Smithsonian Reviews in Washington, DC | Glassdoor

Smithsonian Washington DC Reviews

Updated February 20, 2017
108 reviews

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Washington, DC Area

3.6
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Smithsonian Secretary Dr. David J. Skorton
Dr. David J. Skorton
11 Ratings

108 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great work environment, friendly people, everyone loves to be there (in 9 reviews)

  • I have the fortune to work behind the scenes and with the public at the same time (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • Not many full time positions available (in 9 reviews)

  • Not much room for advancement if working in administrative field (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great institution, terrible mgmt"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time

    Pros

    Wonderful collections. True treasures. A one of a kind place to work in terms of its range of excellence in arts, science and research.

    Cons

    Management is not skilled in managing people. There are many demoralized employees. Also upper management seems very good at rewarding themselves but not those at other levels. The very highest levels of management are changing so maybe there is hope.


  2. "Worst employer ever; a new low"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Visitor Services in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Visitor Services in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Smithsonian full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    No pros in reality. I have nothing positive to say; except that I no longer work here.

    Cons

    Long hours in summer/ short or no hours in winter. Minimal pay.; no benefits until a certain number of hours is accrued ( and they make certain that that takes 3-4 years to occur) Incompetent , lazy,management; that treats employees with suspicion. HR is a joke. Little or no chance for promotion or job growth unless you meet the right "demographics" (under 30; preferably not a minority; or with a disability). Only bearable if you are a teen as a summer job that never makes it on your resume. You rarely even see an animal.

    Advice to Management

    They need to be more aware of allowing a better work-life balance since they do not offer decent compensation or benefits; Metro benefit would help immensely.Upper management should make department heads more accountable -many of them have been there too long and seem to skate by with minimal effort extended. They sorely need to overhaul their hiring practices- in the lower level jobs they have hired some (not all) of the most incompetent, lazy, rude, and plain mentally unstable people I have ever worked alongside. For any higher level position they need to actually open them to anyone qualified regardless of age, race or disability (as required by Federal law!). They would've been sued long ago; if employees didn't rather resign than bother.


  3. "Security is dangerously incompetent."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Museum Police Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Museum Police Officer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I suppose that it taking an act of god to get fired could be a pro. Maybe.

    Cons

    Years of poor hiring standards have resulted in Smithsonian's security division, "Office of Protection Services", being stuffed from the top down with people whose only work experience seems to be Smithsonian security. Most of the security managers are more concerned with keeping the staff happy than they are with actually ensuring the safety and security of the building. The organization is full of people being allowed to carry guns who have no business ever being allowed to touch one. There's no promotion potential unless you went to high school with someone in management.

    Advice to Management

    There's no saving OPS. Burn it down and start from scratch.


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  5. "Photographer/ Supervisor"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sharp Shooter Photographer & Sales Associate in Manassas, VA
    Former Employee - Sharp Shooter Photographer & Sales Associate in Manassas, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Smithsonian (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Was nice meeting new people, taking photos, and editing pictures all day.
    nice environment being located inside the air and space museum.

    Cons

    low pay. management is terrible, the higher up's don't care about there employee's. possibly the worst company you can work for because you don't move up.


  6. "Smithsonian Security"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Museum Police Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Museum Police Officer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The benefits are solid and it's guaranteed work. If you're working the day shift, the transit benefit covers commuting quite handily.

    Cons

    There's a massive list of problems. There is little to no hope of advancement if you didn't grow up in DC, OPS is a hardcore ole boys network, the union is a bad joke, SI staff are often actively hostile to anyone in a job that doesn't require a Masters Degree (Especially at the art museums). Frequent mandatory double shifts due to 2nd and 3rd shift being stacked with people who don't feel the need to show up for work, but have been around for too long to make getting rid of them an option.

    Advice to Management

    OPS is a lost cause. Remove EVERYONE at the Lieutenant level and above and work from there.


  7. "Review"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Analyst (Contractor) in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Program Analyst (Contractor) in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Smithsonian (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great Staff (non-management), education, access to some of the best museums in the world. The educational experience is like no other place in the U.S.

    Cons

    Limited Advancement, limited growth, compensation not equivalent or commensurate with experience. GS grade levels are low for the level of work performed.


  8. "Not worth your energy!!!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Retail Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Retail Associate in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time

    Pros

    Co workers and metro transportation paid monthly.

    Cons

    No appropriate raise according to your hard work. For example (literally) would be getting a raise of 15 cents or less. No family life balance. No respect. Favoritism. Discriminatory with regard to race, maternity and age. Late night shifts. Working company events and staying late shifts until 10pm and getting home at 11pm or later and scheduled and early shift the following day.

    Advice to Management

    ....no need to waste my time and energy with advice that won't be taken into consideration or more importantly advice that is never followed with an action.


  9. "Smithsonian Theater Host"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Theater Host in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Theater Host in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    You get to work in a world class museum and watch interesting IMAX films. You also get to work interesting museum events

    Cons

    The pay is not good and the work is boring at times. Supervisor treat their staff like little children and can be condescending at times.

    Advice to Management

    Show staff a little more respect


  10. "15 years middle manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Technical in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Smithsonian full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Amazing opportunities to work on global projects and collaborate with internationally celebrated artists and scholars.
    Good benefits and some great colleagues.

    Cons

    senior management disconnect from reality. Serious organizational flaws. Senior level bureaucrats get promoted to positions they cannot perform. Lousy pay


  11. "I wouldn't reccomend .."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Smithsonian as an intern (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Learn practical work experience
    -No security check for museum access

    Cons

    -Upper management needs major improvement
    -No opportunities for career growth and development
    -Office politics are at play for sure here
    -Under qualified supervisors

    Advice to Management

    Listen to employees and offer opportunities to interns



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