US Geological Survey
3.8 of 5 60 reviews
www.usgs.gov Reston, VA 5000+ Employees

US Geological Survey Reviews

Updated Jul 8, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.8 60 reviews

                             
60 Employee Reviews
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "Work-life balance is encouraged, but definitely employee driven"
    in 6 reviews
  • "Great people and great culture of cooperation"
    in 4 reviews
Cons:
  • "It's generally frustrating dealing with the bureaucracy involved with a federal government job"
    in 3 reviews
  • "Being a civil engineer it didn't really push me"
    in 2 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

     

    Great place to work, except the red tape that is inherent with the government

    Anonymous (Former Employee)

    ProsFull of like-minded people who are eager to explore and share their research.

    ConsConstant search for finding is frustrating to non-federal employees, ie contractors. Levels of beauracracy made some things overly difficult, like getting paid or approval for travel.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPay more thought to your contractors and get rid of some of the levels, it shouldn't take thirty people to get a paycheck approved.

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    Good experience with the USGS

    Web Applications Developer (Current Employee)
    Austin, TX

    ProsThey are very good at working with your college schedule.
    Allowed me to build my skills and have creative freedom with programming.

    ConsBureaucracy can make updating applications a real pain.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Denver branch cannot keep interns.

    Physical Science Technician (Former Employee)
    Denver, CO

    ProsGreat experience with learning soil sample processes.

    ConsManagment. They did not inform me of my job performance when I was an intern and instead of letting me know what to improve on I walked in one day to find that I was being fired for a list of things they did not talk to me about before in my two and a half years with them. I had taken a class at the same time with the Intern that worked for the soil control team in Denver before me and they had a similar experience.

    Advice to Senior ManagementBe realistic with Interns. Give them yearly performance plans.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Great place to work!

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGreat people.
    Worked on worth while projects while traveling and working outdoors.
    Paid time off.

    ConsWork favored office work rather than field work.
    Mind numbing paper reviews, research and data entry while in office.

    Advice to Senior ManagementOnly hold necessary meetings.

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    Best place to begin your career because advancements and opportunities are always available with hard work.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsAlternative Work Styles is a huge plus for this federal agency. The flexible hours and environment make it easier to actually enjoy working without having a 9-5 job.

    ConsThe promotions that the government offers are a great aspect to working with the USGS. Everyone has room to grow and there are many opportunities within this agency.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    I love my job and feel it is very important work that I do however management & supervisors are some of the worst around

    Research Geologist (Current Employee)
    Denver, CO

    ProsNo limit to the science and research you can do. The problems are real time applications in ways that are immediately beneficial to your fellow Americans. Your work matters and you can "own" it and make it useful to millions of taxpayers. The satisfaction in your job is enormous and the variety of work in lab, field, and office is unmatched. You also have flexiplace and time which can be great when your kids need you. I even work some holidays to make up for the time lost to kids and parents but core hours are always met. Wellness centers, training programs, the odd weeks of filed work or conferences are among the best perks as well as the medical and retirement benefits. I go to work everyday proud to serve, grateful to have such a wonderful job, and inspired by my scientific team members.

    ConsSometimes hampered by lack of money to travel or keep students. Administrative paperwork is always a nightmare with largely poorly paid admin personnel that won't help much. Supervisors and managers are terrible, with no people skills but largely stay out of your way (probably hoping you won't be one of those terrible employees that waste time and resources, which alas, seems to be a permanent although small fixture in government jobs). Managers would do better to cultivate the hard-worker rather than only dealing with the "problem children". (In other words, get out and meet your good employees and stop hiding from the bad employees who will always find you anyway). Seems to be lots of political maneuvering for the top management slots. There is a real glass ceiling for women that try to move into middle management...although oddly, top management is woman-heavy.

    Advice to Senior ManagementI think the leaders at the very top, like the Director and her associates, do a great job. Most of the regional directors and science centers directors are terrible. They have never heard of talking to their scientists, walking around and meeting them on a regular basis or interacting at all. They always say they are saving us from paperwork and meetings so we can do science and they can manage...but I got to say, I just don't see it. How can NASA be such a great place to work and the USGS is not? Both "do" top-notch science and both have wonderful, skilled, and innovative work-forces. The missing link for USGS is top-notch science center directors and regional executives.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Great research atmosphere

    Biology Trainee (Former Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    ProsWell stocked labs with high quality equipment
    Supportive staff, very little drama or pulling rank
    Excellent leave system
    Free parking in Magnuson Park

    ConsToo much overhead, but federal so expected.
    Subject to government shutdown, interrupting experiments
    Labs don't have a lot of connections, so hard to meet certain coworkers

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Research Assistant

    Computer Clerk (Former Employee)
    Rolla, MO

    ProsGood environment, pretty laid back.

    ConsSometimes not a lot to do. Can get boring depending on the project you get assigned to.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Hydrologic Technician

    Hydrologic Technician (Former Employee)
    Louisville, KY

    ProsIf you like being outside. It is a great job. I graduated with a degree in civil engineering and in worked at USGS for to summer. It was a very relaxing, easy-going job. I enjoyed the people and the chill environment. It was kinda a work as you go, involved building staircases, pouring concrete, painting boxes.
    Great benefits package.
    Great per diem rate.

    ConsBeing a civil engineer it didn't really push me. I had bigger goals for my career
    Being a government job, there was no rush to get things done, again you can easily thrive with just a little bit of effort, or easily just get by with minimal effort.
    Not very good pay.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGreat perks and benefits. Don't really think anything is broken, but it would take a whole lot of work to change the whole stereotype of government work.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    A place with motivated researchers for the advancement of science.

    Student Intern (Current Employee)
    Champaign, IL

    ProsThe people here are generally very engaged with their work and you feel a great sense of contribution to society. Great benefits too.

    ConsIt seems easy to get to a mid-career level salary with time, but getting to a high-level career level takes 15+ years at the agency, and usually requires a PhD. Also, a lot of projects require am open, exploratory mindset, so it's not recommended for people who need strict guidance.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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