US Department of State Reviews

Updated August 22, 2015
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  1. Helpful (1)

    Pathways Internship Program at the State Department

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Pathways Intern in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Pathways Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The program has given me a ton of opportunities, including tours of the ops center, attending seminars and networking events, and opportunities for full time careers after I graduate. In the program, I have worked in 2 different offices, both of which have been great. It is also a very well paid internship program which is excellent considering most internships that offer these kinds of opportunities are unpaid.

    Cons

    Starting in the program involves a lot of paperwork and it takes forever to get everything set up.


  2. Working in Emergency Management at the Department of State

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Emergency Management Speciailist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Emergency Management Speciailist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Working in a small office allows you to explore and learn the many different portfolios that can be found under Emergency Management.

    Cons

    The Department of State can be very set in its ways and does not adjust well with the testing, training and exercise requirements for many EM programs.

    Advice to Management

    Learning to understand there are emerging technologies, requirements and preparedness measures that are directed by mandates. By supporting and recognizing the importance of the various EM programs.


  3. Helpful (1)

    Foreign Service Officer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Ability to travel and see the world and get paid for it.

    Cons

    Foreign Service Officer themselves are one of the biggest turn offs. Culture is risk adverse and is often spends hours debating inane things with no strategic plan. Evaluation system is capricious and random. This is really an unhealthy environment to work, which is getting worse since they hired too many people in the last decade.

    Advice to Management

    Manage the organization!


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  5. Good place to intern depending on your office

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    If you can deal with the bureaucracy of the State Department, you're prepared for working anywhere else in the Federal government. Some of the FSOs/CSOs there are great people to learn from.

    Cons

    Extremely rigid bureaucracy can be frustrating sometimes; depending on your placement it can be a very useful learning experience or a terrible exercise in scut work.

    Advice to Management

    It would be nice if there were differentiated internships based on whether you were coming in as an undergraduate student or a graduate student with experience; I was utilized well by my office given my work experience and education, but other graduate students I knew were not.


  6. Helpful (2)

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

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    Good people need to be valued more


  7. Helpful (3)

    Phenomenal, exhausting, worth it

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  8. Helpful (1)

    Foreign Service Officer

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

    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 Management

    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


  9. Helpful (5)

    Amazing opportunity, but the bureaucracy is stiff

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

    I worked at US Department of State (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The State Department is the only place I've ever worked that regularly sent me to foreign countries to represent the United States. I felt like I was on the "No Apparent Athletic Talent" Olympic Team. Honestly, it is hard to describe the thrill of landing in Beijing or Abu Dhabi or Yerevan, knowing that I had a job to do on behalf of the U.S. If you are driven by that spirit of public service, you will love the State Department.

    Cons

    The office culture was straight out of office space. Lots of paperwork. Lots of bureaucracy. About a fifth of people seemed to have no real purpose except to process paper (which, frequently, they generated for themselves) and block the rest of the Department from operating more quickly. Careerists and sharp elbows are omnipresent.

    Advice to Management

    More 360 reviews and more promotion opportunities (even small ones) would boost morale


  10. Hit or Miss Internship

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

    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.


  11. Awesome place to work at

    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Made lifelong friends and great support network. Extremely friendly and encouraging folks here.

    Cons

    No pay since I was an unpaid intern.

    Advice to Management

    Pay interns.



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