US Department of State Reviews in Washington, DC | Glassdoor

US Department of State Washington DC Reviews

Updated April 17, 2017
152 reviews

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Washington, DC Area

4.0
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US Department of State Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Rex Tillerson
2 Ratings

152 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • work/life balance; very formal culture (in 25 reviews)

  • You have to move every two years as part of the foreign service (in 49 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Internship Review"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends

    Pros

    Wonderful people who genuinely care about your future success. My colleagues/supervisors were extremely helpful and were eager to share career insight and advice.

    Cons

    Unpaid. Most internships in DC are unpaid but each time, it's a pretty blatant negative.


  2. "Mind the bureaucracy"

    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

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

    Pros

    State Department staff are generally engaged, smart, and committed to mission. Foreign affairs professionals have significant responsibilities on work that makes a difference.

    Cons

    The bureaucracy can wear you down. It is common to spend time on mundane, low-value tasks because the Department has not invested in technology to facilitate its business processes.


  3. "Amazing job; Some poor managers"

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    International travel with family. Amazing experiences and chance to meet the elites in all of the countries where you work. Learn foreign languages while getting paid. Some very smart coworkers.

    Cons

    Limited management training and seniority based promotions lead to some poor managers in the field.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to invest in employee training, especially in the area of management.


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  5. "Realty Specialist"

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

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

    Pros

    Exciting work on-site in locations all over the world.

    Cons

    Way too much paperwork required for covering one's self and one's managers. Too many management layers.

    Advice to Management

    Follow the President's lead.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Foreign Service Officer"

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Excellent benefits
    Worldwide Experience
    Worldwide Adventure
    Development of Broad Skills
    Well Educated and Accomplished Colleagues
    Elite and Prestigious Institution
    Washington, DC become home base

    Cons

    Massive and strained bureaucracy
    Regulated advancement opportunities
    Foreign Service vs. Civil Service Culture
    Constant Moves
    Poor (but improving) record of leadership

    Advice to Management

    Focus more on leadership and management;
    Reform system of promotions
    Place less emphasis on war zone posts
    Allow for and reward broader exposure to different specialties/cones


  7. "Great place to work, but hiring freeze is a problem"

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Competitive salary and excellent benefits. Leave allowance is quite good after you've been in for a few years. Retirement plan isn't as great as it used to be, but is still better than many private-sector companies - particularly if you manage to stay in till retirement.

    Cons

    For FS employees - family hardships, particularly spousal employment, continue to be a challenge. The current (hopefully temporary) hiring freeze means no hiring/promotions for Civil Service employees, but also means no jobs for family members who are posted overseas.

    Advice to Management

    Push to lift the hiring freeze ASAP. The current guidance is no EFM hiring, nor civil service conversions for existing FS, whatsoever. Both are an issue, but killing EFM employment in particular is a major morale killer, and if it continues much longer will force some employees to rethink whether the Department is the best long-term option for them and their families.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Foreign service officer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Stability, travel, work with foreign government officials

    Cons

    Overseas risks, separations from family

    Advice to Management

    More training


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Foggy Bottom"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Regular, reliable, fascinating work, stable. People are interesting and friendly.

    Cons

    Computers are slow. Al lot of regulations need to be learned. Culture is conservative.

    Advice to Management

    There are a large number of departmental meetings held and perhaps they could be kept shorter.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work with a great mission"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The opportunity to travel and the mission to help people around the world.

    Cons

    Very bureaucratic and that can get in the way of doing things efficiently. Employees tend to be very hierarchical.

    Advice to Management

    Focus more on the work life balance os employees


  11. "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.



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