US Department of State
3.8 of 5 280 reviews
www.careers.state.gov Washington, DC 5000+ Employees

US Department of State Reviews

Updated Apr 16, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.8 280 reviews

                             

91% Approve of the CEO

US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry

John Kerry

(65 ratings)

88% of employees recommend this company to a friend
52 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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It's a stable job with decent pay and benefits and lot of opportunity to travel

Office Management Specialist (Current Employee)
Washington, DC

I have been working at US Department of State full-time for more than 3 years

Pros1. Travel opportunities: You receive federal holidays, local holidays (when stationed abroad), and 13+ days of vacation annually.
2. Free housing (while stationed abroad)

Cons1. NO opportunities for career advancement
2. Management is disinclined to allow training opportunities

Advice to Senior Management1. Treat FSOs and Specialists equally.
2. Learn what specialists actually do, so that you may more effectively evaluate their job performance and assit with professional development.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Bureaucracy

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
Washington, DC

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

ProsSome of my colleagues were great. Extremely smart and capable. It'll be great to have them as friends and professional contacts for the rest of my life.

ConsSo much bureaucracy and so much focus on minutiae (which is fine if that's your thing). I could tell how frustrating this was for some of my more experienced colleagues.

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Good stepping stone

Graduate (Former Employee)
Washington, DC

I worked at US Department of State as an intern for less than a year

Proslots of people to meet, good networking that is readily available

Consnot much of an innovation culture

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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An agency with a lot of potential.

IT Specialist (Current Employee)
Washington, DC

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

ProsTravel, pay, and a lot of training.

ConsToo many ego's and employee dissatisfaction.

Advice to Senior ManagementPractice what you preach.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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1 person found this helpful  

Pay is good, fellow employees are very nice and helpful

Student Assistant (Former Employee)

I worked at US Department of State as an intern for less than a year

ProsGood pay, Customers are pleasant to work with, you get to learn a lot, fellow pears are all pleasant to work with.

ConsTerminated with no warning. Not enough training on all the legalities, no benefits unless you are a part or full-time worker. Poor communication with Management.

Advice to Senior ManagementYou should not terminate someone's employment with no warning or explanation.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Prestige, but very high turnover and no opportunities

Public Health Advisor (Current Employee)
Washington, DC

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

ProsAccess to many high level people

ConsNo room to grow, and hindered by bureacracy

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Amazing work and an opportunity to see the world, but suffocating bureaucracy and serious costs for health and family.

Foreign Service Officer (Current Employee)
Washington, DC

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

ProsThe Foreign Service provides some of the very best jobs in foreign affairs and public policy, especially at embassies overseas, where you have autonomy and responsibility for important, engaging issues. Embassy communities are generally tight-knit, and if you like seeing the world, there are few ways to do so with such good overseas benefits.

ConsThe bureaucracy, from human resources to policy making, is stifling, especially at headquarters in Washington, DC. The evaluation and promotion system is broken and unreliable, and the way assignments are handed out can be intensely political and geared toward those who serve in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Pakistan. There is an illusion of meritocracy, but a reality of "who you know." I have never encountered a more passive-aggressive corporate culture, and such behavior is rewarded as "diplomatic." Never underestimate the negative effect of the Foreign Service lifestyle on your health or your family. Many hardship posts present actual life-or-death situations with sub-standard health care, and far too many senior Foreign Service Officers are lifetime singles or divorced.

Advice to Senior ManagementReform the evaluation and promotion system. The current one is Byzantine and depends very little on either accomplishments or potential. Likewise, seek to add transparency to the assignments process, and discontinue the linking system. Look out for spouses, not just children of employees working overseas - clerical jobs don't cut it for professional spouses, and embassies need to do a better job learning the local job market to help them find meaningful work. Don't just medevac employees and their families - boost the capacity of overseas medical units.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Hired help

IT Manager (Former Employee)
Washington, DC

I worked at US Department of State full-time for more than 10 years

Prosextensive travel to overseas locations

ConsLong hours of with absolutely no recognition by management

Advice to Senior Managementnone

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Good intern experience

Intern (Former Employee)
Washington, DC

I worked at US Department of State as an intern for less than a year

Pros-- Worked in an office within one of the geographic bureaus
-- Variety of tasks, many of which were substantial
-- Weekends off

Cons-- Little contact with other interns
-- Did not seem like a great place to work long-term (if you're a foreign service officer, you are basically deployed somewhere else every two years and can't have a life; if you're a civil service officer, you're considered easily replaceable and not very respected)
-- Very bureaucratic. I did not understand what that meant until I worked at State.

Advice to Senior ManagementYour job is impossibly difficult -- I think you're doing pretty well.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Great Individuals, Horrible Work Life Balance

Office Management Specialist (Current Employee)
Washington, DC

I have been working at US Department of State as a contractor for more than a year

ProsThere are plenty of networking opportunities. Professional development is available for Federal employees. Great team members.

ConsHorrible Work-Life Balance. Contractors are not given avenues for growth. There are no personal incentives.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at US Department of State reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for US Department of State CEO John Kerry. All 52 reviews posted anonymously by US Department of State employees.