US Department of State

  www.state.gov
  www.state.gov
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US Department of State Reviews in Washington, DC

Updated September 2, 2014
Updated September 2, 2014
332 Reviews
3.9
332 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
83 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

149 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Great place to intern, but don't expect immediate employment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Intern  in  Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Intern in Arlington, VA

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

    Pros

    I worked at the Foreign Service Institute, where they train diplomats. The office I worked was full of wonderful, smart people from all different backgrounds. As an intern, you have the opportunity to take classes and trainings, as well as attending some intern-only "field trips" to the Capital or other embassies. My projects were all great. I was able to lead a few while I was there, and I also led some office meetings. Generally, it was a very good experience, and I made a lot of connections. There is a reason that DoS is one of the top best picks for internship opportunities.

    Cons

    - General struggles against security issues (but that's normal for the government)
    - Other interns were in other offices, where they didn't have good experiences (one of the interns I met showed up the day he was supposed to, and the supervisor had no idea they even were getting an intern)
    - In other internships, there might be the opportunity to be offered employment after graduation from a college or university, but the Department doesn't/can't offer that directly, you have to apply to the very few positions in the U.S. like everybody else or take the Foreign Service Exam in order to become a foreign service officer

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

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

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Passionate 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

    Cons

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

  3.  

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

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

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

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Constant moving, next assignment bidding process, politics

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It 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.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 5 people found this helpful  

    great pros and cons but overall, competitiveness makes it dysfunctional

    • 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 for more than 10 years

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Not 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 ManagementAdvice

    Look into the facts behind the EERs

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Bureaucracy

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

    I worked at US Department of State part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Some 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.

    Cons

    So 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.

  7.  

    Good stepping stone

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

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

    Pros

    lots of people to meet, good networking that is readily available

    Cons

    not much of an innovation culture

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    A great way of life

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

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

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Some 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 ManagementAdvice

    Recognize 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!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  9.  

    Great organization with a public service mission and high dedicated diplomats

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

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

    Pros

    Interesting and important, impactful work, highly capable staff

    Cons

    Highly bureaucratic that can be stifling

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn to use new technology and innovate

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Exceptional leadership opportunities and diverse portfolios

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great benefits, diverse work that always keeps me interested, a lot of room for taking on work that I find personally interesting, good team members, excellent network.

    Cons

    Not always great management, constant tension between foreign and civil service, heavy turnover leads to unstable working environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Encourage leadership training and management training, acknowledge and follow legal differences in foreign and civil service work force.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    An agency with a lot of potential.

    • 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

    Travel, pay, and a lot of training.

    Cons

    Too many ego's and employee dissatisfaction.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Practice what you preach.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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