UBC is a great place to work located on the West side of Vancouver near the ocean with spectacular buildings, views and great people who care about each other, Staff, Students and the environment. Everyone enjoys working there and strives to make this one of the best Universities for people to learn, for the wellbeing of the international community that live and study there and the rest of world.
I have learned that there is great leadership and communication in each department to make us all work together to make progress with the various tasks and business plans that are proposed and carried out throughout each year.
There is a great management team who is knowledgeable about the tasks that lay ahead to provide leadership with the best policies for each department to safely move forward to a sustainable future. They take to lead in sustainability and research in various departments. It has been a pleasure to work as a team member with all the departments, managers, supervisors over the course of my career.
My co-workers were great, professional, successful and had the expertise to carry out many medium and large construction projects that were delivered on time and on budget over the course of my career. The University has truly undertaken a real change, a complete renewal for the existing infrastructure including existing and new buildings that provide the best technology, labs, and research equipment. The buildings are far advanced and up to date with the latest tec
At this volunteer position I was able to learn a lot and become influenced by some of the smarted people I know. Working in the Riparian and Stream Ecology Lab at UBC, while the work was not as glamorous work, I had the opportunity interact with masters, PhD and Postdoctoral students in the same field of studies I hope to pursuit one day.
My job entailed sorting through terrestrial invertebrate samples, identifying and organizing them for a PhD student's research project. In addition to this, I was able to help collect data in the field which helped me to better understand the project. Once I had spent some time in the lab, I was able to ask each person about their projects, what they have done in the past and what they see for them selves in the future. This was the best part and the part that allowed me to come up with my own research project as a part of an individual directed studies at UBC. For this directed study, as one of my electives, I had to find a supervisor and write a proposal for for a research project. I am still in the process of this project and am very exited to see the end result!
This position, while not paid, has really helped to fine-tune my future direction, it has allowed me the chance to work independently and efficiently as well as part of a team. While the hardest (dullest) part of this position would have to be the lab work of sorting samples, at the same time it is the best part because you know you are helping with research that can
ProsLocation- being able to volunteer at UBC made it easy for me to allocate my time efficiently
ConsTime- as a full time student, I was not able to offer as much time as I would have like to
Easiest way to 'get in' is to start working for the onsite 'temping' agency (called UBC Hiring Solutions). Once employed as a temp for about 3 months, you are an 'insider' and have a way better chance of finding a permanent job. This is what I did. Otherwise, individual departments with job postings can only review your application if there are no suitable UBC candidates (i.e. insiders).
In my 18 years at UBC, I worked for two different departments/faculties. There was little in common between the two. I enjoyed one, and not the other, due to the workplace culture. The first was very business-like, and a little stiff. The second was much more 'relaxed' in nature. With the first, the required dress code was 'business' or 'business-casual'. The second was completely optional, without 'rules' regarding dress code. So blue jeans were perfectly acceptable attire.
UBC is a large corporate entity, and in my view quite hierarchical in terms of the power/organizational structure. In my view, unless you are management, the pay is not great. However, you do have job security as it is a unionized environment. You also have plenty of in-house opportunity for mobility within the organization, since there are many faculties, many departments, many positions. So if you aren't happy in one department, there are lots of other opportunities.
The benefits are also quite good, and UBC also offers $$$ towards skill/career development. So for those who are ambitious in that way,
HS is the internal placement agency within UBC. Their mandate is to hire advanced admin and executive support to various departments and schools on and off campus with the intent to eventually find a permanent placement.
As a HS exmployee, you are often filling an administrative role while the department HR completes the hiring process for a permanent replacement. Each assignment may give you some skills but will lead to you a career dead-end - standard temp work.
Typical day will depend on your work assignment and where you are assigned. Zoom is heavily used and can be faiguing. Depending on the department there may not be training or documentation so being able to work things out for yourself if a must. (In one case I filled in for someone who quit suddenly after 15 years in the position and didnt document their processes at all) Combine this with underwhelming and boring work, siloed groups, cold/distant work culture, daily parking rates, and last minute assignment changes (3-4 days notice is unacceptable yet it happened every time) it led to an unpleasant sense of being treated as disposable. As a result this was not a good fit for me.
ProsSquirrels on Campus, The nice ladies at the Starbucks, big trees everywhere
ConsUnderwhelming and boring work, siloed groups, cold/distant work culture, expensive daily parking rates, and last minute assignment changes
A typical day may start out with general customer service requests such as requests to grant access or to give directions but can change quickly into a variety of calls and requests. I have opportunities to attend calls such as first aid, suspicious persons, elevator entrapments, theft reports, and more.
I have learned so much from this job such as how to interact with all people from all walks of life and how to adapt to unexpected situations and developments.
My colleagues can be the funniest people to be around or the most annoying depending on the given day. We all take care of our own and back each other up when we need assistance on a call. We all depend on each other to help the hours go by.
The best and hardest part of the job is working with the public. My job does not allow me to always give people access when they want it or when it's convenient; in fact, I say, 'no' most of the time. This is not the most popular answer.
On the other hand, the job can be very rewarding when security can provide accesses and other services that can mean the difference in a passing grade, participating in an active police investigation, and helping someone's family member; this is always very rewarding.
Following lab protocols each day and trouble-shooting errors that later appeared in data were all things encountered on a typical day in cellular and molecular biology labs. With the help of peer mentors and TA's, I was able to acquire a tool kit of skills some of which included the following: being able apply problem-solving strategies to pre-existing research questions that don't have answers yet, being able to independently design experimental proposals and presenting my ideas out to a large scientific audience. The greatest challenge I encountered was being able to accept that data weren't always going to be perfect and then analyzing that data and making connections to the big research question. Moreover, being able to justify data based on the resources and tools used posed another challenge. Ultimately, writing reports to piece together all these challenging aspects of the lab was an enjoyable part of the lab in that it gave me the confidence and motivation to develop a mental mind set for analyzing the world from a different set of lenses
Fun but fast paced job that requires leadership and customer service.
A typical day at work consist of customer service, money handling, and serving food. Working for UBC for two year has no doubt taught me how to become a leader, how to work in the absence of supervision, how to communicate with customers, and handling money accurately. The management there needs some improvement when it comes to communication. My co-workers are amazing, they're one of the reasons that keep me motivated because we all have created a very close relationship and we are willing to help each other out during rush hours. The hardest part of my job is taking orders from customers who aren't paying attention when you repeat the order to them, and those who are very indecisive when it comes to ordering. The most enjoyable part of my job is getting to interact with people. I really enjoy how my job allows me so much flexibility, if i need a break from taking orders, I can help with expo or help serve food instead.
UBC is one of the largest employers in BC. As such it attracts the best and the worst of people. If you land in a spot where your managers and peers are the best, UBC is the best place to work. Geographically beautiful, benefits are astounding, and the culture is positive.
However, if you get railroaded into a team with toxic managers and disillusioned peers UBC can be an awful to work in. It's location means that either you have a long commute or you pay exorbitant cost of living prices to live near by. Then add to that the fact that the institution has "Section 9" of the collective agreement. This section gives the employer the right to terminate at any time, for any reason. I have seen this happen to far too many good people. As mentioned before, run afoul of a toxic manager, and you'll be run out on a rail with absolutely no recourse.
Overall I give UBC a high rating because of the culture & benefits. But they really need to deal with unfair management practices.
ProsVery flexible in terms of hours, good pay, relaxed atmosphere.
Good entry level position, job advancement isn't quite there
I started working at UBC to gain experience in my field. I would say this is great if you want to get an introduction into your field, but I would recommend leaving after you've learned all you can. The longer I've been here, the more I've noticed people are unhappy with the distribution of work, micromanagement and the culture of our department. Certain people are overloaded with work while others have no tasks and are available for support. I have also now seen there is no trust from upper management to their staff in regards to their capabilities. I was told that career development was important when I first started, but upper management has proved that that is not the case. I do like UBC as an overall employer, but my department specifically is not conducive to my overall career goals.
ProsWork life balance, benefits, pension, free week off at christmas
ConsLow pay, no career advancement, micromanagement for upper management
I liked working for UBC. The jobs are union so the pay/benefits are good.
Typically I would get into work and assess my first jobs and finish any that weren’t completed. Then I would continue to work in this fashion until the day’s end. Every day would be different, because I’d get interrupted many times a day by faculty who wanted me to do/edit/copy something else. I reported to the chairman of the department and had occasional meetings with him.
I learned more and more confidence in my abilities.
I was not responsible for managing anything other than my own workload.
The workplace culture was very professional and results-oriented. I was expected to fully keep on top of my workload.
The hardest part of the job was interacting with the chairman of the department, who was mercurial and had a bit of a temper.
The most enjoyable part of the job was meeting and interacting with the visiting professors.
ConsA bit of a commute.
Questions and answers about University of British Columbia
What was the most challenging part of your role at University of British Columbia?
Asked Feb 7, 2019
I would say the most challenging thing that i encountered were customers or parents that were harder to deal with. However we were both trained in how to talk with people who may be a little bit harder to deal with, and provided with a large amount of support from the management team, should we need help in a situation.
Answered Sept 1, 2022
Learning a new system
Answered Dec 8, 2021
What are the perks offered by University of British Columbia?
Asked Jul 1, 2017
Vacation benefits - start with four weeks of paid vacation (pro-rated). Work week is, on paper, a 35 hour work week. Access to significant online learning and professional development resources through the UBC library. Tuition waivers that can be applied for yourself or your direct family. The campus is gorgeous. Workshops, counselling, on-site gym & pool.
Answered Oct 29, 2019
Working at UBC Okanagan was a positive, life changing experience for the better. Fabulous people and wonderful oportunities. Wonderful opportunities for growth and change.
Answered Mar 22, 2019
What is the work environment and culture like at University of British Columbia?
Asked Jun 22, 2017
Managers everywhere playing dress up.
Answered Feb 2, 2021
The work environment is very toxic. Managers/supervisors are inexperienced power hungry bullies, avoid this place.
Answered Jun 1, 2020
What would you suggest University of British Columbia management do to prevent others from leaving?