US Department of Commerce

  www.commerce.gov
  www.commerce.gov

US Department of Commerce Reviews

Updated October 17, 2014
Updated October 17, 2014
90 Reviews
3.6
90 Reviews
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US Department of Commerce Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker
Penny Pritzker
4 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Good work/life balance, flexible scheduling (in 4 reviews)

  • Interesting work, supervisors in my division empowered employees to make decisions (in 4 reviews)


Cons
  • Entrenched and poisonous middle/upper-middle management (in 3 reviews)

  • Salary is too low and political appointees can be difficult to work with/for (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Internship in SelectUSA Office

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - SelectUSA in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - SelectUSA in Washington, DC

    I worked at US Department of Commerce as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    There was a great working environment. The office is great because its fairly new (3 years) and very unique to DOC. So, its staffed by some really excellent, smart people with varying experience. Its probably one of the best and most under-rated offices in the agency.

    Cons

    Fairly understaffed and under-resourced. Insufficient job descriptions and boundaries. Clearly, there are some people in the office pulling more weight than others.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Entering into federal service from a (lengthy) private sector background - a tough jump.

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

    I worked at US Department of Commerce full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Stability: Once you're in, with very few exceptions, you can pretty much have a job for life...without really accomplishing anything. Since most staff write their own performance reviews (and in my case, my bosses review of my performance and his bosses review of my performance...) anyone can appear to be a star-- with no real accountability. Yes, this same commentary could (and probably should) be read as a "con".

    Cons

    Bureaucracy (whether at Commerce or probably any other federal agency) stifles initiative, drive and creativity. In fact, the environment in the federal government is such that mediocrity is not only cultivated, it is celebrated! A truly motivated person, with a creative, dynamic entrepreneur's attitude and motivation will rather rapidly find the environment suffocating.

    We had a phrase in my agency that went something like this: "Praise for the guilty, blame for the innocent and promotions for the non-involved!". It may seem humorous, but it's sadly very true.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you're a political appointee, good for you (nice resume builder) -- but please, please stay the hell out of the way of the career professionals. Enjoy your office, go to nice lunches and move quietly on, without attempting to leave your "legacy".

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Structured and Diverse

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Office Operations Supervisor in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Office Operations Supervisor in Chicago, IL

    I worked at US Department of Commerce as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Clearly defined responsibilities, expectations, & review results. Plenty of opportunities for cross-training and lateral movement into more enjoyable rolls.

    Cons

    It's a cog in the machine. Not too much opportunity for improvement or innovation, but results of work are definitely seen as processes move from one department to the next for appropriate reporting.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase expectations and revise budget allowances for improved efficiency.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Underrated

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

    I worked at US Department of Commerce as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Coming in as an intern, I had no idea how much Commerce actually did. Working on an interagency project, I got the chance to meet and work with lot of interesting (high level) figures. Metro stipend was nice too.

    Cons

    Unpaid. Facing the federal hiring process to become an employee. I also never really met interns working elsewhere in the building, which would have been helpful.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not sure. Didn't work under the current Secretary.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    I am unsure how anything gets accomplished here.

    • 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 Commerce as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Location is great & people are friendly -for the most part.

    Cons

    Standard office bureaucracy hinders project completion

    Neutral Outlook
  7.  

    Depends where you rank & if your the favored diverse employee

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Statistical Clerk in Jeffersonville, IN
    Current Employee - Statistical Clerk in Jeffersonville, IN

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

    Pros

    Pay is not too bad. Its better depending on classification. Apparently if your a "Career employee" GS 5 /6 or better, you matter, otherwise a peon to be stepped on or not as much. They encourage people to use Mass Transit. They encourage you to contribute. You can submit ideas in a formal process. I have received several buttons as "awards".

    Cons

    Absolutely no benefits if your classified "Intermittent", even if you work 37 1/2 hrs a week. supposedly we hire from within, but I have been stuck for 8 years even though been given numerous awards. Mass Transit typical commute is 2 hrs each way.If I drove, I'd be home within 30 minutes. Some managers are just phoning it in & if you pass on good ideas, it goes in the trash. You can submit an idea for formal review, of adopted, you used to get prizes, premiums or even got monetary awards. Now you get a button.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    How about make promotions totally blind to quotas. How about doing something more appropriate than a button.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Great Way to Understand How the Gov Works

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

    I worked at US Department of Commerce as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Good group of very intelligent people with a passion for their work, as an intern was actually given some work to do that was more than just photo copying.

    Cons

    Can be a little mundane at times and if you're a recent grad you likely won't find a lot of other young bucks running around the Commerce building.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Several great opportunities, and all at one place

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Census Enumerator in Brecksville, OH
    Former Employee - Census Enumerator in Brecksville, OH

    I worked at US Department of Commerce as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    I really enjoyed working on the census. the job offered flexible hours, great interaction with the public, and great pay. I also enjoyed my co-workers, who were from diverse backgrounds and stages of their careers.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, most tours of duty only lasted a few weeks, a month or two at most. I was able to pick up several different tours over a 12 month period.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Mixed

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

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

    Pros

    A chance to get great experience internationally, make good contacts, depending on the specific agency. Your experience is largely dependent on your immediate 1-2 supervisors. Colleagues are generally very good.

    Cons

    Upper management is clueless and doesn't care. "The Emperor's New Clothes" is an apt analogy for most managers above the unit/office level, and Dilbert too often reads like an e-mail from an upper management's office.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The current crop is beyond saving.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Secure and decent benefits, but lacking in vision and mission

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

    I have been working at US Department of Commerce full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Decent salary, 40 hours/week, good benefits, flexible schedule

    Cons

    Real leadership is not stressed in the US government as far as I've seen. There is no competition thus few incentives to innovate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Read anything by John Maxwell. Create a vision and get people behind it. Grow your leaders. Invest in relationships. Give people a reason for coming to work other than just to hit their metrics and collect a pay check.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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