National Gallery of Art - Current Employee | Glassdoor
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"Current Employee"

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Current Employee - Security Guard in Washington, DC
Current Employee - Security Guard in Washington, DC

I have been working at National Gallery of Art full-time (More than 8 years)

Pros

Great Environment, Great knowledgeable Co-Workers, Professional Management

Cons

There are no cons to any position at the National Gallery of Art

Other Employee Reviews for National Gallery of Art

  1. Helpful (1)

    "A place where lies come to light, and employee moral is at rock bottom"

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

    I worked at National Gallery of Art (More than a year)

    Pros

    -Free uniforms
    -Get paid to do nothing all day (Seriously)
    -interaction with visitors from across the country/world
    -All the overtime you could ever want (due to extreme shortage of staff, will get to that in a cons)
    -The building is located right across the street from the metro, and free parking in the garage on weekends
    -Some free staff events

    Cons

    Warning, this might be a ridiculously long con list but for anyone considering the security guard position (or SPO, or police officer position, or really anything having to do with AOP) read below. This doesn't reflect the other departments, though AFM is just as bad as AOP.

    -Extremely (EXTREMELY) high turn over rate.
    I came in with a group of 10 people, only 2 of us are left. The reason for this, is that moral is practically in the toilet. The only thing that's keeping the security force alive are the legacy employees. By legacy employees I mean people that's been GS-5 S10 for the last 30-40 years (I'm not joking) who refuse to retire, and is just waiting for that heart attack to take them out. For every one person they hire, about three resign a week or two later.

    -Extremely low moral/unqualified supervisors
    Upper management are hardcore conservatives. Their attitude is pretty much "As long as I get my 20k bonus (again, not joking, the last chief got a 20k bonus for retiring. And he still works for the department as a consultant) i don't care how staff moral is." When the new chief took over, he promised pretty much everything over the sun, only for nothing to happen. Most of the supervisors only got positions because of inner-work scandals, and time at the gallery.

    -You will never have weekends off (unless you decide to stay for a very, very long time)

    -Constant street closures on the weekend effect drivability to the garage on the weekends, garage is also on a 1st come 1st serve.

    -Ridiculous micro-management
    Your job is to literally stand in 1-2 rooms all day (about the size of a studio) and watch people watch artwork. It gets boring. Really boring. So to add some entertainment for upper management, supervisors will come around to your galleries to try and find you doing something wrong. Wether your foot is 1inch outside your gallery, or your standing in one spot to long, it seriously doesn't matter. You don't win, and what makes it worse is that, they have a system in place where if your wrote up, they don't have to tell you about it that day. You can be wrote up one day and get called into the office a few months later. (OPM would have a ball with this)

    -Using sick leave is looked down upon highly. Wether it's call-outs or scheduling, management will be up in your case about it.

    -Extremely short breaks
    Short breaks work excellent in office environments or generally any job where your constantly busy. It does not work for a job where you literally do nothing all day. After the first month or so you will seriously question your sanity.

    -Crazy, Religious, downright disgruntled employees
    Some coworkers are good, awesome people who are retired military, police, or just transitioning from the military. But the vast majority are extremely disgruntled. What makes it worse, is that security is looked down on by practically every other department. Other departments will outright just walk past you without saying a word, even if you say "hello", or "good-morning".

    -Long periods of standing/no chairs
    Again, standing is not bad when your on your feet all day and MOVING AROUND. However 90% of the time you will be assigned a small room where you'll walk in circles all day. Most of the rooms could have a stool or a chair, however according to upper management, it looks unprofessional. (Mind you, the average guard is obese and can barley fit in their uniform)

    -communication is extremely bad
    People constantly hot-mic the radios, and there's constant static all the time

    -Promotional potential doesn't exist
    Spots are just held for other people. We've had officers leave to other places, and come back and retain their exact same position just because they knew someone.

    -Low starting pay
    Doesn't matter how many years of experience you have, they will try to low ball you and start you off as a step 1. We've had retired military officers and police lieutenants start off as a GS5 S1.

    -Uniforms
    Horrible fit, when you try and get uniforms fixed our amazing supply personal does nothing to help. Dry cleaning is free, but be prepared to lose a good majority of your uniforms.

    -favoritism

    The sad part is, this is just an extremely small fraction of it. The older employees call this place the last plantation, and I personally didn't get what they meant until I started working here for a while. It's bad, really bad. My only advice is that, if you take this job, start putting in applications as soon as possible.

    Advice to Management

    No advice, management is all over the place


  2. "3.5 stars would be more accurate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at National Gallery of Art full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The NGA is a wonderful place to work but you will deal with some issues along the way. On one hand, you are working at the nation’s art museum, in a beautiful building, with an amazing collection. This is no small thing and shouldn’t be discounted – it is easy to take it for granted after a while. Most of the people are great, too (keyword: most). Projects are big and collaborative and enjoyable. It does add a certain level of clout to your resume, and you will be a great dinner party guest because everyone will want to talk to you about your cool job. Benefits are good – standard federal stuff with some extra little perks thrown in like a discount at the Sculpture Garden ice rink and food/drink at Jazz in the Garden.

    Cons

    On the other hand, the place has some real issues. I encountered ageism and sexism in my time there. If you are under the age of 40, certain people will treat you like a child no matter your capabilities. There is a group of higher-ups who run the show and are extremely reluctant to give up an ounce of power to anyone else, which then results in power struggles for everyone else beneath them. Like any other institution within the federal government, you will encounter people who do not do their jobs efficiently, for various “reasons.” I do suspect this problem is milder here than in the major federal agencies though. There is a distinct fear of change, typical of many conservative institutions. There are a lot of entry level jobs, and a lot of upper management, without much in the middle. This means you often have to move out to move up. Nepotism / favoritism is another rampant problem. All of these things just become very frustrating to be around day in and day out. However, your experience will likely vary greatly by department / manager.

    Advice to Management

    Somehow, despite all of that, I think the NGA is heading in a good direction. There has been some movement toward modernizing and embracing digital initiatives, which is great. And they do seem to be taking some steps to at least think about employee satisfaction. Many department heads and managers are at or nearing retirement age, and I have hope that they will be replaced by people who are willing to enact positive change. It could be a very different place in 5-10 years if they hire strategically – and I mean that in a good way.

There are newer employer reviews for National Gallery of Art
There are newer employer reviews for National Gallery of Art

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