US Department of State - Meh | Glassdoor
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Helpful (3)

"Meh"

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Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

I have been working at US Department of State (More than 8 years)

Pros

World travel, sometimes interesting issues

Cons

Stifling bureaucracy, broken promotion system, expectation of serving in Af/Pak/Iraq, a collection of massive egos. This place i great for people who really get off on being near powerful folks, but don't confuse that with making policy. You won't do anything more important than draft briefing memos or talking points until you've been there 20 years. Moving every 2-3 years is great when you're single, but when you've got a spouse and family it begins to get old after a decade or so. My kids don't know their grandparents.

Other Employee Reviews for US Department of State

  1. Helpful (11)

    "Should be a dream job, but the State Department lacks integrity"

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

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

    Pros

    The salary is great and you will have very unique learning experiences

    Cons

    I'd love to write a positive review, much as I would have loved to enjoy working in the US State Department after spending my entire life studying and training to be a Foreign Service Officer. As soon as I showed up for the A100 class, though, I was disgusted by the culture of politics and self promotion that permeates the department. When I got to post to do the work, I was astounded at the level of managerial incompetence. This is an institution that lacks the managerial skills to effectively manage its burdens, and lacks the integrity to address those deficiencies honestly. Instead of focusing on performing the job they're paid to do, officers focus uniformly on getting good written reviews from supervisors and building good "corridor reputations," by going along with managerial incompetence and aggressive politicking. I was astounded at just how much of an officer's work is spent on internal politics vs. doing the actual job. The culture is filled with unhappy people spending much of their work trying to figure out how to correct the mess they find, hide the problems they encounter so that they won't embarrass their managers, and politic around to get the next dream post in a far away land. It's tragic. Many officers pretend that the work "representing their country" makes up for the managerial shortfalls, but in my observations those shortfalls meant that we actually were often doing anything but the real work of out country or representing the US with integrity. The cons are balanced by the unique opportunities if you can stomach giving up integrity for politics, and the reality that you can save a lot of money in the job. Indeed, a lot of officers spend the bulk of their time figuring out how to game the system and earn more money and perks, which leads to yet more politics. The support services are often so overwhelmed that you have to do their job for them, and politic just to make sure things run smoothly. Everyone bends over backwards to help out people in positions of power, but everyone else has to push to make sure things get done. Fundamentally, the institution lacks integrity, which is tragic given how important it is and the consequences of its failures. The scandals you read about in the headlines are only the very tip of an iceberg, because State is very adept at "putting the needs of the service first" and getting officers to hide its dirty laundry in return for career opportunities.

    Advice to Management

    Replace the EER process with a real peer review. It is absurd that people work to make sure they have a good EER as opposed to achieve real results, and the EER process is widely abused and manipulated. The fact that an entire month is practically devoid of task work because officers are focused on the EER cycle says a lot about where priorities lie within the culture, and should be a point of shame. Implement opportunities for officers to expose incompetence and provide anonymous feedback other than the Dissent Channel, which is too high level for the many serious but mundane issues. Until State shows integrity in the way it manages its employees, for example by not abusing junior officers in visa tours, it won't fund much integrity amongst its officers. Which is a shame cause outside of the State system they are some very good people.


  2. "Comfortable"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    It is a comfortable place to work.

    Cons

    It will be difficult to implement your ideas.

There are newer employer reviews for US Department of State
There are newer employer reviews for US Department of State

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