US Department of State

www.state.gov
Employer Engaged

US Department of State Reviews

Updated March 1, 2015
Updated March 1, 2015
399 Reviews
3.9
399 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
119 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • If you work for the Foreign Service, you get to see the world in so many meaningful ways (in 30 reviews)

  • See the world while serving your country (in 14 reviews)


Cons
  • The biggest turn off for me were actually the foreign service officers (in 32 reviews)

  • This can dramatically impact work-life balance for years at a time (in 10 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Diverse.

    • 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

    Great benefits. interesting work. Great coworkers.

    Cons

    Micromanaged. Exhausting. high level of communication needed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Living and working abroad representing the USG.

    • 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

    excitement, impact, org culture, super smart and interesting people

    Cons

    beaurocracy, rules for everything, moving every 2 years (could be a pro!)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3.  

    It has been a nice ride, now ready to move on

    • 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 (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Lots of training, free services (all sorts of counselling), interesting work

    Cons

    Antiquated systems, amazing bureaucracy, lots of egos

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Good people need to be valued more

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5.  

    Phenomenal, exhausting, worth it

    • 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 State full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Extremely challenging, sense of purpose, decent compensation, opportunities for international travel/living. Outstanding, high-achieving colleagues who work as a team. Almost every manager I ever had was great and cared not just about policy, but about the people they managed. If you show you're competent, you'll get more responsibility.

    Cons

    Poor work-life balance, culture of CYA, bureaucratic wrangling can be frustrating, zero consequences for poor management (since most managers move on within 2 years, higher-ups are content to pass the buck and let poor managers slide), some favoritism, conflict among Foreign Service Officers - Civil Servants - and Political Appointees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay close attention to middle management and emphasize accountability. Hold all employees accountable instead of counting down the days until they leave. Pay attention to retention rates and morale in particular offices.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Foreign Service Officer

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

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Fascinating work, smart and dedicated colleagues, see the world, do work that matters, serve the American people

    Cons

    Big bureaucracy with its share of dead wood that puts a premium on policy over people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Rethink the hiring and retention process; a system that is almost 50 years old is not competitive and won't get or retain the best people

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7.  

    Hit or Miss Internship

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

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    Exciting work, reasonable hours, great foreign policy exposure.

    Cons

    Most interns are unpaid.
    The major con is that while interns know their bureau/department placement before accepting the position, they often don't know which specific office they will be placed in. Especially in some of the larger bureaus, this can be extremely frustrating, as internship experiences vary widely even within bureaus depending on which specific office the intern is assigned to.

    Recommends
  8.  

    Good for Idealists

    • 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

    Worldwide reach and sense of purpose

    Cons

    Bureaucratic; people who have stayed too long are challenging to work with.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None

  9.  

    Large bureaucracy with lack of communication between different sectors.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    Extremely prestigious and doing great work around the world. Offers lots of flexibility

    Cons

    Building is in no man's land -

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Communicate with your staff. Share what goes on in the many many meetings that you attend.

  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    A safe have for foreign policy wonks....

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    If you love international affairs, and you love writing, you will love State. Top notch talent and unparalleled opportunities to contribute to policy making.

    Cons

    Human resources processes can be daunting and State can be quite formal for newbies, but you can acclimate quickly to the culture by being observant and asking a ton of questions.

  11.  

    Poor management

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

    I worked at US Department of State as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Interesting to work with diplomacy, learn a lot abou the world.

    Cons

    No independent thought, can't grow, too much micromanagement by too many middle managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give your employees a chance to succeed and innovate, stop being so focused on the politics

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

US Department of State Photos

Work at US Department of State? Share Your Experiences

US Department of State

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.