US Department of State Reviews | Glassdoor

US Department of State Reviews

Updated August 17, 2017
751 reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • work/life balance; very formal culture (in 29 reviews)

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

More Pros and Cons

  1. "General Engineer"

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

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

    Pros

    All is going well done

    Cons

    None is going wrong doing

    Advice to Management

    NONE


  2. "Prestigious fed gov agency; little promotion potential for civil servants"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Like other government agencies, the benefits are generous and job security is generally good. If you're into foreign policy, it's a good place to work.

    Cons

    Big bureaucracy run by political appointees and Foreign Service. If you are civil service, you'll have little upward mobility, unless you change agencies, convert to FS, or decide you really love your job and just stick with it.

    Advice to Management

    More promotion options for civil service

  3. "Travel"

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

    Pros

    Travel was great and meeting people from all over the world.

    Cons

    Very political in decision making. Goals and projects revolved on a two to three year cycle as people rotated assignments, instead of long term goals.


  4. "PA"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Excellent co-workers, excellent location, interesting work

    Cons

    Can be political, no other complaints. Building is dusty though

    Advice to Management

    No comments, I love it. Great experience


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Civil Servant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Get to work on very interesting projects with international actors and governments. You get to meet interesting people

    Cons

    Lots of bureaucracy and everything needs clearance from above, which can take hours or days or weeks. There is little opportunity for innovation. Everyone is afraid of ruining their reputation. HR is inefficient.

    Advice to Management

    More room for innovation within the Department. Better working relations with Post and Foggy Bottom. Perhaps civil servants need to take visit to Posts, so that they can understand the dynamics a bit better.


  6. "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


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Speechwriter in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Speechwriter in Washington, DC
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    If you like foreign policy, it's the place to be.

    Cons

    Current Administration is destroying this great agency

  8. "State Dept."

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

    Pros

    Incredible professional growth opportunities, great place to learn about domestic and international affairs, wide range of issues at play, and of course, the travel!

    Cons

    Extremely hierarchical and, depending on the office, work/life balance could be a real challenge.

    Advice to Management

    Provide more feedback to staff.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "An essential if challenged institution"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Intelligence Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Intelligence Analyst in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Fascinating set of issues and real-world challenges.

    Cons

    Bureaucracy, bureaucracy, bureaucracy, bureaucracy, bureaucracy!

    Advice to Management

    Take more management training - inside and outside the Dept - before trying to manage!


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Entry-level 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
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Opportunity to serve your country, sense of duty and fulfillment in the job, chance to live abroad, steady career progression, decent pay and standard of living, good benefits

    Cons

    Impact on family and personal life, slow bureaucracy, passive-aggressive culture, pay your dues at the entry-level, at the mid-level not truly merit-based--assignments are based on who you know and promotions are based on how well your manager writes your evaluations. Sense of duty and fulfillment comes from how much the President and Secretary value what you do...which is dependent on the Administration

    Advice to Management

    Value your staff as people with families, not just numbers to fill assignment slots. Revamp the promotion and assignments process based on merit and hard work, not on who you know and how well your managers write your reviews.


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