US Department of State
3.8 of 5 308 reviews
www.state.gov Washington, DC 5000+ Employees

US Department of State Reviews

Updated Jul 2, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.8 308 reviews

                             

89% Approve of the CEO

US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry

John Kerry

(76 ratings)

87% of employees recommend this company to a friend
308 Employee Reviews
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "See the world, protect the best brand in the world - the US"
    in 11 reviews
  • "I worked at the Foreign Service Institute, where they train diplomats"
    in 20 reviews
Cons:
  • "Foreign Service officers are then central employee core and taken care of"
    in 26 reviews
  • "The biggest challenge is that every two years, there is a rotation of mid-level Foreign Service Officers who arrive with "attitude""
    in 15 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

     

    Great exposure to what it's like to work in the public sector

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsPassionate employees, great sense of purpose, very rewarding to be working toward goals that effect change, excellent opportunity to hear about the many career tracks people pursue to end up at State

    ConsBureaucracy is always challenging and high-visibility engagements are dictated by White House policy more so than State

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    Intelligent people, exciting work - just be patient with the bureaucracy.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsUnique opportunity to work on foreign policy

    ConsVery hierarchical, but the structure can sometimes be a good thing.

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    Highly rewarding experience. Affords one the opportunity to serve our country via some very unique assignments.

    IT Manager (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsDedicated professionals, rewarding assignments (both the job and location), benefits

    ConsConstant moving, next assignment bidding process, politics

    Advice to Senior ManagementIt takes many spokes to make that wheel go around smoothly! Value all your employees equally and stop putting your Officers (Econ, Political...) on a pedestal.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Great learning experience, little to no opportunity to be hired or recommended for employment.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGreat people, exciting work, not the kind of internship where you get stuck making copies. Really good if you are interested in the Foreign Service.

    ConsSame as the cons for any unpaid internship- a system where you have to spend your life savings to get work experience is broken.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    great pros and cons but overall, competitiveness makes it dysfunctional

    Foreign Service Officer (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    Prostravel, good salary & benefits, interesting work--making a difference sometimes

    ConsNot only is it "up or out", but Congress mandates 10% be low ranked each year for possible separation out--so if you ever don't get along with a boss, you have a sword of Damocles hanging over your head. Many good upper/middle managers mentor & bask in the (reflected) glow of their employees doing well--but lots of others like to set up their employees for failure so they can show the ambassador how they "saved the day" . I was a foreign service officer for 14 years, received lots of awards, meritorious step increases, etc. (including a Superior Honor Award, the highest you can get) and had a year of graduate school paid for--but was kicked out (without a full pension because I had not been in for 20 years or more) because of a bad boss. You really have to know how to play office politics and deal with people in mid to high level positions who never should have reached those levels.
    Also is very difficult for women employees to get ahead and still have a marriage and/or children. Not only are there few professional men who want to traipse around the world being house husbands and never getting any jobs or professional positions themselves--but the required "unaccompanied postings" mean breaking up the family for a year or more, exceedingly difficult for single moms. The promotion statistics still show the pattern of the 70s: married men (especially to traditional wives) and single women get promoted, since they can devote 100% of their time and energy to sucking up & promoting themselves.
    I am not just one embittered voice. Many years ago, State asked for a "vision statement" and officers sent in "Kiss up, kick down", "Rank has its privilege, but not accountability", etc. There were so many negative statements sent in that they dropped the idea.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLook into the facts behind the EERs

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Bureaucracy

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    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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    1 person found this helpful  

    Overseas Work for U.S.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsOpportunity to live overseas and depending on specialty do some interesting work.

    ConsVery bureaucratic. Must be willing to live anywhere and not always get the assignment you want to the country you want to live in. Must be willing to spend many years doing work that has little to do with previous experience or degrees.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTake management training seriously and provide a feedback mechanism to see that principles are put into practice.

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    Good stepping stone

    Graduate (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    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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    A great place for career growth and development

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsMultifaceted organization with enormous opportunity

    ConsBureaucratic and employees have difficulty improving processes.

    Advice to Senior ManagementReach out to employees for ways to improve efficiency

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    A great way of life

    Information Management Specialist (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsTravel. Living in foreign countries. Great people to work with.

    ConsSome positions are in very, very dangerous countries. Additionally, as IT staff, a lot of the "officers" have extremely large egos that are disproportionate to their intelligence and abilities.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRecognize that your IT staff have far more lucrative opportunities outside the relatively small world of the diplomatic service. We may be "only staff" but without us you don't communicate!

    Yes, I would 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 308 reviews posted anonymously by US Department of State employees.