US Department of State Reviews in Washington, DC | Glassdoor

US Department of State Washington Reviews

Updated September 19, 2017
337 reviews

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Washington, DC

337 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 56 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Internship Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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. "Foreign Service-- Great for Men, So-so for Women"

    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 3 years)

    Pros

    Travel, Interesting work, Interesting Colleagues, Switch jobs every few years, Great cause, Opportunities to learn new languages/ skillsets

    Cons

    Marriage heavy culture, Not attuned to singles, Some Colleagues are super weird, Live in a fishbowl, Some tours are horrible, Promotion based on years in service-- not abilities, Some bad managers, White old male culture

    Advice to Management

    Don't assume everyone is married; Merit based promotion would create high quality manager

  3. "Deputy Director"

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

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

    Pros

    Commitment to public service is paramount

    Cons

    Limited upward mobility in career ladder positions

    Advice to Management

    Continue to set the standard for excellent public service


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Amazing job; Some poor managers"

    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
    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.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Mind the bureaucracy"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.


  6. "Architect and Technical Writer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Architectural Designer in Washington, DC
    Former Contractor - Architectural Designer in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Department of State as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great place to work. Great people. The State Department is a high profile government agency where people take pride in what they do. Everyone acts and dresses professionally. You are allowed to do your job with minimal guidance from management. The job is interesting and challenging.

    Cons

    Only one that I can think of is that I no longer work there as my contract ended. Now I understand the environment is very different due to the new administration.

    Advice to Management

    Keep your good people if you can and hang in there.


  7. "Realty Specialist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.

  8. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Foreign Affairs Officer (GS-9) in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Affairs Officer (GS-9) in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Intelligent co-workers and great sense of purpose. Opportunities for lateral mobility within the department.

    Cons

    Necessary evil of a giant bureaucracy and not a strong manegerial culture are constantly frustrating.

    Advice to Management

    Keep investing in your employees


  9. Helpful (2)

    "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
    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


  10. Helpful (1)

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

    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
    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.


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