US Department of State Reviews

Updated August 30, 2014
Updated August 30, 2014
326 Reviews

3.9
326 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
81 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • See the world while serving your country (in 12 reviews)

  • I worked at the Foreign Service Institute, where they train diplomats (in 22 reviews)


Cons
  • Foreign Service officers are then central employee core and taken care of (in 27 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)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Summer Internship

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

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

    Pros

    I worked abroad in an embassy and I had a mixed experience. The positives is that my boss allowed me to experience the different sectors of the embassy and encouraged me to be involved in different sections. The first week or so was a little slow, but after I got all my briefings I got more work to do that filled my day. I had the menial tasks like making copies, but I also got to help on big projects which was great. Everyone, even the higher ups would check in with me to see how I was going and was very kind. I was also given housing and transportation to the embassy. Without the provided housing and transportation I would not have been able to intern, since the position is unpaid.

    Cons

    The biggest turn off for me were actually the foreign service officers. I assumed that foreign service officers were open minded since they are essentially the face of the U.S. Some, not all, of the officers looked down a lot on the country and the people who lived in the country. Some of them made fun of the people they rejected for visas, they were often rude to the local staff and to the people who worked in the cafeteria. They referred to the country as stupid and sometimes to the people as unintelligent. Some took pride in the fact that they were diplomats and police officers wouldn't stop them for traffic violations, so they drove recklessly. These behaviors made me question if the foreign service would ever be a track I would pursue and sometimes overshadowed the very positive things I was experiencing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider a stipend for inters.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Great Place to Work

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Pros

    You're making US foreign policy. What could be more gratifying? I've really considered myself lucky to be at State.

    Cons

    It's a high pressure environment. Sometimes it's hard to find the right work-life balance. State can also have a highly competitive environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    MGT does a great job. No major complaints. When other federal agencies were laying off employees, our management worked hard to keep us employed.

  3.  

    Logistics Advisor

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

    I worked at US Department of State full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Excellent benefits, a lot of training opportunities and great options to grow.

    Cons

    You need to know someone to be hired or promoted.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    n/a

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Great place to work!

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

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

    Pros

    Culture of hard work, senior management interested in continuously improving the Department, compensation is on par with other gov organizations, opportunity for advancement, encouraged to think outside the box and to be creative.

    Cons

    Horrible work life balance, senior management interested in continuously improving things - even when there is no need, up our out FS system makes employees overly competitive, serious cultural divide between FS and CS.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sometimes things are not broken. Don't try to fix everything - over and over again.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    My experience at DoS has had its highs and lows. Living overseas was the highlight.

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time

    Pros

    Benefits: Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid leave, and a chance to see the world and experience different cultures are major benefits of a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. Overseas benefits include paid housing or a housing allowance and paid education for dependent children between K-12.

    Additional Benefits: Tax free housing overseas, tax free educational allowance, etc. (See Benefits on our website for more information.) website is careers.state.gov.

    Any Foreign Service Specialist hired after October 1, 2013, who demonstrates FSI-tested Arabic language ability, will receive a one-time recruitment bonus.

    Cons

    A large bureaucratic society - sometimes comes across as cold and uncaring.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great place to work

    • 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 State

    Pros

    Interesting subject matter, stability, life-work balance

    Cons

    Heavy bureaucracy in moving papers

  8.  

    Lost in the shuffle of bureaucracy

    • 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 State full-time

    Pros

    Rare, but exciting opportunities to contribute to the management of dynamic and evolving situations related to international issues and US foreign affairs.

    Cons

    Feeling like a number lost in a system, surronded by careerist looking to impress the right person, as opposed to truly contributing to the mission.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Encourage free thinking and ambition.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Soul sucker

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

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

    Pros

    Good money, interesting work, friendly environment

    Cons

    Government work is soul sucking. No incentives, productivity is meaningless for advancement, no difference between hard workers and lazy ones when it comes to raises, etc. Terrible management and ever increasing bureaucracy that totally stifles productivity.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Stay Away!

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

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

    Pros

    The cafeteria has an excellent array of cuisines.

    Cons

    Management and Senior Management are incompetent.

    Doesn't Recommend
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great if you're in it for the long haul

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Public service, world travel, free overseas housing, decent pay. If you'd like to travel the world and aren't too picky about where you're going, then State is for you. It might be Ciudad Juarez, Baghdad, or Paris, you just don't know what will open up. You can lobby more as you rise in the ranks. Pay is pretty good but it's hard to live in DC on your salary if you have kids and a stay-at-home spouse.

    Cons

    Promotion is highly structured and there's lots of bureaucracy. Strategy and planning are needed but the building seems to constantly be responding to the latest crisis. This can dramatically impact work-life balance for years at a time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Organizational culture shift is overdue to increase innovation and adaptibility.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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