US Department of State Reviews | Glassdoor

US Department of State Reviews

Updated July 17, 2017
732 reviews

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3.8
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US Department of State Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Rex Tillerson
22 Ratings

732 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • work/life balance; very formal culture (in 26 reviews)

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

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great Federal Government Employer"

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

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

    Pros

    Intelligent, driven colleagues. Fascinating work.

    Cons

    Still a part of the federal bureaucracy. Current Sec of State not committed to diplomacy or the ideals of the department.


  2. "FSO: Still Rewarding, Domestic Politics Aside"

    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
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The opportunity to serve our country, represent America and Americans to the world, and the chance to take care of fellow citizens.

    Cons

    The bureaucracy stifles talent. Multiple levels of decision making. Lack of control over life.

    Advice to Management

    FSOs are unbiased professionals. Trust in them.

  3. "Not so good"

    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

    Pros

    Perks if you want to live overseas for 'free' and send kids to a good international school for free.

    Cons

    Bureaucracy; single life overseas; incompetent bosses; need to be available basically 24/7.

    Advice to Management

    Be more competent and stop being such micromanagers!


  4. "Foreign Service Officer"

    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
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Job security, overseas travel, language training, emergency travel benefits, pension = 1.7% of salary for first 20 years of employment, 1% after that.

    Cons

    Constant movement means you're never an expert for long, relocation tough on the friends and family, promotions not directly linked to performance, assignments selection process opaque and sometimes unfair, unconscious bias is tolerated and and institutional structures make it difficult for women and minorities to advance to senior positions. Most departments have a long wall of photos of previous Assistant Secretaries; about 90 percent have been white males.

    Advice to Management

    Revise performance evaluation process to remove reference to name or gender; require yearly training on unconscious bias, provide greater support for non-traditional families and employees married to immigrants.


  5. "Unique career opportunities"

    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 US Department of State full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Wide range of positions, strong sense of community and public service, good benefits, friendly workplace, good work-life balance

    Cons

    Limited senior positions for the civil service, bureaucratic challenges, possible budget restraints in the coming years


  6. "Financial Management Officer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Finance Manager in Baghdad (Iraq)
    Former Employee - Finance Manager in Baghdad (Iraq)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great organisation to work for

    Cons

    There is nothing negative about working for the US State Dept in Iraq.


  7. "DoS"

    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
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Many of your colleagues are exceptional
    Living around the world
    Being in the right place at the right time to make a difference in world events
    Meaningful work when you are not babysitting an Ambassador (only some of them) or visiting delegation.

    Cons

    Difficult bureaucracy under the best of times, you learn the Govn't will do what it wants, regardless of the rules, then use those same rules to beat you down - even when following their directives. Document! Document! Document! It is taxing being in that kind of environment.

    What is difficult under supportive administrations has become impossible. The institution is frozen and left to crumble by Trump/Tillerson.

    We are reducing our engagement at the behest of the president, while Congress continues to push for more by mandating reports and engagement when authorizing funds. Being caught in the middle, you can never satisfy them both and they both have power to crush you.

    Through fear-mongering the Diplomatic Security service (who for the most part are a great group of people who do great work!) has taken over the funding and constrain the operation of the department.

    A lack of leadership in an exceptionally risk-averse organization (especially at the Washington level) continually hobbles performance.

    Advice to Management

    Better manage conflict between Congress and the Executive to reduce intrusive and counter-productive conflicting requirements from both groups.

  8. "Diplomatic Security"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Special Agent
    Current Employee - Special Agent

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Work is incredibly interesting, constantly changing and fun. You will have many once in a lifetime experiences.
    When you combine all your various allowances and overtime, pay is excellent for a Federal Agency.
    Great job for single people.
    Great training opportunities.

    Cons

    Unaccompanied tours to High Threat Areas are a must…if you have a family, be prepare to be separated from them for months and years at a time.
    Promotions are based on the broken Foreign Service (EER) system…very slow because of (FS-4) backlog, not transparent nor consistent, and overall not a fair system.
    Investigations are the agency’s last priority, and the agency has a horrible reputation in the Federal LE community because of this.
    If your spouse has a professional job, it can be very difficult for them to maintain their career, during constant moves. Also jobs for family members at the embassy are mundane, unfulfilling and very low paying.

    Advice to Management

    Follow your own DPP in planning for staffing needs for the various needs: SD trip, Dignitary Protection details and overseas ARSO TDYs…this will allow your agents to plan and better prepare their families for their absences.
    Create different agent career tracks: RSO, Protection, Investigations, which will allow for specialization and better performance.
    Do not have all agents go through High Threat training. (Unless you want to change your overall recruitment process and hiring standards) There is a section of agents who should NOT be sent to High Threat Posts, and they are a liability.


  9. "More than Just a Career"

    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 (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The Foreign Service life gives you the amazing opportunity to live abroad while performing a valuable public service. In addition to broadening your horizons and exposing yourself to new languages, cultures, and surroundings, you get to do substantive work that advances U.S. interests and strengthens bilateral relations between the United States and your host country. The travel opportunities are endless and many of my contacts and colleagues have become lifelong friends.

    Cons

    The bureaucracy is abysmal and it seems like you are always fighting some battle against the Department. With a world of emerging technologies available to us, sometimes it feels like we are stuck in the past when it comes to arranging transfers from post to post. The Foreign Service does not value diversity of opinion as much as it says and if you do not neatly fit into one of the standard categories of diplomats, you will have a hard time.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees and erase the phrase "that's the way it has always been" from your repertoire. Fix the broken HR system from hiring to advancement to retirement. Taxpayers spend a huge amount of money on our training and transportation, so it is a disservice that we do not invest as much in professional, management, and leadership development as the military.


  10. "Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    Fantastic experience in real diplomatic work

    Cons

    Large bureaucracy and no salary


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