US Department of State Reviews

Updated April 14, 2015
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3.7
218 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
70 Ratings

218 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Great Opportunities To Serve

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Working for the Department State you will have opportunities (and expectations) to learn new languages and develop a variety of skills including policy analysis, written communication and most importantly, serve as the face of America to the world. Your housing is provided overseas as is private school tuition for your children.

    Cons

    You don't determine your assignments, especially your first two, afterwards its a bidding process. You have to promote the administration's agenda, despite your personal differences. You may have to live in some difficult circumstances in undeveloped countries. You will most likely, never become an ambassador (40% are political appointees). You will start very low in a large, pyramidal bureaucracy.

    Advice to Management

    Encourage fresh thinking and expand and update the Ask Admin Database, far too often, State employees grouse that it seems as though no one has ever done a PCS or some other routine process because of the difficulty in getting things done.

  2. Foreign Service Officer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Worldwide service; challenging mission; important and meaningful work

    Cons

    Low salary; almost unlivable if you have to spend any time in DC

  3. Helpful (1)

    Fantastice Career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Travel
    Education
    Tax Free Housing when overseas
    Upward mobility
    Overall working for the Department of State is a great career. Working and living is not for everyone but if you are adventurous at heart and have wonder lust, a career with the State Department is perfect. I have been doing this for over twenty years and the stories I have to tell would fill a book

    Cons

    Moving every few years.
    Some unprofessional/ incompetent bosses... The Department focuses on hiring academic elitists . Academic prowess does not transfer well to leadership and management skills.
    Hardship assignments

    Advice to Management

    The Department should review its hiring process and A-100 curriculum. If the Department truly wants its diplomats to be representative of America, it needs to change its culture of elitism. I think the elitism culture comes from the hiring process that culls non-elitists and the A-100 class encourages the same culture. A review of the CIA's and other Foreign Affair Agency hiring and training methods would provide good source material for reforming the process,

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  5. Working in Emergency Management at the Department of State

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Emergency Management Speciailist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Emergency Management Speciailist in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Working in a small office allows you to explore and learn the many different portfolios that can be found under Emergency Management.

    Cons

    The Department of State can be very set in its ways and does not adjust well with the testing, training and exercise requirements for many EM programs.

    Advice to Management

    Learning to understand there are emerging technologies, requirements and preparedness measures that are directed by mandates. By supporting and recognizing the importance of the various EM programs.

  6. Pathways Internship Program at the State Department

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Pathways Intern in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Pathways Intern in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The program has given me a ton of opportunities, including tours of the ops center, attending seminars and networking events, and opportunities for full time careers after I graduate. In the program, I have worked in 2 different offices, both of which have been great. It is also a very well paid internship program which is excellent considering most internships that offer these kinds of opportunities are unpaid.

    Cons

    Starting in the program involves a lot of paperwork and it takes forever to get everything set up.

  7. A negative atmosphere among Civil Service employees, only do it if you can be Foreign Service

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I believe the benefits are exceptioinal for Foreign Service Officers - opportunities to learn, travel, and cushy positions in DC when they aren't abroad.

    If you are Civil Service, the atmosphere is different but it looks good on your resume.

    There are a lot of opportunities to learn via training, events, and lectures.

    Cons

    The atmosphere among civil service employees is toxic - it is way too competitive. The people are cutthroat in trying to get to that next GS level. It is all about what you can do for them and your development isn't even an afterthought. The only way to get ahead here is to be competitive, network, and hopefully have a boss that will advocate for you advancing professionally.

    Contractors do all of the technical work - this is pretty universal in the federal government but it is incredibly disappointing. Any one with a technical background should be prepared to see their skills diminish as they spend the majority of time in meetings instead of actually doing the work.

    Advice to Management

    Don't promote people with technical skills that lack management skills. More importantly, don't play favorites and promote people to managerial levels who lack both the technical and management skills to perform and manage employees. Finally, fire people who don't perform! Don't just move around nonperformers because they are still going to cause problems.

  8. Foreign Service Officer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Ability to travel and see the world and get paid for it.

    Cons

    Foreign Service Officer themselves are one of the biggest turn offs. Culture is risk adverse and is often spends hours debating inane things with no strategic plan. Evaluation system is capricious and random. This is really an unhealthy environment to work, which is getting worse since they hired too many people in the last decade.

    Advice to Management

    Manage the organization!

  9. Helpful (2)

    It has been a nice ride, now ready to move on

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Lots of training, free services (all sorts of counselling), interesting work

    Cons

    Antiquated systems, amazing bureaucracy, lots of egos

    Advice to Management

    Good people need to be valued more

  10. Diverse.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great benefits. interesting work. Great coworkers.

    Cons

    Micromanaged. Exhausting. high level of communication needed.

    Advice to Management

    None.

  11. Living and working abroad representing the USG.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    excitement, impact, org culture, super smart and interesting people

    Cons

    beaurocracy, rules for everything, moving every 2 years (could be a pro!)

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