US Department of State Reviews in Arlington, VA | Glassdoor

US Department of State Arlington Reviews

Updated May 16, 2017
26 reviews

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Arlington, VA

3.6
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US Department of State Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Rex Tillerson
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26 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • work/life balance; very formal culture (in 30 reviews)

  • You have to move every two years as part of the foreign service (in 57 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Trainer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Corporate Trainer in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Corporate Trainer in Arlington, VA
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The Foreign Service institute (FSI) is an Interactive, sharing community with focus of ongoing professional development

    Cons

    Department of State is under a hiring freeze for the foreseeable future.

    Advice to Management

    Be transparent in sharing information


  2. "Operations Management Specialist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Operations Management Specialist in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Operations Management Specialist in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Very Flexible and accommodating when you have personal issues

    Cons

    Can only work specific hours

  3. "Anti-research and rather blasé about scientific method in general"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Department Chair in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Department Chair in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Fancy business cards and the occasional perk of overseas travel, plus a bumper-to-bumper benefits package, automatic salary increases, and beaucoup federal holidays

    Cons

    I can feel my brain slowly melting. Really. Coming from a research and academic background, I'm amazed at how little interest there is generally in learning from outside the agency

    Advice to Management

    A suggestion box and an open door policy are superficial ways to gather meaningful data on the work environment


  4. "Training Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA

    Pros

    You get to work in a diverse setting surrounded by those that really care about international relations.

    Cons

    you must leave to get promoted.

    Advice to Management

    Don't single out contractors


  5. Helpful (1)

    "FSI"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Intern in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at US Department of State (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Highly diverse work environment. Provides a lot of opportunity for exposure to other components within the state department. Senior management provides an environment conducive to professional development.

    Cons

    There seems to be a high turn over rate among support staff and senior management tends to change on a somewhat regular basis.


  6. "Ok"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Public Affairs Specialist in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Public Affairs Specialist in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Ok. Access. Travel. Knowledge. Good connections. Place to learn. Very interesting work. Always busy with something to do. Using my degrees for good salary.

    Cons

    Ok. Stuck in the fog of bureaucracy. Lack of communication. Full time tenures staff become complacent. Territorial work environment. Condescending co-workers.

    Advice to Management

    Ok


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Foreign Service Officer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Chief of Staff in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Chief of Staff in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    This is an international career, in which you get to experience a wide variety of overseas environments and cultures. It has wonderful job security and benefits. Salary is based on the federal FS pay scale - it is quite comfortable.

    Cons

    The State Department is a massive bureaucracy that engages in extensive hierarchical behavior, which can have its drawbacks if someone does not know where they fit into the system. There are many within State who do not behave this way and know how to get the most from their employees, but with constant rotation of assignments, it is impossible to know who the boss will be in the future.

    Moving overseas every couple of years is exciting, but exhausting. It wears on you over time.

    As with any government job, you encounter a wide range of motivation in your coworkers. When you run into an undermotivated one, it can be difficult to get things done.

    While the salary is comfortable, your lifetime earnings are capped due to the nature of promotions and the pay scale system.

    Advice to Management

    Trust your employees. Talk to them with great regularity, make sure they are talking to each other, and give them the freedom to find creative solutions to problems.

  8. "Summer Intern Review"

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

    Pros

    Interesting people, cool experience, good introduction to working in the federal government. The department as a whole works hard to accommodate interns and ensure they have a meaningful experience.

    Cons

    Depends on the divisions you are working in. Some places do not give interns very much work to do while others do. Depends entirely how much the division has on their plate at the time and how much work senior members are wiling to give interns


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Educational Specialist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Counselor in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Senior Counselor in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Good money at a grade 13
    Prestige of working with the Department of State
    Pretty park-like campus at the Foreign Service Institute- was a former elite school for young women

    Cons

    Disgraceful practices by management. First line supervisors are permitted to create a hostile work environment. Division managers are disinterested in running their departments and caring about their employees as individuals. Went in to position so honored to be working for the federal government-such idealism! Quickly learned that innovative thinking, creativity, and being an individual is not rewarded. If you want to work here-keep your head down, do the job, don't make waves, especially to improve gaps in the delivery of work performance, and cover your assets. Check out how many EEOC complaints are filed against this organization. There were so many that State Department attorneys had to come in and have a review session on how managers need to treat people.

    Advice to Management

    Walk the walk. You espouse to be leaders. Check in to see if you are authentically treating your staff with decency, compassion and care. Be the servant leader. If you do not know what that term means-study the concept and incorporate the concepts in your day to day actions with your staff. Stop covering up for incompetent managers along the line of command. When their subordinates bring issues of malfeasance to you- listen and act on the information.


  10. "Branch Chief, Office of Facility Management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Real Property Asset Manager in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Real Property Asset Manager in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Travel to county capitals always includes staying at very good hotels. Have seen positive increases in the budgets I manage.

    Cons

    Office director changes every two years, causing lack of leadership. Lots of political office staff in-fighting that is petty and destructive. Foreign Service officers consider themselves to be always above the Civil Service staff that supports them abroad. Poor salary increases over last 5 years.

    Advice to Management

    Set a positive position for this organization, that promotes total cost of ownership as the mantra for stable embassy operations.


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