US Department of Commerce Reviews | Glassdoor

US Department of Commerce Reviews

Updated May 21, 2017
145 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

145 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Most managers tend to avoid stepping on toes, which means that ambitious ideas often do not get anywhere unless the political appointees buy in (in 5 reviews)

  • Limited Pipeline to full-time jobs (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    A very Telework friendly environment

    Cons

    The technology is fragmented but senior leadership is actively working to improve.


  2. "Welcome to the 1980s"

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

    Pros

    There is lots of office space (even junior people may have their own)
    Beautiful location
    Metro accessible

    Cons

    IT infrastructure is complete garbage
    Disparate IT infrastructure means that some bureaus are using different (and incompatible) commodity IT that makes communicating across bureaus difficult
    Uninspiring and unintelligent management
    Lack of unbiased promotion opportunities
    Information necessary to do your job usually requires a lengthy hunt (or accidentally enraging people who happen to have it)
    I imagine this must be what employees of the Republic felt like in Star Wars. Every bureau has its own policies and procedures, and central management tends to not set consistent policy, but rather say "I don't control that."

    Advice to Management

    You should all quit. There are so many levels within the hierarchy.


  3. "International Trade Administration"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - International Trade Specialist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - International Trade Specialist in Washington, DC
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at US Department of Commerce full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Travel opportunities, the chance to work with great folks at overseas Embassies, interesting work on industry and government projects.

    Cons

    Senior Management gets worse by the day.

    Advice to Management

    Leave.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "I loved working at this agency. The topics were interesting and the people were very sharp."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Director in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at US Department of Commerce full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    staff, issues, dedication to mission

    Cons

    bureacracy, slow process, office space was depressing.


  6. "Worked with strong,responsible people from diverse backgrounds."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Field Operations Supervisor for 2010 Census in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Field Operations Supervisor for 2010 Census in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at US Department of Commerce full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I developed many valuable skills and was able to advance in a short period of time. I made some strong connections personally and professionally. It is too bad the position was short term. If available for the 2020 Census, I will apply for this position again.

    Cons

    Some aspects of the job were mundane. It was difficult to fill all positions required to get the job done. There were certain hiring mandates that made it difficult to be efficient.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Entering into federal service from a (lengthy) private sector background - a tough jump."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Foreign Commercial Officer in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Foreign Commercial Officer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Department of Commerce full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Stability: Once you're in, with very few exceptions, you can pretty much have a job for life...without really accomplishing anything. Since most staff write their own performance reviews (and in my case, my bosses review of my performance and his bosses review of my performance...) anyone can appear to be a star-- with no real accountability. Yes, this same commentary could (and probably should) be read as a "con".

    Cons

    Bureaucracy (whether at Commerce or probably any other federal agency) stifles initiative, drive and creativity. In fact, the environment in the federal government is such that mediocrity is not only cultivated, it is celebrated! A truly motivated person, with a creative, dynamic entrepreneur's attitude and motivation will rather rapidly find the environment suffocating.

    We had a phrase in my agency that went something like this: "Praise for the guilty, blame for the innocent and promotions for the non-involved!". It may seem humorous, but it's sadly very true.

    Advice to Management

    If you're a political appointee, good for you (nice resume builder) -- but please, please stay the hell out of the way of the career professionals. Enjoy your office, go to nice lunches and move quietly on, without attempting to leave your "legacy".


  8. "Depends where you rank & if your the favored diverse employee"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Statistical Clerk in Jeffersonville, IN
    Current Employee - Statistical Clerk in Jeffersonville, IN
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Department of Commerce part-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Pay is not too bad. Its better depending on classification. Apparently if your a "Career employee" GS 5 /6 or better, you matter, otherwise a peon to be stepped on or not as much. They encourage people to use Mass Transit. They encourage you to contribute. You can submit ideas in a formal process. I have received several buttons as "awards".

    Cons

    Absolutely no benefits if your classified "Intermittent", even if you work 37 1/2 hrs a week. supposedly we hire from within, but I have been stuck for 8 years even though been given numerous awards. Mass Transit typical commute is 2 hrs each way.If I drove, I'd be home within 30 minutes. Some managers are just phoning it in & if you pass on good ideas, it goes in the trash. You can submit an idea for formal review, of adopted, you used to get prizes, premiums or even got monetary awards. Now you get a button.

    Advice to Management

    How about make promotions totally blind to quotas. How about doing something more appropriate than a button.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Mixed"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - International Trade Compliance Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - International Trade Compliance Analyst in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Department of Commerce full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    A chance to get great experience internationally, make good contacts, depending on the specific agency. Your experience is largely dependent on your immediate 1-2 supervisors. Colleagues are generally very good.

    Cons

    Upper management is clueless and doesn't care. "The Emperor's New Clothes" is an apt analogy for most managers above the unit/office level, and Dilbert too often reads like an e-mail from an upper management's office.

    Advice to Management

    The current crop is beyond saving.


  10. "Secure and decent benefits, but lacking in vision and mission"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Export Compliance Specialist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Export Compliance Specialist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Department of Commerce full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Decent salary, 40 hours/week, good benefits, flexible schedule

    Cons

    Real leadership is not stressed in the US government as far as I've seen. There is no competition thus few incentives to innovate.

    Advice to Management

    Read anything by John Maxwell. Create a vision and get people behind it. Grow your leaders. Invest in relationships. Give people a reason for coming to work other than just to hit their metrics and collect a pay check.


  11. "Census Employee"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Field Representative in Fort Washington, MD
    Former Employee - Field Representative in Fort Washington, MD
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Department of Commerce part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Working on your own initiative. Excellent computer equipment. 95 percent of job is outside so you get fresh air and are not stuck behind a desk.

    Cons

    Driving to different locations was stressful. Immediate supervisor not very helpful.


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