US Department of State 664 Reviews | Glassdoor

US Department of State Reviews

Updated February 21, 2017
664 reviews

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664 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Work-Life balance not a priority (in 23 reviews)

  • Foreign Service Officers are the worst because they are never in a place long enough to do anything (in 45 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
    Former Employee - Foreign Affairs Officer in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Foreign Affairs Officer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Really interesting work, helping your country

    Cons

    Big bureaucracy, things move slowly.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Overall one of the better places to be in the Government"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Compliance Specialist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Compliance Specialist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Work is great and exciting.

    Cons

    Power struggles in the office.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Poor training, poor managers"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Living overseas, travel, free language school

    Cons

    Too many egos, lower quality employees often hired to maintain some mythical "diversity" as if capability alone is not sufficient.

    Advice to Management

    Reach out to minorities but don't hire on the basis of quotas. Stop telling new FSOs that they are the best and the brightest - they're not.


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  5. "Public Diplomacy"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Working with some of the smartest people in diplomacy and international affairs.

    Cons

    Can be bureaucratic, but it's possible to work through it.


  6. "Great place to work, especially if you are beginning your career"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Foreign Affairs Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Affairs Officer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The Department is considerably bottom-middle heavy which becomes a great career opportunity for many young urban professionals residing in the DC Metropolitan area who are starting their careers. Some of the nation's highest international studies schools, NGOs, and Think Tanks surrounds the Foggy Bottom vicinity, making it easier to engage on many issues that impact the work of the Department. State offers several internship, fellowship and contractor positions and presents a great entry level opportunity for individuals starting out, and who want a solid career in foreign affairs. As I am coming up on 8 years working at State, you find many people starting out at a low GS grade level, but with opportunity to get promoted each year with good performance, and rotational programs to work on other projects and a chance to work overseas with Foreign Service Officers. The Department brings in approximately 3,000 student interns a year from all over the world, and a good portion of them become full-time permanent federal employees upon completing their academic studies. You really cannot ask for a better public sector opportunity with career mobility and job satisfaction!

    Cons

    As you move up within your career ladder, you will find at times the higher positions are limited, especially for civil servants. Once you pass GS-12/GS-13, you will find it harder to find GS-14 and above career jobs that either have already been filled or do not exist in some bureaus or offices. It is even harder to find non-supervisory GS-14 and above jobs. This places a heavy burden on those who might want to make a higher salary (which is usually political football on Capitol Hill). Often you might find some people leaving State to leverage their federal skills at private sector companies for management opportunities, and yes, a bigger paycheck. Though, this is all dependent upon your own feeling of self worth, experience and earning potential you feel you require in life. There are those who are comfortable at their current salary, and wish not to take on management roles. It's all personal preference.

    Advice to Management

    There needs to be a reform in management writ large. Managers learn to "manage up" verse "manage down" as they should be doing, and often takes focus away from employee development and career achievement. There are some managers who are very knowledgeable on the subject matter, but simply cannot manage. This often begs the question why they are in management.


  7. "FAO"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    Mission driven
    Travel
    Educational opportunities
    Friendly colleagues

    Cons

    Bureaucratic process
    Lack of work schedule flexibility


  8. "America's Foreign Policy Arm"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Foreign Affairs Officer in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Foreign Affairs Officer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great opportunities to represent America and develop solutions to real-world foreign policy issues.

    Cons

    As with much of government, the State Department large bureaucracy with many redundant functions. Promotions up the ladder almost entirely dependent on likability and networking. Entrance into the senior executive service virtually intractable outside of a political appointment. Many of the Department's more important historic roles now fall under the onus of the White House/NSC, particularly when it comes to highly-politicized hot-button issues.

    Advice to Management

    Gut the Department: As much as 60% of the agency's workforce is redundant.


  9. "Department of State's Law Enforcement Bureau"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Special Agent in Fort Lee, NJ
    Current Employee - Special Agent in Fort Lee, NJ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    You get to travel the world in a fast paced and challenging environment with US diplomats. The job is never boring with new experiences all the time

    Cons

    You have to move every two years as part of the foreign service. Being always on the move can be challenging for the family

    Advice to Management

    Be more transparent in decision making.


  10. "Sometimes fun, sometimes bureaucratic"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State full-time

    Pros

    Professional development, interesting jobs, can be fun

    Cons

    Can be bureaucratic and hierarchical


  11. "Great career and lifestyle"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Principled, intelligent and driven people working on the most important issues of the day.

    Cons

    Lots of work and stress, and mediocre compensation. If you're looking to get rich, this is the wrong career.



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