Smithsonian Reviews | Glassdoor

Smithsonian Reviews

Updated May 26, 2019

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Found 224 reviews

3.7
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
65%
Recommend to a Friend
83%
Approve of CEO
Smithsonian CEO Dr. David J. Skorton
Dr. David J. Skorton
51 Ratings
Pros
  • "20 percent off from museum cafes, gift shops(in 48 reviews)

  • "Museums, collections and research(in 18 reviews)

Cons
  • "Spent a long time simply teaching you a lot about the museum but this is useless to the actual job(in 18 reviews)

  • "Most people ahead of you are in full time permanent positions(in 11 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Amazing place to work!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Support, active participation, creativity, intelligent and caring people

    Cons

    No cons. I loved my time with the Smithsonian. Sometimes bureaucratic culture can block creativity but this comes from the top.

    Smithsonian2019-04-20
  2. "Decent place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Security Officer 
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    It's a federal job with decent benefits. Decent people to work with

    Cons

    It's not a Monday through Friday job. The days off are primarily during the week. It takes like 6 weeks to get weekends off. It's not all bad

    Smithsonian2019-05-20
  3. "Disappointing place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Programmer Analyst in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Excellent benefits, Holidays off, academic invigorating talent on the research side

    Cons

    Terrible leadership at the senior level. Directors are unchecked and unmanaged. Unskilled in building and nurturing teams for future relevance of the Institution.

    Advice to Management

    Promote those who have been trained in leadership at the Institution.

    Smithsonian2019-05-26
  4. "Nothing Will Change"

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

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time

    Pros

    Nice prestige, great objects, occasional perks, some great people.

    Cons

    Broken culture with caste system means a lot of staff works themselves to the bone for little money with no job security while upper-level staff shovel the work down but take the glory.

    Advice to Management

    Hire people with the skills to fulfill the museum's mission and not just curatorial staff that don't do museum work. I will always remember picking up a memo from the 1980s where a person in a support role wrote "I will never understand how my dream job turned into such a nightmare" — and I doubt it will ever change. Hence the title.

    Smithsonian2019-04-10
  5. "government, get ready to do the job twice"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Media Specialist 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Smithsonian part-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    good quality of life, PTO

    Cons

    not a meritocracy, long-time government employees who have never worked anywhere else are threatened by outsiders with competency, government bureaucracy at its worst, don't play from the bench,

    Advice to Management

    too many upper managers who don't respect the non-management employees that actually do things instead of go to meetings

    Smithsonian2019-04-06
  6. "Great Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time

    Pros

    Great benefits, strong management, everyone believes and is passionate about the Smithsonian

    Cons

    Old school type of office. Does not have the benefits that new companies today have. Ex; team outings, company sponsored events, etc

    Smithsonian2019-03-05
  7. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
      Former Employee - Lab Technician 

      I worked at Smithsonian full-time

      Pros

      Awesome environment, and great people

      Cons

      Labs are a little competitive for services

      Smithsonian2019-03-05
    • "Fabulous mission, sad standard Federal policies"

      StarStarStarStarStar
      • Work/Life Balance
      • Culture & Values
      • Career Opportunities
      • Compensation and Benefits
      • Senior Management
      Former Employee - Education Consultant in Washington, DC
      Recommends
      Positive Outlook
      Approves of CEO

      I worked at Smithsonian full-time for more than a year

      Pros

      Amazing people and collections throughout the SI family.

      Cons

      Federal policies inhibit innovation and long range goals for the organization.

      Advice to Management

      Lead by the principles the Institution is founded upon.

      Smithsonian2019-02-28
    • "Great place to work (trust employee)!"

      StarStarStarStarStar
      • Work/Life Balance
      • Culture & Values
      • Career Opportunities
      • Compensation and Benefits
      • Senior Management
      Current Employee - Biological Science Laboratory Technician in Washington, DC
      Recommends
      Positive Outlook
      Approves of CEO

      I have been working at Smithsonian full-time for more than a year

      Pros

      Like-minded colleagues, competitive benefits (medical, dental, vision, life) package, excellent 12% employer contribution (no matching!) retirement plan for trust employees, laid-back work atmosphere, availability of professional development workshops/trainings, flexible working schedules (compressed, teleworking, etc.) can be negotiated, all Federal holidays off, commuter and transit benefit subsidy, commuter bicycle...

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      Cons

      Entry-level salary ($37,113; grade 5, step 1, DC area) could be much better; while the trust employee pay scale is equal to the Federal GS pay scale, trust employees are not necessarily subject to same regular grade/step increases that Federal employees have; trust employees not eligible for the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) which is better overall than the trust employee retirement program; less job stability...

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      Smithsonian2019-02-15
    • "Intern & Contractor"

      StarStarStarStarStar
        Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 

        I worked at Smithsonian

        Pros

        Quality training and education, plus a real sense of responsibility.

        Cons

        Didn’t really know what to expect day to day.

        Smithsonian2019-02-01
      Found 224 reviews