Smithsonian Reviews

Updated July 29, 2015
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84 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great company, great people, WONDERFUL experience

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

    I worked at Smithsonian

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    -the people are VERY friendly and will go above and beyond to help you out in any way possible -you will learn something new and fascinating every day that you work here -very rewarding and rich experience

    Cons

    -they don't pay very well -I was only there for the summer -The few weeks of the festival are VERY hectic and time demanding


  2. Great Team; So-So position

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Administrative in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Administrative in Washington, DC

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time (More than a year)

    No opinion of CEO
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Manager was pleasant, helpful. Department, located in Natural history museum, consisted of intelligent, friendly scientists. Great coworkers; close to Metro station.

    Cons

    Not much room for advancement if working in administrative field. During summer months its hard to find a quick place to eat lunch due to the summer crowds.


  3. Great experience!

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I worked at Smithsonian part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Very collegial work environment with extremely smart people. Work-life balance is fantastic. The agency values learning and diversity. Benefits are also good.

    Cons

    Takes a long time for things to change, though I think this is true of most government agencies. Pay is not as good as private companies, but still much better than most government agencies.


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  5. Exciting place to work.

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

    I have been working at Smithsonian (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    Job opportunities, interesting projects, benefits, and mostly great people. They often have great growth opportunities. You can join a project and grow outside your job description. The benefits, even the non-federal workers benefits, are superb. The Secretary has shown incredible leadership.

    Cons

    You can get a bad supervisor. There aren't many options for you if that happens. You have to search for another job, either inside or outside the Smithsonian. It can be a federal organization, with promotions based on federal scales.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in your staff, and ensure the leadership you hire shows engagement with the staff they have.


  6. 15 years middle manager

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

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time (More than 10 years)

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

    Pros

    Amazing opportunities to work on global projects and collaborate with internationally celebrated artists and scholars. Good benefits and some great colleagues.

    Cons

    senior management disconnect from reality. Serious organizational flaws. Senior level bureaucrats get promoted to positions they cannot perform. Lousy pay


  7. Helpful (1)

    Disorganized, real talent gets lost

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

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time (Less than a year)

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

    Pros

    Caliber, name brand of organization, people are always impressed by "Smithsonian," views on the mall are nice, steady supply of interesting programming for staff

    Cons

    No real talent in administration, people come to the Smithsonian really expecting something special because it's well, the Smithsonian, and are really, really disappointed. Administration staff severely overworked and likely underpaid. Bad talent never gets fired only demoted and moved around. Many people stay because of name and nothing else. I would not recommend the Smithsonian to anyone who is really looking for an engaging and inspiring career -- if you like brand names, go for it -- but you certainly don't get brand name quality here.

    Advice to Management

    On the outside, the museums are nice. They're well-maintained, etc. On the inside, it's a zoo...


  8. Security is dangerously incompetent.

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

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    I suppose that it taking an act of god to get fired could be a pro. Maybe.

    Cons

    Years of poor hiring standards have resulted in Smithsonian's security division, "Office of Protection Services", being stuffed from the top down with people whose only work experience seems to be Smithsonian security. Most of the security managers are more concerned with keeping the staff happy than they are with actually ensuring the safety and security of the building. The organization is full of people being allowed to carry guns who have no business ever being allowed to touch one. There's no promotion potential unless you went to high school with someone in management.

    Advice to Management

    There's no saving OPS. Burn it down and start from scratch.


  9. Air Space Museum in Smithsonian

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Sales Associate in Chantilly, VA
    Former Employee - Senior Sales Associate in Chantilly, VA

    I worked at Smithsonian part-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    I can't imagine why anyone would dislike this place. This was a great place to work- nice environment. There are some good people working at the museum, but these are the down-to-earth hourly oompa loompas that are trying to make a living at a minimum wage.

    Cons

    Favored employees get the benefit to continue to work there. Very slow raising the hourly rate.


  10. Sounds fascinating, but ultimately, it's the government.

    Former Employee - Secretary in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Secretary in Washington, DC

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You can wander around the museum on your lunch break.

    Cons

    You're working for the government, in all its Kafka-esque, everything-in-triplicate craziness.

    Advice to Management

    Oh well, better here than Asia.


  11. Government Red Tape

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

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time

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

    Pros

    Incredible opportunities and resources, government benefits, and talented colleagues make the Smithsonian an appealing workplace. Plus you can't beat the name recognition on a resume.

    Cons

    There are forms upon forms to fill out, everything is heavy in procedure and red tape, and the institution moves slowly. Once someone is employed there it is impossible to get rid of them regardless of their competency.



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