US National Archives and Records Administration Reviews | Glassdoor

US National Archives and Records Administration Reviews

Updated February 21, 2017
14 reviews

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Charles Piercy
2 Ratings

14 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • There is never any reason to stay late, nothing done at the Archives is time sensitive, so good work life balance I guess (in 6 reviews)

  • Decent pay, convenient bus ride (or parking (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Not a lot of room for advancement if not a veteran (in 8 reviews)

  • The upper management of this agency leaves a lot to be desired (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Very small chance to earn a promotion unless you have a Master's degree"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Archives Technician in College Park, MD
    Former Employee - Archives Technician in College Park, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at US National Archives and Records Administration full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Freedom to take on major projects and tasks
    -Interact with customers and learn valuable professional skills

    Cons

    -Upper management is a mess and often hire externally rather than internally

    Advice to Management

    Promote from within the organization and reward employees.


  2. "National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO - Looks and feels like a prison"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Archives Technician in Saint Louis, MO
    Former Employee - Archives Technician in Saint Louis, MO
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at US National Archives and Records Administration full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I learned many things about the military, as well as how disorganized the government has been with military records since World War I. Good benefits.

    Cons

    Prison-like building in St. Louis as there is no cafeteria and nowhere to go eat within the 30 minute lunch time. The outdoor break area is spoiled because it is next to the smoking area. Every indoor break room has a TV on, whether you like it or not. Temperature in the building is very hot, as evidenced by the many people who have fans at their desks. As for the work - it is production oriented. You are always under pressure to meet daily completed assignment numbers. The pay is horrible for the work performed. I made the same hourly rate in a very depressed area of New Mexico, under much less stress.

    Advice to Management

    A happy employee is a productive employee. Many people are not happy at NARA in St. Louis due to the pressure of production and nowhere to go for a real break during the day.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "National Personnel Records Center"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Archives Technician in Saint Louis, MO
    Current Employee - Archives Technician in Saint Louis, MO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US National Archives and Records Administration full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good benefits. Over-time pay and monthly bonuses for production. Promotion possibilities. An okay job over all. Helping veterans obtain their information for benefits is gratifying.

    Cons

    Very stressful. Production is pressured more than quality and it is hard to do that to our veterans. You have to cheat the system to be able to get your production numbers. Pay is terrible so you are forced to work overtime to be able to afford to live. In a bad area of St. Louis, so everyone has to commute at least 35 minutes to live somewhere nice.

    Advice to Management

    Pay us more.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Go to Another Gov't Agency if You Can"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Archives Technician in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Archives Technician in Atlanta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Job stability. Federal holidays, relaxed atmosphere

    Cons

    1) Very little advancement (unless working for a non-Presidential facility - or working at Archives 1 or 2 (Washington, DC or College Park, MD, respectfully)
    2) Government promotional system
    3) Upper-level - DC - Mgmt completely out of touch with Archivists.

    Advice to Management

    The Archivist of the US is the most vain glorious director of an agency I've ever known. There is a reason the the National Archives (NARA) ranks last on the evaluation of all government agencies. The work is great if you love history - as I do - however, the upper-level mgmt - the DC Board of Directors - has absolutely no idea what archivists do. Furthermore, the Office of Innovation is a joke. We've been through multiple re-designs of our Archival Search system (ARC then OPA and now the Archives Catalog) in 2 years because Innovation doesn't know anything about innovating. If you want to go into history at the Federal level the best places to work are either the Library of Congress or the Smithsonian. - BTW - Charles Piercy is NOT the CEO of the National Archives.


  6. "Archives Aid"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Archives Aid in Valmeyer, IL
    Former Intern - Archives Aid in Valmeyer, IL
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at US National Archives and Records Administration as an intern (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Set Production Quota which can easily be set.
    Excellent Paid Annual and Sick Leave.
    Job Stability if you are on full time

    Cons

    Too many supervisors who are out of touch on the processes that make the facility run.
    Director that only cares about numbers and not accuracy
    Promotion ability is non-existent, unless you are a veteran.
    Incompetency run rampant in all sections of NPRC.


  7. "A way to provide a boost to your resume, but it's very difficult to be promoted to career permanent status employee."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Pathways Student in College Park, MD
    Former Intern - Pathways Student in College Park, MD
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at US National Archives and Records Administration as an intern (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Learn professional skills and resume builder

    Cons

    Pathway Students who have worked there for many years are very unlikely to be hired to permanent full-time status.

    Advice to Management

    Treat experience pathway students with more respect and provide more career opportunities.


  8. "Who"s your favorite?"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ???? in Dayton, OH
    Former Employee - ???? in Dayton, OH
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at US National Archives and Records Administration full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    It's a job...When you needed a job it was there but not worth all the BS that went on daily.......

    Cons

    Too many to list. Favoritism, BS on a daily basis. No where to go but down. Never heard thanks for much. Work balance amongst employees was the worst I've ever seen.

    Advice to Management

    Stop playing favorites... Very bad and toxic place to work.......


  9. Helpful (2)

    "3 Years as an Aid"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Archives Aid in Fort Worth, TX
    Current Employee - Archives Aid in Fort Worth, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US National Archives and Records Administration full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Job security and basic health benefits is the only pro at NARA in the Federal Record Center (FRC) program. Once in a while they throw you a bone to drive out of town overnight to pick up some boxes and make a few hours overtime, but that doesn't beat a higher starting wage. The people doing the work have great personalities, but this can easily be overshadowed by frustration over the stagnancy in opportunities to advance. They are just starting a cross training program and a career pathing program, but seem oblivious to the cons you are about to read.

    Cons

    Several people have been in my pay grade for over 20 or even over 30 years working at NARA. Even though we are under a "soft hiring freeze", I realized my degree doesn't seem to mean squat in a field of work that doesn't require a higher education. I have applied for every vacancy in the past three years, interviewed twice and seem to be stuck which is extremely frustrating for a veteran of 8 years, a recent college graduate with superior academic achievement, and several years working in the private sector as a supervisor running a $1M satellite operation with only 4 - 6 people. A part of American workforce is dying and sadly it seems to be the competent few. At this rate they will never get up from the bottom of the Employee Viewpoint Survey ranking in the entire federal government. You have to can AND do something to promote positive change!

    Advice to Management

    I have learned we only can keep 4% of our profits at the end of the year and anything beyond that must go to pay off the national debt (which is ridiculous anyway), but spend as much of that 4% on rewarding your top laborers - as the economy improves and more jobs become available they are bound to leave NARA and a mass exodus is not what I want to have to come back in and fix like I did in Colorado in the Private Sector - with a new bachelors degree and my experience you can bet I will be the one setting my salary should NARA be so foolish as to let that happen in my career span - NARA can't afford it.


  10. "Move boxes"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Archive Assistant in Waltham, MA
    Former Employee - Archive Assistant in Waltham, MA
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    if you didn't want to see anyone for 8hrs a day this was the job

    Cons

    heavy lifting and no human interaction

    Advice to Management

    pretty much just comes with the territory


  11. "nobody does any actual work? at least not in the security office"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern

    I worked at US National Archives and Records Administration as an intern

    Pros

    super laid back "never getting fired" government staff AKA long lunch breaks and not much stress

    Cons

    super laid back "never getting fired" government staff AKA long lunch breaks and not much stress, yes, that's a bad thing too... felt like the hardest working person was the receptionist who was underpaid simply because of a lack of degree (meanwhile older staff with no degrees coast by doing hardly anything...they are aware of this and are somewhat proud that they don't have to do much...)

    Advice to Management

    Seriously?


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