US Department of State

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  1.  

    Passport Specialist, I adjudicate applications for processing passports

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

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

    Pros

    Something different everyday. It is definitely a challenge everyday.

    Cons

    Keeping Focused on everything you do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Have more Patience with employees

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great experience, exciting environment.

    Current Intern - Public Affairs Intern in Washington, DC
    Current Intern - Public Affairs Intern in Washington, DC

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

    Pros

    It was a very stimulating environment to work. There were lots of opportunities for interns to visit important places and hear important people. I was able to attend live press briefings at both the White House and the State Dept. Great exposure to the world of International Affairs. Everyone in my office was so friendly and welcoming, and I was given lots of responsibility.

    Cons

    The application is drawn out because of the security clearance, but definitely worth it.

  3. 6 people found this helpful  

    It's a mixed bag, and not the best place in the federal government for ambitious civil servants

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

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

    Pros

    - Opportunity to make an impact on foreign policy decisions; work with very senior officers and talented, intelligent people.
    - Great benefits, and thanks to Colin Powell, civil servants can access training opportunities at the Foreign Service Institute - an impressive institution and rarity in government agencies.
    - Opportunities for TDYs, or longer-term overseas jobs for the well-connected. This provides an excellent way to get overseas experience / exposure without subjecting your family to the long-term costs of a foreign service career.
    - Competent people move up quickly, and get a lot of autonomy. Similarly, technical subject matter expertise is not common trait in leadership, so if you are an expert in something, you will very easily be able to influence policy decisions and fill an important niche.

    Cons

    - The separate personnel systems between the foreign and civil service are like a cancer that constantly erode the credibility and equity of this entire system. Civil servants, no matter how qualified and competent you are, do not have the same long-term career growth opportunities than their foreign service colleagues. This is an institutional/legislative issue, and can lead to some pretty strange outcomes, including: 1) being managed by FSOs with little subject matter expertise, and various levels of managerial in/competence, 2) constant churn when your leadership changes every 2 years result in inconsistent and sometimes ineffective policy and programmatic outcomes; 3) lack of any long-term strategic thinking; 4) leadership decisions motivated by careerism / politics rather than technical reasons.
    - This organization is very complex, and a lot of your success depends on being to navigate politics within the building. That's all fine, but given the proliferation of political appointee specialty offices, it's difficult. New offices / working groups / initiatives take the focus of diplomacy, which is really State's core competency. A lot of the other stuff, this organization just doesn't do so well.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Dual personnel system results in high attrition of many of your best and brightest civil servants.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great experience living overseas

    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 10 years)

    Pros

    Experience different cultures and countries. See the world while serving your country.

    Cons

    Third world locations, tough living conditions.

  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Former Foreign Service Officer (Generalist)

    • 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

    Excellent training, benefits and opportunity to contribute at senior levels when serving overseas in smaller nations. Especially enjoyed working in the Africa Bureau, where the Department has a lot of autonomy in conducting US foreign policy

    Cons

    The promotion system, like the military, is stultified and seniority based. On the occasions I had to work with political appointees, I found them difficult and generally unqualified.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Attractiveness of Careers at U.S. Department of State

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

    I have been working at US Department of State part-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Challenging work, employee support, travel opportunities

    Cons

    Caps on salary, occasionally less than ideal life style

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    none

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

    Excellent

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Budget in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Budget in Arlington, VA

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

    Pros

    Great potential for learning as the agency receives relatively low funding (compared to DOJ, DHS, DOD). They attempt to achieve a lot with as few people resources as possible.

    Cons

    Big government - slow to implement change (if you're young). Contractor vs. GS Employee culture. Little in the way of mentorship across GS-Contractor lines.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Build in more promotion potential in both the GS and Contractor worlds. Federal gov't in general is on a freeze for raises. They need to lift this freeze. Hard to compete with private sector in this regard. People want raises after a couple years of work without having to jump ship into another role/agency.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Office of Broadcast Services

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

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

    Pros

    Access to state of the art equipment and staff to create media content

    Cons

    Everything they say (oxymoronically) about government workers and bureaucracy is true. Only veterans can "make the cert" to be even considered for employment.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Internship

    • Culture & Values
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern in Washington, DC

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

    Pros

    Overall experience working as an intern in political affairs was excellent. The chance to interact with major figures in foreign affairs, as well as to acquire experience in the diplomatic channels of the U.S. government was second to none.

    Cons

    The experience that interns have at State is heavily dependent on which office or post they are assigned.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The application system for interns should be separated by the education level. Currently, all applications are pooled into one, meaning that more experienced/educated applicants are competing against those in college or even younger. Given the rise in applications by older and more educated applicants, the system is becoming increasingly unfair. Also, management should make greater efforts to create a uniform intern experience throughout State instead of leaving it up to the willingness of individual offices to give interns meaningful work to complete.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Mixed Internship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Political Section Summer Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Political Section Summer Intern in Washington, DC

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

    Pros

    Internship experience differs from office to office. The best case is if the office has substantive work to do, with fewer regular FSO's available. In that case, summer interns often fill in for actual FSO work, though it is closely supervised.

    Cons

    Summer interns may also have to do some office admin work.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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