US Naval Research Laboratory Employee Reviews about "nrl"

Updated Aug 28, 2021

To filter reviews, or .

Found 35 of over 224 reviews

4.3
93%
Recommend to a Friend
93%
Approve of CEO
US Naval Research Laboratory Commanding Officer Scott D Moran
Scott D Moran
27 Ratings
Pros
  • "Working at the NRL has been excellent in many respects, especially as an intern(in 19 reviews)

  • "The work life balance is excellent(in 17 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "One of the worst parts of working at NRL is the infrastructure(in 19 reviews)

  • "Is next to a sewage treatment plant(in 13 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

    Reviews about "nrl"

    Return to all Reviews
    1. 3.0
      Former Employee, more than 8 years

      Autonomy & Interesting Work

      Aug 28, 2021 - Physical Scientist in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      * If you're funded, NRL is the best place. * Great autonomy, especially when starting of your career. * Unique (really, once-in-a-lifetime) opportunities if you seize them. * Surrounded by some of the best colleagues. * WLB!!!

      Cons

      * Worrying about funding as a Government employee isn't much fun.

      1 person found this review helpful
    2. 3.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      Help Desk NRL

      Aug 16, 2021 - Help Desk Analyst in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The benefits are unmatched since you are working directly for the federal government, and the opportunity to transfer to another org code inside of NRL is always a possibility if you would like a change

      Cons

      The progression rate is really slow

      Be the first to find this review helpful
    3. 2.0
      Current Employee, more than 8 years

      Storied History, Stale Culture

      May 17, 2021 - Electronics Engineer 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Potential independence and intelligent colleagues.

      Cons

      The culture at NRL is very stale. New ideas are not encouraged. Communication is poor through the “chain of command”. Service codes are abysmal. IT is haphazard and inconsistent. Few opportunities for advancement.

      Continue reading
      Be the first to find this review helpful
    4. 4.0
      Current Intern, more than 3 years

      Great Work Environment, Slow Pace, Low Pay

      Apr 12, 2021 - Engineering Intern 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Working at the NRL has been excellent in many respects, especially as an intern. The breadth and depth of the work I am able to do is incredible, and I have a wide pool of extremely knowledgeable engineers to get help from when needed. The resources available to us are insane, as we operate on a military budget, and the work we're doing is exciting. I get a great deal of independence, occasionally taking on entire projects myself, but I typically work on smaller projects designed to improve the work efficiency for the more experienced (and therefore expensive) engineers. The work life balance is excellent. 40 hours a week, absolutely 0 expectation of extra work outside this. Extremely kind with vacation/sick days, not as cutthroat as private defense work.

      Cons

      While the work I do is often exciting and I usually have a great support network, that is not always the case. Being government work, things sometimes move incredibly slowly. I spent way too long struggling to get through red tape my first year there. Similarly, I spend a substantial amount of time trying to navigate the security systems and trainings required as a result of classified work. Finally, sometimes the independence granted to me as an intern is too much, and my requests for help are occasionally met with "just read a textbook." On one hand it is great to be paid to read/learn, but it also would be nice if I could get a bit more support on things when I'm thrown into the deep end as a student with little experience. Finally, the pay leaves much to be desired. This may not be the case for everyone, but I have received no substantial pay increases outside of inflation raises since I began working multiple years ago, despite frequent praise from my supervisors. Having friends that are students in similar positions making more than double my hourly pay is disheartening.

      Continue reading
      Be the first to find this review helpful
    5. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Not for the faint of heart

      Mar 7, 2021 - Research Scientist 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Employees are paid well for non-private-sector scientists - Washington DC is a nice place to live - Has potential as a springboard to other jobs in the government

      Cons

      - Facilities are so poor they border on dangerous. There are insects everywhere, all of the buildings are dirty and old, power outages are common, temperature control is non-existent, and even drinking water is lacking (which is somewhat ironic, considering the next item in this list) - Campus smells terrible because it is next to the local water treatment plant - Administrative processes are convoluted and endlessly frustrating (e.g. it takes months to obtain orders, which makes doing good science virtually impossible, and the budgeting process is so opaque and aggravating that at best it is simply a joke among personnel and at worst has driven staff to psychological crises) - The worst aspect of the job is that the funding situation that scientists are placed in is untenable. One is expected to obtain grants that cover 100% of their salary along with an additional 125% + overhead. This would be absurd in nearly any situation, but the NRL manages to make it worse: its scientists are barred from obtaining grants from any traditional funding agency (NIH, NSF). What happens in practice is that people often get funded by knowing program managers in other agencies in the Department of Defense who are in charge of laughable amounts of money and send that money to friends at the NRL that write "grant applications," written in quotations here because they are only that in name only. The result is a classic old boys club setup where people with no connections are at the complete mercy of their supervisors to get paid, kept in the dark about it, and constantly worried about their job status. The most stressful place I could ever conceive of working in and it very nearly drove me out of science.

      2 people found this review helpful
    6. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 5 years

      Flexible work, great colleagues, fantastic resources, awful infrastructure

      Jan 17, 2021 - Senior Research Scientist in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The research atmosphere at the laboratory is exciting and I'm always encouraged to learn new things as I build and grow my laboratory and research program. The flexibility I have is excellent and I feel challenged, both by my own research as well as by my colleagues and their interests.

      Cons

      One of the worst parts of working at NRL is the infrastructure. We have state-of-the-art technologies in decrepit, unacceptably run-down buildings. Another problem is the lack of diversity in our organization -- very few BIPOC scientists and engineers.

      Be the first to find this review helpful
    7. 5.0
      Former Intern, less than 1 year

      Great place to learn and develop

      Sep 9, 2019 - Mechanical Engineer in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      At NRL you have great access to resources and mentors.

      Cons

      Being next to blue plains can be unpleasant at times.

      Continue reading
      Be the first to find this review helpful
    8. 4.0
      Current Intern, less than 1 year

      Pretty Good

      Aug 2, 2019 - Mechanical Engineer Trainee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      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

      Be the first to find this review helpful
    9. 3.0
      Former Employee, more than 5 years

      Stable work but not family friendly

      Jun 14, 2019 - Research Physical Scientist in Washington, DC
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      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.

      Continue reading
      2 people found this review helpful
    10. 4.0
      Former Contractor, more than 1 year

      Great People, Underfunded, Facilities are falling into disrepair

      Jan 23, 2019 - NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate in Broomfield, CO
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      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.

      Continue reading
      Be the first to find this review helpful
    Viewing 1 - 10 of 35 Reviews

    Popular Careers with US Naval Research Laboratory Job Seekers

    JobsSalariesInterviews

    Work at US Naval Research Laboratory? Share Your Experiences

    US Naval Research Laboratory logo
    or