US Department of State Reviews | Glassdoor

US Department of State Reviews

Updated July 26, 2017
52 reviews

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US Department of State Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Rex Tillerson
1 Rating

52 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 55 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Good people; adversarial structure"

    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
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Living overseas and being in a position to make immediate and long term differences in the world.

    You get to work with many talented people.

    Cons

    A culture of overwork; e.g. 90+ hour weeks.

    Institutionally, the Department only recognizes you have a family when you are stationed overseas. Time spent in Washington (training, meetings, etc.) only provide for the employee. The family just doesn't exist during that time.

    Diplomatic Security has taken over. They review everything; HR paperwork, Building construction, IT and Telecommunications Infrastructure and operations, etc. Often, those reviewing and making decisions have no expertise in that area or are so risk averse that they always say no, delay deciding until the need has passed, or find someone else to hand it off to.

    The present administration has depleted the ranks and not replaced upper management. Since many decisions are tied to a particular position via statute many processes in the department are on "hold" until someone with the legal authority to make them arrives.

    Advice to Management

    It is impossible to comment on Tillerson's performance because he hasn't been allowed by the White House to do what he sees is needed in the department.


  2. "D.S. Agent"

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

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

    Pros

    get to see the world and provided housing overseas

    Cons

    Married more to your job than you are your spouse and treated like a number not a person

  3. Helpful (1)

    "FSO"

    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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Providing services to the American people overseas and working to advance U.S. interests around the globe is an incredible privilege.

    Cons

    Working in the current environment, disconnected from and distrusted by the State Department leadership and the White House, is demoralizing.

    Advice to Management

    Career staff at State (especially Foreign Service Officers) want to make a difference in the world. End your isolation from them. Engage with them, really work with them, and your efforts will deliver effective and lasting results. Continue to avoid doing this, and your policies will be much less effective and more transitory.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Facility Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Facilities Manager in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Facilities Manager 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 5 years)

    Pros

    Paid housing and private school

    Cons

    moving every 2 to 3 years is hard for the little ones


  5. "WPS Team Medic"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor

    I worked at US Department of State as a contractor

    Pros

    None that I can think of

    Cons

    DoS goes out of their way to micromanage all high threat employees


  6. "Contractor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor

    I have been working at US Department of State as a contractor

    Pros

    The pay can be good. Its an avenue to getting your TS.

    Cons

    While on probation the amount of hours you get are very low. The upper management treats employees very badly


  7. "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

  8. "Working at the Department of State"

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

    Pros

    Exposure to a variety of cultural activities and opportunities as well as working with people from around the world. Working for the US Government and having the opportunity to showcase my country to others.

    Cons

    This is a very large organization that often suffers from ridiculous bureaucracy and can be extremely slow-moving. Many of the rules and regulations are antiquated, but it is challenging to change them in a timely way because of the organization's size.

    Advice to Management

    Make the barrier to entry into the Department easier. The entire federal government is about to experience some extreme brain drain when people who have been here 35 or 40 years finally retire but because there is stagnation in the workforce, there won't be enough people to take those jobs over.


  9. "Lots of drama"

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

    Pros

    Good benefits and its a gov job

    Cons

    unless you're sleeping with the right person or have the right friends you won't get the promotion. employees have failed drugs tests and the only punishment is paid leave for over a year.

    Advice to Management

    at least pretend to care


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Smoke and Mirrors"

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

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

    Pros

    Prestige. People are impressed when they know you work for the State Department.

    Cons

    Working for the State Department was a dream turned into a nightmare. Do not be fooled by all the interns who post positive reviews. They are interns. They are working for the "best of the best" for a short stint and likely have little responsibility. I was fooled by the "Best in Government" reviews. I thought working for the State Department would be like working for a white collar private employer. It was more like quasi military. They told us the Department was "conservative" in civil service orientation. What an understatement. This was one of the most oppressive environments I ever worked in. All companies do what's in the employer's beset interest, but State takes it to a different level. It will go to great lengths to cover up malfeasance. It was astonishing. Good, talented employees have options. You will probably be at home if you are former military. If you have never worked for the government, adjust your expectations. "Flexibility" is an abstract concept at State. Management behaves as though you should feel honored they chose you to work for their illustrious organization. Take your skills and experience where they'll be appreciated.

    Advice to Management

    Management knows best. Why bother dispensing advice?


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