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CIA Reviews

Updated July 15, 2017
60 reviews

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3.7
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CIA Director Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo
1 Rating

60 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great benefits and people who are interesting (in 3 reviews)

  • Interesting work, high impact, passionate colleagues, travel and training opportunities (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • Long hours, work is sometimes tedious (in 4 reviews)

  • Access to classified information means personal life will be highly scrutinized (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (14)

    "Cyber Analyst"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    The mission... counter terrorism and Special ops

    Cons

    If you are not a case officier... no key assignments and promotions are rare. Politics and game playing. Depending on the office (clandestine services) - you need to be part a old boys club.... college degrees and certifications does nothing for your career except get you in the door. Appears that the dumber you are, the better the career options and movement.


  2. Helpful (19)

    "Worst Place I've Every Worked"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at CIA full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Lots of good training. Some good managers, but these are quite rare so if you get one ensure you go where ever they do and you should do fine. However, I don't recommend anyone work here more than 3 years since its not particularly interesting work that they try to sell you on. Its a better environment for white males since the 3rd world which is what they deal with respects that gender/race combo so its only natural that they do better here.

    Cons

    Seriously bad management - that's traditional here. Wasted talent here. Supremely boring - don't let the Hollywood version fool you - there's just a bunch of bald ugly fat guys. NCS acts like a bunch of 13-year-old girls - very immature and petty and are the joke of the intelligence community. Bait and switch you on the job whether you are a staffer or a contractor. Lots of new hires leave before their their 2nd year. Constant feuding with Congress impacts your work, making it simply too challenging to get anything done. Unusual proportion of people having clinical personality disorders who are simply "promoted out" instead of fired - every office has at least one. Delegates most of their work to contractors anyway. Blames their contractors for their own poor judgement. Cut-throat and eager to throw any employee under the bus.

    Advice to Management

    Not everyone is cut out to manage. Contract out more, and just be a good overseer of the contractors.

  3. Helpful (8)

    "Disappointing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Case Officer in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Case Officer in McLean, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at CIA full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    This is the only place in the world where an American can work on behalf of our government to steal secrets to benefit national security.

    Cons

    Mediocrity is the norm. The lack of accountability among senior staff and mid level managers in the DO is astounding. Toxic work environments and bullying isn't the expectation, but it is accepted, so is harassment and discrimination. Quality and meaningful work would more than make up for the broken culture if it existed.

    Advice to Management

    Turn in your badge.


  4. Helpful (22)

    "A fun place to be, but don't make it a career."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intelligence Analyst in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Intelligence Analyst in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Absolutely a sense of mission with some really motivated people. Some very cool jobs available. You feel your job is very important, and that you're really doing something that matters. Absolutely no chance of getting fired unless you do something horrible like racially or sexually harass someone. If you want a 30-year employers with many different types of jobs, CIA is great.

    Cons

    Many levels of management are almost uniformly awful. All levels of employees are constantly sent to BS training courses. Managers seem to spend half their time in management training courses which are clearly counter productive. Bureaucracy as expected of any federal government agency.

    The absolute worst thing for me was that the best and the worst employees were treated exactly the same in many cases. Same salary, same job titles, same seniority. Need a way to weed out horrible employees.

    Advice to Management

    Learn how to WEED OUT bad managers (and bad employees). Since nobody is ever, EVER fired, it seems as if the employees who suck at their jobs become managers. Upper management in my experience was mostly professional and competent. Team level and middle managers were very mixed--some good, some REALLY bad. Management is not the place for passive aggressive introverts with poor people skills.


  5. Helpful (14)

    "Behind the Times and Slow to Catch Up"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in McLean, VA

    Pros

    --Job security, especially in an uncertain economy
    --Great benefits, including pension with employer contributions
    --Good work/life balance
    --Opportunities to do different jobs and kinds of work, including living and working overseas
    --Training and travel opportunities
    --Well-educated and smart colleagues

    Cons

    --Mediocre and unprofessional management
    --Bureaucratic mindset among analysts and managers
    --Obsession with "chasing the news" and little focus on real analysis
    --Satisfied with mediocre written products
    --Closed-minded and unwilling to consider new and different ideas
    --A good ten years behind the times in utilizing new technologies and processes for the general workforce

    Advice to Management

    --Stop rewarding and promoting managers who only care about looking good to their seniors and reward and promote managers who strive to develop their analysts
    --Train analysts to be generalists first and specialists second; too many analysts are so focused on the trees that they don't see the forest, which probably will result in another big intelligence failure


  6. Helpful (9)

    "Wonderful, if you like strange bedfellows"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at CIA full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great skim of money possibilities.

    Cons

    Narcotics trafficking....Hidden agendas, restrictive management


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Great stepping stone, not good for long-term"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Analyst in McLean, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at CIA full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great people, great learning experience, exposure to different aspects of this world is very enlightening. The agency promotes training which is great.

    Cons

    Hard to get promoted, salary does not match duties and performance, hard to get past the red tape to take advantage of the different opportunities. Management lacks consistency is the guidance they give personnel on career development.

    Advice to Management

    Restructure how promotion panels are conducted, utilize individuals' talents, acknowledge and compensate personnel for their hard work, innovative ideas and contribution to the mission.

  8. Helpful (7)

    "Jaded and Burnt Out"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great mission tackling the most pressing national security challenges. Great training and ability to manage early and often in your career if that is what you want.

    Cons

    Terrible management, completely drowning in bureaucratic red-tape to the detriment to the mission. Too many egos and one giant popularity contest.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the good 'ol boys club who protect each other and continue to act unethically to the detriment of the mission and the workforce.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Senior Ops Officer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Operations Officer in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Senior Operations Officer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at CIA (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    International travel, impactful work, full time language training, quality co-workers

    Cons

    Personal restrictions for travel, lack of access to technology, slow bureaucratic administrative processes

    Advice to Management

    Continue protecting the United States national security while also attempting to bring the CIA culture into the 21st century.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "It's OK"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at CIA (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Cool people, cool work, very interesting topics of work. Great mission.

    Cons

    Never get promoted (You had better LOVE the mission)

    Advice to Management

    Consider your technically trained, and cyber cadres - you had better start promoting them faster, or you will lose EVERYBODY to private sector. Oh wait, you already have!!!


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