US Department of State Reviews | Glassdoor

US Department of State Reviews

Updated July 15, 2017
25 reviews

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US Department of State Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Rex Tillerson
2 Ratings

25 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • work/life balance; very formal culture (in 27 reviews)

  • You have to move every two years as part of the foreign service (in 54 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Run away!"

    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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time

    Pros

    Decent salary and a pension if you can stomach the cronyism, lack of leadership and "me first" culture for 20 years without losing your humanity.

    Cons

    People are running for the exits under the current administration. An already sub-par institution is now rudderless and in sharp decline because there is zero leadership from the top. We do the best we can with not priorities or policy guidelines whatsoever, along with scores of empty positions at the highest levels. The Secretary of State does not appear to respect what we do and is intent on gutting the State Department to the point of making it irrelevant. Anyone who has other options is getting out while they can.

    Advice to Management

    It's pointless, because they think we are the problem.


  2. "Aimless"

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time

    Pros

    Most positions have very reasonable hours

    Cons

    Lack of leadership, timidity, constant worries about employees' reputation, old boys network, not innovative

  3. "DDTC Compliance"

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

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

    Pros

    The work is good work, given you can actually get it done.

    Cons

    Management is dysfunctional on all levels and this results in a very caught in the middle staff. Management is never available (closed door policy and avoidance policy in full effect) for guidance or training. There is an unfair distribution of rights to chosen people. Teleworking or asking to telework is blasphemous even though your contract or position allows it and management engages or allows others to engage in it at their convenience. I would not recommend this place to my worst enemy.

    Advice to Management

    Be present for guidance. Communicate with your staff. Identify their issues and HELP them solve them, don't avoid issues because you as a manager are there to help them succeed as they are there to help you succeed. Stop picking favorites and allow everybody who is interested to develop. And most importantly if you don't like management...get out of it.


  4. "Summer Intern: Recommend Against"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Intern - Intern
    Former Intern - Intern
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    You can do real work and help on important projects with smart people. Depending on the country, this is a great way to learn about State and to have an interesting experience. State has a valiant mission and pushes for it all over the world.

    Cons

    I recommend against the summer internship. Most people do this internship in their final summer of undergad or grad school. This is a bad idea. The main reason is this: the internship does not lead to any job offer opportunities. Some may say it will help you in the Foreign Service application process because of job knowledge and good interview responses, but it will mean absolutely nothing that you made high level connections or did an outstanding job. The FS application process is very structured and makes it so that you can't get an actual leg up on an offer as a result of interning. In addition, it is not paid (you in fact pay to work there, for travel costs and often times housing). It is astonishing that this is legal, as the interns work 40 hours a week and do completely legitimate work (including writing cables, the primary means of Washington learning about US foreign relations). Beforehand, this all seems worth it for "the experience" but in retrospect, I wish someone had told me this: get a job in which you can earn some money and have the potential for an employment offer, those two things will outweigh the experience when graduation comes around.


  5. "General Services Officer"

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

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

    Pros

    none for me..but thats my opinion

    Cons

    job sucks..you are always taking care of everyone else

    Advice to Management

    you are compared to other persons that come form a golden guild, they dont tell you in your face but with very special wording knife you in the back


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Total chaos"

    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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good colleagues. Some very smart people. Opportunity to do some good in the world despite leadership's best efforts.

    Cons

    Antiquated bureaucracy + too many appointees. There is no way this place should have so many. Sexual harassment and corruption/disregard for rules pretty rife.

    Advice to Management

    Stop ignoring your field experts. Washington isn't the center of the universe.


  7. 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.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Good if you thought about joining the military but wanted something with a similar style but less respect"

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

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

    Pros

    Freedom to do new things every couple of years, to make incremental change all over the world. You have to just enjoy the ride you're handed.

    Cons

    The bureaucracy is stifling, particularly to the innovation and change-making it pays lip service to wanting to effect. It is slowly exciting the 19050s, but not quickly enough to attract/retain the best talent of the new millennium. Mad Men-esque human resources, unreliable promotion system, assignments system based on happening to know the right person at the right time...

    Advice to Management

    Change. Change faster than is comfortable - it will still be slower than is necessary. Take a look at strong, successful private sector enterprises and consider how they structure, hire, retain, etc... Also, figure out why there are so many structural disadvantages to the FS category - why aren't we like other civil servants, with transferable skills and hiring preference?


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Eh"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Cool experience, met great people

    Cons

    No real tasks. Did not have much responsibility


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Stagnant and Inexperienced Office of Analytics Leadership"

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

    Pros

    Work hours can be limited to 40 hours so the positions do have a work life balance. IIP's main leadership group is innovative and has brought a number of positive changes to the organization. Location is central and the State Department is a great place to network.

    Cons

    The Office of Analytics's leadership has very little to no qualifications for leading a team of developers. Hence, the analytics leadership makes erratic project and hiring decisions. Multiple new candidates have been let go in the past few years due to "personal" disagreements. A core group of employees who have been has been on the team the longest tend to be threatened by new talent and treat new people poorly. Overall the work environment is negative and the projects uninteresting.

    Advice to Management

    Office of Analytics won't be able to attract and maintain talent while the old guard remains in place. Originally this team was hired to work on evaluations, but is now working in a capacity far outside their area of expertise.


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