Peace Corps

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The mission is noble but the management of it is not

Country Desk Officer (Current Employee) Washington, DC

ProsThe mission of Peace Corps, as first outlined by President Kennedy, remains true today. The noble acheivements and enthusiasm by Volunteers past and present are the fuel that keeps this organization alive. Interaction with volunteers can be invigorating and rewarding. The management here is understanding if you need some extra time off to deal with any issues, and there is enough downtime to get in a good vacation. The people that work here - from nurses to IT specialists, to desk jockeys to and consultants - are fantastic. While some are returned Peace Corps volunteers, many are not and yet still can identify with the underlying mission of providing to support to those who are supporting others. Peace Corps does good work and everyone here is so enthusiastic about what it is they do. It's a contagious feeling and a nice break from corporate go-get'em attitudes or the me-first attitude in other fed agencies.

ConsPeace Corps is a "boutique" agency in the U.S. federal government - very refined towards a mission that contribute little to other agencies and departments outside of it. The Peace Corps is separated from the State Department, but the politics of where Peace Corps will operate is about as complicated and policy-driven as anything could be in Washington. If you love politicking and glad-handing, Peace Corps HQ is an ideal place for you. This place is loaded with political appointees - the White House treats this place as the consolation prize for people that couldn't get elected into office or simply know somebody that knows somebody. A downside of a boutique agency is its subsequent tiny budget. This place is about as cheap as they come.

A downside is the five-year rule - the requirement that you must leave the agency after 5 years, and cannot return to the agency until another 5 years have elapsed. This is supposed to offer fresh thinking in the agency but all it does is contribute to brain drain and loss of institutional knowledge. Furthermore, I am convinced that employees here are chewed up and spit out, without much attention to professional growth and preparation to leave the agency, which everyone must do (except for those appointees!).

Advice to Senior ManagementEmpower your employees, share information, allow for continuing education, let your staff travel overseas more often, allow for enhanced responsibility and upward mobility. Reward your staff with bonuses or time off awards so they understand the value of their contributions. Finally - enough with the speeches about how we'll do everything to support the volunteer. How about supporting your own staff, who you see and work with everyday? It sure seems like you'd move mountains for people you don't even know, but when we ask for a raise or to go travel, you act like we shot your dog.

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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Not just an idealistic decision, but also a practical career choice

    Volunteer (Former Employee) La Romana (Dominican Republic)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year


    Pros: There are certain things that you can only learn from having the real-world experience, and Peace Corps is a very unique way of having the… Cons: A lot of the experience depends on the specific project you are assigned to, and not all of them are great. You do have some… Advice to Senior Management: There is some tension between the goals of the PC, basically between the cross-cultural goals and achieving actual development outcomes. I think PC can set… Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company… More
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Challenging my weaknesses and strength, this position because a very rewarding experience.

    Youth Development (Former Employee) Kiev (Ukraine)

    I worked at Peace Corps as a contractor for more than a year


    Pros: Hands on cross-cultural skills, international relations, government agency work, gained… Cons: So much personal growth is needed. But this is nothing… Advice to Senior Management: Keep up the great need to continuously improve as you… Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company… More
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