US Naval Research Laboratory Reviews

Updated 16 Jul 2020

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3.9
81%
Recommend to a Friend
65%
Approve of CEO
US Naval Research Laboratory Commanding Officer Scott D Moran
Scott D Moran
5 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
  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. "Good place to be while in graduate school. Move on after that."

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Computer Science Student Trainee in Washington, DC
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    Received a wide variety of experiences in a short amount of time, paid for my graduate school.

    Cons

    Difficult to get promotions. People tend to stick around a long time.


  3. "Stepping stone"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The laboratory was (as of 2018) a decent place to gain additional experience prior to starting a career. Decent post-doc pay

    Cons

    Facilities are crumbling; projects are slow; funding is insecure.

  4. "Government Job"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Stennis Space Center, MS

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Good benefits and paid leave, relaxed work environment, low pressure

    Cons

    Poor management, low salaries, limited upward mobility

  5. "Excellent Postdoc Opportunity"

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

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

    Pros

    Great environment for developing your research skills and networking for better jobs after your postdoc is complete

    Cons

    The government is a painfully slow entity to work with. It can take several months to get any research equipment ordered.

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  6. "Military Research"

    5.0
    Current Employee - Engineering Intern 

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

    Pros

    Prestigious name of the organization lives up mostly to its reputation. The environment is similar to most defense oriented spaces, but much more research focused.

    Cons

    The pay could be better, but its a trade off for the government status security and prestige.

  7. "Good place to work if there is funding"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Work life balance, competitive salary and benefits

    Cons

    Facilities, never ending search for funding

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  8. "Cozy job with good benefits"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer(Internship) in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Great benefits, pay, and a quiet work environment.

    Cons

    It can stink occasionally and the facilities aren't the best.

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  9. Helpful (1)

    "One of the best commands in the Navy"

    5.0
     
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory

    Pros

    The pay system. Flexibility, innovation and agility

    Cons

    Physical location and condition of facilities

    Continue reading
  10. "Bad place to work"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Engineer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    None that I can recall.

    Cons

    The place is more about bringing in money than research. If you want to be a great power point engineer, but accomplish nothing in your life, this is the place to be. Better opportunities elsewhere. There are not alot of room for advancement. Most employees follow the golden handcuff rule and stay until they die. So unless they go, there are no chances to move up. Compensations and benefits are standard for government employees. Work +25 years and get a pension and health benefits (golden handcuffs). There are better ways to make money without sacrificing your life I learned after I left. I feel like there was alot of pressure by management to present at conference, write papers, and bring in money. As a research organization, they were trying to put metrics on results that are not always tangible. And depending on how much your manager liked you, these metrics were flexible. As for values, the people there seem nice, but they'll stab you in the back to get the next bonus. I lost count of the number of people that were married and had multiple mistresses or doing some sort of shady financial activity. Others went to nude bars during lunch breaks. I remember one employee who was hospitalized with cancer or other serious illness and the management sent him work at the hospital. Then they laughed at how much fun it was to abuse this employee.

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Found 100 reviews