US Department of State Reviews

Updated April 14, 2015
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
18 Ratings

80 Employee Reviews

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  1. 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

  2. Helpful (1)

    Good for Idealists

    • 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

    Pros

    Worldwide reach and sense of purpose

    Cons

    Bureaucratic; people who have stayed too long are challenging to work with.

    Advice to Management

    None

  3. Large bureaucracy with lack of communication between different sectors.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    Extremely prestigious and doing great work around the world. Offers lots of flexibility

    Cons

    Building is in no man's land -

    Advice to Management

    Communicate with your staff. Share what goes on in the many many meetings that you attend.

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  5. Helpful (1)

    Mostly positive.

    • 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
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Travel, meeting new and interesting people. Good middle management and camaraderie. Challenging work with impact on policy makers. Be on the forefront of history.

    Cons

    Poor senior management apt to be cliquish and unable to hold other senior managers accountable in meaningful ways. Cut-throat management practices that reward loyalty over all.

    Advice to Management

    A thought from Stephen M.R. Covey:

    How to destroy credibility & trust in an organization:

    The hardest of all to deal with are those who have high results but are poor in living the values. They achieve the end that everybody wants, but they do it a way that blatantly defies organizational values. According to GE, people in this category need to learn to operate within the company’s values—or be let go, despite their results. To keep them on as they are is not only unsustainable, it is damaging to the organization and destroys credibility and trust.

  6. Poor management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Washington, DC
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Washington, DC

    I worked at US Department of State as a contractor (more than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    Interesting to work with diplomacy, learn a lot abou the world.

    Cons

    No independent thought, can't grow, too much micromanagement by too many middle managers.

    Advice to Management

    Give your employees a chance to succeed and innovate, stop being so focused on the politics

  7. Incredible Talent, too much Bureaucracy

    Former Employee - Civil Servant
    Former Employee - Civil Servant

    I worked at US Department of State

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

    Pros

    The level of intellect and talent present with the employees at the State Department is second to none. It was excellent being able to immerse myself in that atmosphere.

    Cons

    Bureaucratic infighting leaves the State Department with an archaic operating environment; one that is constantly beholden to the politics of the day.

  8. Exciting but unpredictable

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Pros

    You get to see the world

    Cons

    Limited control over where you go - subject to fate

  9. Helpful (1)

    Good experience although DOS is generally risk-adverse and reactive

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

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

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    I have worked with amazing people while with State and really enjoyed my overseas tours. Working at Main State in DC is a very different experience, although it was helpful to serve in DC and learn about our dynamics with our leadership, Congress, and other agencies. The hours and pay are reasonable. It is a privilege to represent the U.S. government.

    Cons

    There seems to be an aversion to innovative thinking or risk-taking. This can be stifling for those officers who want to make changes that would benefit the Department as a whole. In addition, while we spend an inordinate amount of time working on long-term strategy documents, they are almost never used and we spend time instead dealing with the "crisis of the day". This prevents long-term planning on issues we could actually impact. Too often, State Department leaders fail to listen to country/technical experts and make decisions based on political winds. This reflects our overall poor relationship with Congress and our inability to explain effectively the importance of our work.

    Advice to Management

    Develop a more effective way of working with Congress and explaining what the State Department does. Balance the political winds with advice from real country/technical experts. Develop leaders in the Department who have management skill. Too often, people are promoted due to years of service instead of competence.

  10. Mostly positive

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

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

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

    Pros

    Advancing U.S. foreign policy priorities; implementing international arms control treaties

    Cons

    24/7/365 operation where individual employees matter; during contingencies the Center is always at risk of not having enough employees to do the job

    Advice to Management

    Severe lack of leadership at all levels in the AVC Bureau

  11. Consular Affairs Intern - great experience, wouldn't look for a full-time position right out of undergrad

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

    I worked at US Department of State part-time (less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Consular Affairs is run like a business - there's a lot less fluff and bureaucracy than what I experience in political/economics sections
    Truly fantastic benefits
    Close community at overseas posts

    Cons

    Monotonous at times - being a line officer means dealing with appointments all day
    Hard to acquire transferable skills if you're thinking about exit strategies

    Advice to Management

    At times it seemed like

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