U.S. Department of State Reviews | Glassdoor

U.S. Department of State Reviews

Updated November 30, 2018
930 reviews

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3.8
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U.S. Department of State Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo
25 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "The management i very flexible and understanding for work life balance" (in 42 reviews)

  • "You get opportunities to see the world, to be involved in policy decisions, and occasionally to work on high-profile issues with high-level people" (in 32 reviews)

Cons
  • "Having a work/life balance is a major challenge" (in 35 reviews)

  • "No opportunities to join if not foreign service" (in 62 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Intern
    Current Employee - Intern
    Recommends

    Pros

    Great environment, really get to do projects that really impact your specific office's day to day operations.

    Cons

    Really no Cons about working in the State Department.


  2. "Great if you have a family, want to travel, and have a super stable job"

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

    I have been working at U.S. Department of State full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Incredible benefits such as free (huge) housing based on family size, kindergarden through 12th grade education at international schools paid for by the employer, and employment opportunities for spouses.
    Most roles have very little overtime if any.
    You get to travel to and live in many places around the world.

    Cons

    Always having to move every two years.
    You WILL get sent to places with less than ideal living conditions and sometimes even war zones.
    Separation from family when posted in dangerous locations (usually 1 year).
    Very slow career progression (at least 25 years to become an ambassador, likely to a small country).
    Low base salary in the long term. You will max out at around $200k after 30+ years.
    Benefits are completely useless if you're young and single.

    Advice to Management

    Allow for more regional specialization and set up specialized career tracks. The worldwide availability system discourages talented people with focus on one geographic region from joining. Those who do join sometimes separate from the service when assigned to posts they have no interest in.

  3. "good for the right person"

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

    Pros

    excellent salary and benefits, paid accomodations overseas

    Cons

    workign in war zones. getting dengue, malaria and weird poop diseases. workign in DC in this administration

    Advice to Management

    QDDR


  4. "Great Benefit Job, People not so much"

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

    I have been working at U.S. Department of State full-time

    Pros

    Good Benefits, and lots of opportunities to serve.

    Cons

    Some people should not be hired, Salary not quite sufficient for the Area


  5. "Great place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at U.S. Department of State full-time

    Pros

    Many, mostly the great people.

    Cons

    There's a lot of paperwork.


  6. "Assistant Director"

    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

    I have been working at U.S. Department of State full-time

    Pros

    Variety of job options, ability to help the public

    Cons

    Ever changing management and goals


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Decent starting salary"

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

    I worked at U.S. Department of State full-time

    Pros

    There is room for growth. You are able to move from one department to another easily if you have a good manager.

    Cons

    Even though there is room to grow, but you have to deal with racism. Growth is only there if you have a good manager/supervisor, not someone who is racist and discriminate against people based on whether or not the person has a bachelor`s degree or less than that.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Strong values, uneven implementation"

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

    I have been working at U.S. Department of State full-time

    Pros

    You represent the United States and our values to the world.

    Cons

    Parochial culture, much like the military, that rewards those who have come up in the system from a young age. It is not an ideal mid-career move if you have skills and talents you are eager to use. Virtually no training or career development, aside from languages. You must also endure a 2- or 3-month internal bidding process every 2-3 years to compete for positions you are interested in. It's ridden with bias and subjectivity. There is also a lack of ethnic diversity.

    Advice to Management

    Manage talent and skills more effectively. The Foreign Service has developed an army of generalists who know a little about everything, but are not able to specialize or use their existing skills well.


  9. "Director of Customer Service"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director of Customer Service in Dulles, VA
    Current Employee - Director of Customer Service in Dulles, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at U.S. Department of State full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    housing benefit; no monthly bills; security; retirement benefit

    Cons

    An environment that doesn't award employees who introduce new and more efficient ways of thinking and innovative ideas

    Advice to Management

    Management officers themselves need to get training on disruptive strategies and be up to date with newer more efficient platforms.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Sounds more interesting than it is..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Economic Officer; Foreign Affairs Officer in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Economic Officer; Foreign Affairs Officer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at U.S. Department of State full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    State Department officials are right in the middle of some historic events and the work environment tends to be intellectually stimulating.

    Cons

    The State Department is enormous, so it's difficult to generalize, but in my experience, the actual work can be unfulfilling. And as an institution State felt archaic and reactionary.