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Smithsonian Reviews

Updated January 11, 2018
171 reviews

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171 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Most people ahead of you are in full time permanent positions (in 10 reviews)

  • As a contractor the taxes you have to pay are terrible, plus no benefits (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Good, but not much growth"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time

    Pros

    People here are incredibly passionate about their jobs.

    Cons

    I don't think that I could spend my whole career here.


  2. "Public Events Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Smithsonian part-time

    Pros

    Great co-workers, fun work and interesting events

    Cons

    must have flexible schedule, weekend work is expected

  3. "Poor Poor Leadership"

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

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time

    Pros

    Love Hate Relationship with the Smithsonian as well.

    Cons

    The Smithsonian's higher level leadership has absolutely no accountability. They are poorly trained, if they have the title they are pandered to shamelessly, they don not have a 21st century skillset to lead and manage highly functioning teams. The Institution has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars training the ranks between grades 11-14 preparing them for higher level leadership as the old guard hangs on and when there are opportunities to promote they hire from the outside , don't support staff succession and disenfranchise those who can move the Institution forward. It's a dead sea for real growth.

    Advice to Management

    None, its a waste of energy


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Lots of co-workers, but they're all great"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time

    Pros

    -I was allowed to ease into my position and not have a bunch of work dumped on me at the start

    -I was given opportunities to do more than my job description (in a good way)

    -My co-workers were a funny, open, supportive, non-passive-aggressive group

    Cons

    -I wasn't used to working in such a huge organization, so it took some time to get used to having 500 or so co-workers.


  5. "Smithsonian Gardens Intern"

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

    I worked at Smithsonian (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Great learning opportunities
    -Professional and knowledgeable co-workers
    -Beautiful gardens
    -Great city to work and live in

    Cons

    -Cost of living is high in Washington, D.C.


  6. "awesome"

    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

    20 percent off from museum cafes, gift shops. Free imax movies in museum. awesome place with awesome people

    Cons

    for some in the heart of DC so parking literally doesnt exist

    Advice to Management

    already doing an awesome job


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Great Mission, Great Collections, Great People, Not So Great Leadership"

    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
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Amazing collections and programs that attract huge and grateful audiences. A known and trusted brand name.

    Cons

    A lot of the museum directors are egotistical people looking to further their own careers, and don't seem dedicated to Smithsonian as a whole. The new Secretary has turned out to be quite charming, but provides underwhelming leadership and direction. The new strategic plan is a jumble of meaningless catchphrases.

    Advice to Management

    Do more to unite the Smithsonian as one organization with one voice. Recognize and promote the talent you have on hand.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Love/Hate Relationship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IT Manager in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - IT Manager in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I love the Smithsonian. The mission, the collections, the locations are truly world-class. The cache of working at the Smithsonian makes you blush at parties. The public loves SI. The work we do often makes a difference in many people's lives. We are the official cultural institution of the US, and also perform a tremendous amount of scientific research. It's really a magical place (some days).

    Cons

    I hate the Smithsonian. We're poor and filled with a large cadre of long term federal employees who checked out decades ago. Some of the worst managers I have ever worked with, who haven't updated their style since 1963. Management by fear and discrimination, promotes friends and suppresses those who actually perform work. Promotion? Dream on. People sacrifice their health for the institution with some literally dying in the office from stress. There is no accountability or repercussions for managers.

    Advice to Management

    Please offer an early out and get the old timers out of the building. Many of them are a waste of good air (and my tax dollars).


  9. "Great mission, good people"

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

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time

    Pros

    Mission is essential and makes the work worthwhile. Smart, dedicated employees.

    Cons

    Budgets are very slim, hiring is very slow. Interdepartmental politics slow everything down.


  10. "Media and Technology Assistant"

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

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time

    Pros

    Great people, exceptional cause, interesting work

    Cons

    Cost of living, commute time, somewhat stuffy


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