Great co-workers, relaxed environment, free ice cream in the summer

    Cons

    A lot of the buildings are old and need a makeover. NRL in DC is right by the sewage treatment plant, so some days it smells when you are outside. Other than those small things, there aren't any cons.

  9. "Great place to intern through NREIP program, very helpful supervisors (Computer Science)"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Engineer Summer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory for more than a year

    Pros

    - When I was there, schedule was pretty flexible. - Transit access - There were a few events/BBQs over the summer that were pretty good - The summer I went they would let you on base for 4th of July fireworks right along the river, which is a cool view. - The mentor I had was really supportive and helpful - NRL takes a lot of NREIP interns so there will probably be other interns to chill with - You may end up getting hired again for the next summer as well. - Great work/life balance, as well as good worker's rights as it is a government job

    Cons

    - Pay for 1st year interns as of 2017 may not be competitive, especially if you're paying for housing too. Returning intern and graduate student pay is pretty good though. - Some projects are more interesting than others - Some projects require security clearance (and therefore US Citizenship) in order to work on them, most at NRL were unclassified though. - You're a contractor which means you have to pay self-employment tax and you don't get government benefits.

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  10. Helpful (2)

    "Can be terrible or could be great, based on the team you work with."

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Developer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    -Flexible hours -Very relaxed atmosphere -A few very talented people -Some teams are excellent to work with -Hard to get fired

    Cons

    Unfortunately a lot of the pros lend themselves to the cons as well. While there are some very talented people who work at the NRL, there are only a few that stay for a long period of time. What you're left with are smart people who become lazy and disinterested with time and a lot of people not qualified for their job. On a side note I worked there for years and only spoke with my supervisor a handful of times. There was little to no direction on any of the projects both my coworkers and I worked on. The lack of communication wasted a lot of time and effort and helped me realize how much money our government is willing to throw away by not laying out a game plan and communicating it. Ultimately my experience was disappointing and helped me decide to stay in the private sector for the rest of my career. Also, may be a big deal depending on your personality, but this place is more clique oriented than most other jobs I've had.

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Found 30 reviews