Peace Corps Reviews | Glassdoor

Peace Corps Reviews

Updated September 18, 2017
20 reviews

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Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet
Carrie Hessler-Radelet
6 Ratings

20 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Life-changing experience, ability to learn a new language (in 43 reviews)

  • Life changing experience you can't get anywhere else (in 37 reviews)

Cons
More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Peace Corps - Being a PCV Is Great - Working at HQ Can Be an Less Great"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Country Desk Officer
    Current Employee - Country Desk Officer

    Pros

    The mission of the agency is in theory well-intentioned. The line workers at the agency headquarters are usually nice people, mostly RPCVs.

    Cons

    Management positions are largely political appointees (there are nearly thirty of them).

    Advice to Management

    Re-evaluate some of the ancient practices at HQ (some things seem to be based on processes defined in the 1960s and 70s).


  2. "Stressful Environment of Office of Budget Analysis"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Office Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Office Assistant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Peace Corps as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Work with lots of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who are passionate about their experiences, and always have a good story to tell.
    -Some cool special events and guest speakers from local and international government officials.

    Cons

    -Extremely stressful government position dealing with possible furloughs and constantly shrinking budget
    -Stale environment on financial floor

    Advice to Management

    Other offices seem to have a lot more fun, but in OBA it was extremely boring, uninteresting and stressful.

  3. "TEFL TEACHER AND TRAINER"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teacher in Winter Park, FL
    Former Employee - Teacher in Winter Park, FL
    Recommends

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great cross-cultural experience and way to learn a language. Builds confidence. Work with wide range of demographics. Great way to present American culture through who you and from your perspective. Depending on host country nationals to help you integrate is necessary. Developing new ways to solve problems will happen in a de eloping country. Making life long friends with other Peace Corps workers will be valuable. Relationships with youth will continue after your service. Interesting and funny stories will be told.

    Cons

    We were promised to work towards our TEFL certificate while in service but it did not start until the group that followed us. Many employers in America do not highly value the Peace Corps experience after service. Very few people are interested in your telling about your experience when you return. Transitioning back into the US is very challenging and there is a period of depression. Figuring out what to do after Peace Corps was perplexing to get a full time job and do meaningful work. Experiencing a small community connection in my country was deeply missed and hard to cultivate when I returned to US to my city. I felt a bit lost when I returned like I didn't belong in the US. I was disgusted by all the extravagance in the US after seeing so much poverty in my country. Things are so complicated and much more expensive in the US and when I returned, I didn't want to shop mega stores. I was used to walking everywhere in my country but I am back transportation on my US city was so spread out and inconvenient not to mention more expensive than in my country. It was a huge adjustment to return to America after service. I had to be willing to find a job in another city or state from where I lived.

    Advice to Management

    I think that in the last three months of service, there should be a lot of coaching by senior staff to deal with depression, setting goals for the future, and resume rewriting especially if you are changing careers. Make the C 127 medical forms for authorization for medical issues that still need attention after service to be processed electronically so you don't have to pay and then file. The providers I called for Seven Corners in my city do not want to accept the C 127s. I couldn't take care of my medical issues because it was so complicated and too expensive for me to pay first.


  4. "Volunteer"

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

    Pros

    Excellent language training, once-in-a-lifetime experience, amazing way to see the world and impact the people of a developing nation.You will gain a perspective that will impact you for the rest of your life.

    Cons

    Safety and security, more specifically, sexual harassment is a ubiquitous fact of life for a female peace corps volunteer. Your body will age and will be subject to many illnesses. The language you will learn is more than likely not going to be useful to you after PC.


  5. "Ratings are skewed - Staff versus Volunteers=drastically different experiences"

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

    Pros

    The mission - bar none - there cannot possibly be another government agency where staff are so passionate about the mission of their agency. Volunteers are doing great work.

    However, Glass Door ratings are skewed for the Peace Corps, as Volunteers do not have any context for what it is like to work at HQ or perhaps even the challenges experienced by staff at a post. Most Volunteers would say that being a PCV is an amazing experience.

    Cons

    Many staff would say that the Peace Corps lacks any institutional memory, it's too bureaucratic while (surprisingly) also has no real clear procedures or guidelines on how to do anything. Everything is fly by night, make it up, do it until someone tells you not to do it.

    There are so many damn political appointees who are horribly, miserably under qualified to do the jobs they are "appointed" to do. There is an appointee in charge of almost every office and many more within those offices.

    Leadership is weak and dysfunctional - lacking any real strategy or vision. (There is some diagram that is supposed to represent the vision but it's laughable with no clear articulation of what it means and how it applies to each office or how to implement it). Leaderships solutions to debilitating issues and problems are grossly inadequate and have solved nothing. Leadership is out of touch with how offices actually operate.

    Internal communication no longer exists. Departments operate as political fiefdoms of the political appointee in charge of it. Desires of an individual office trump overarching Agency needs.

    You'll hear a lot of talk about more reforms than ever before - but that's just rhetoric as there is no real evidence. The management in the next administration will have their hands full repairing all of the processes that have become broken in the last few years (and undoing some of those "reforms")

    Advice to Management

    Stand up to the White House - tell them to stop sending appointees (or at least make sure they are experienced and qualified).

    Have the next administration reduce the number of political appointees. At the very least, do not retain the current appointees.


  6. "Cuerpo de Paz (Peace Corps!)"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Advisor in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Advisor in New York, NY
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Quite the growing up experience. Peace Corps will challenge you - mentally, physically. You'll really discover who you are in all types of situations.

    Cons

    Safety was a bit of a concern. I spoke elementary spanish and was sent out the furthest from Peace Corps headquarters. My site was very dangerous to get into - no roads, cliffsides w out barriers, landslides, etc. Surprised they had sent me there in all honesty. But, happy I spent my time in central america w out incident. Best advice I can give someone is to be safe! Although the risk is well worth the reward, you are still traveling to another country w poverty, violence, disease, etc. Be smart!!


  7. "Institutional Development Advisor"

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

    Pros

    Good health benefits
    Impactful Work
    Freedom to start, develop, and manage your own programs and projects
    You get to travel to unique places

    Cons

    Not enough support from admin staff
    Poor partner vetting
    Terrible vacation policy
    Treated very poorly if you decide to leave (no matter what the reason is)

    Advice to Management

    If you want better volunteer retention rates, you have to look at the failures of the in-country management. You have a tendency to blame volunteer failures solely on the volunteers themselves, while ignoring some very significant management failures. The first day I arrived at my organization the Executive Director said to me, "I didn't request a volunteer. I don't want a volunteer. This must have been a request submitted years ago by my predecessor." That is a terrible way to start a two year program.

  8. "Fulfilling work but horrible admin support"

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

    Pros

    The work and the people you meet will be amazing

    Cons

    Admin does not care about the wellbeing of volunteers. We are stats on paper that need to look good. It's all about liability for them and they will dump you without question to protect themselves.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "The toughest job you'll ever, er, tolerate."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer in San Joaquín, Guanacaste (Costa Rica)
    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer in San Joaquín, Guanacaste (Costa Rica)
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    -Gives you unparalleled insights into another culture.
    - I made a lot of friends (host country nationals and other volunteers).
    - Allowed me to travel around Central America.

    Cons

    -I didn't feel like my site was adequately vetted before I got there.
    -Lack of clear job or mission.
    -Unsupported by PC staff when I had problems at my site.
    -The blame the volunteer mentality demonstrated by most of the staff.
    -Extremely rigid rules.

    Advice to Management

    Do a better job of vetting sites and defining a volunteer's role before they get to their sites.
    Create a more supportive atmosphere for solving volunteer problems.
    Realize that most volunteer "bad behavior" is caused by the extreme stress we are confronted with.


  10. "It' not the Peace Corps. It's the TEACH ENGLISH OVERSEAS CAUSE YOU CAN'T GET A REAL JOB AT HOME CORPS!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Youth Advisor in Baku (Azerbaijan)
    Former Employee - Youth Advisor in Baku (Azerbaijan)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Living in a country, learning a few critical languages, perfect if you've got a degree and can't find a job, great reason to travel. The glamor factor of the name because the outside world is clueless.

    Cons

    A written mission but ineffective when it comes to development work. We are NOT development workers. It's not all that it use to be. Forget using Peace Corps to get a decent job but looks great for graduate school. It's a shabby organization that has no clear direction. The sexual assault for women is outrageous and people come home with illnesses they can't get rid of. You often find yourself bored. Waste of time in hinde sight. Peace Corps has been around for 50+ years and are any countries that we serve in better? Think hard before you join. It's not all that is cracked up to be.

    Advice to Management

    Set clear cut goals. Slash the amount of time volunteers need to be in country. Put volunteers in a place where real impact can happen. I won't happen at the top up. Add nutritionist and psychiatrist to your medical staff.


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