USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Reviews | Glassdoor

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Reviews

Updated June 27, 2018
29 reviews

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2.5
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Philip Karsting
6 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. "International Economist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - International Economist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - International Economist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at USDA Foreign Agricultural Service full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Very interesting jobs in an international environment - you have colleagues all around the world. Truly diverse workforce. Recognized expertise on global commodity markets

    Cons

    Not always easy to do your job in some countries

    Advice to Management

    Keep going


  2. "Mission Support"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Mission Support in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Mission Support in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at USDA Foreign Agricultural Service full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The workplace is very flexible .

    Cons

    Shifting processes that creates more work- Like a dog chasing its tail to the right and then going left. Nothing is set in stone and is always changing at some point in the task. Seeking assistance can become a disaster. Every man for themselves. Inappropriate employee behaviors go unnoticed and overlooked purposely. Some non-supervisory GS-14 roles wreak havoc on program areas affecting the manpower hours of the mission. No formal orientation or training for new employees. Employees are expected to exceed in the environment with no realistic foresight/expectations. FAS elects to have managers vice leaders. This becomes a critical issue for ongoing employee to supervisor relations. The managers are only high grade hall monitors and are not given enough power as it is in leadership to make the necessary changes to better help support the mission and develop a greater level of employee morale.

    Advice to Management

    There are way too many managers up top leaving poor career development for lower level positions and not enough work for them. Overuse of Managers creates great complexity forcing managers to compete in revising processes to get a leg up on a better performance evaluation. The structure of this organization was recently change but should be reconsidered through the eyes of the staff.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Horrible mismanaged place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - International Trade Specialist in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - International Trade Specialist in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at USDA Foreign Agricultural Service full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Some coworkers were bright and nice. Management lacks any leadership skills, vindictive and completely incapable of leading.

    Cons

    Management lacks any leadership skills, vindictive and completely incapable of leading. No recognition for hard work, no balance or work responsibilities. Many instances of discrimination and blatant hate.

    Advice to Management

    Need to get managers who are capable of leading.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Middle Management Catastrophe"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - International Trade Specialist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - International Trade Specialist in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at USDA Foreign Agricultural Service full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good work/life balance; opportunity for international travel; transparent compensation system; interesting work

    Cons

    Incredibly bureaucratic, with different work areas separated in silos and territorial middle management. Career management has no long-term vision or strategy for accomplishing the agency's goals -- their primary motivation is maintaining individual fiefdoms. Many offices have overlapping missions, and managers fight to preserve their jurisdiction.

    Incoming staff often have no agricultural experience, and therefore require significant training to become fully effective. Despite this reality, management is not willing to invest in developing new employees. This creates a vicious cycle of turnover: employees leave because they are frustrated with lack of training, and managers treat employees like they are just passing through.

    Advice to Management

    Political leaders should buy out/seek early retirement for many middle managers. Clearly define roles for each office to reduce inter-office friction resulting from overlapping responsibilities. Resolve disputes between offices at the management level, rather than forcing staff to duke it out. Increase training opportunities (including international travel) for new staff, potentially by developing a formal training curriculum for all new hires.


  5. "FAS"

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

    I have been working at USDA Foreign Agricultural Service full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great benefits and a federal job

    Cons

    Very Poor middle management political

    Advice to Management

    Great an environment were the right managers are place


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Cliquish environment and bad management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at USDA Foreign Agricultural Service full-time

    Pros

    Health benefits, flexible work schedule, and traveling overseas.

    Cons

    Bureaucratic, being micromanaged, high turnover, being overworked, bad management, and a high school cliquish working environment.

    Advice to Management

    My advice to management is to offer more training to newer managers. I started working for the agency under one of the best managers then new management rolled in and everything just went to hell. Also, I recommend improving the employee assistance programs and providing more outreach to FAS employees to make sure they are holding up okay in the complicated world of trade politics.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Not great management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at USDA Foreign Agricultural Service full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    It's a federal job

    Cons

    Very micromanaged and political

  8. "Program Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at USDA Foreign Agricultural Service full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    -Great international experience
    -Fair pay and benefits
    -Good work life balance

    Cons

    -Highly bureaucratic
    -Poor middle management
    -Unclear path for advancement

    Advice to Management

    Let your talent work for you


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Depends on your boss"

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

    I have been working at USDA Foreign Agricultural Service full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Foreign travel opportunities, six functional work areas mean you can try other work if you don't like your current job, some areas allow telework, subject matter can be interesting if you find agriculture and trade interesting topics.

    Cons

    Senior management is devoid of leadership. Several of the agency's senior leaders have a known history of being highly vindictive. The biggest con I see FAS promotes people into management based off their individual successes at the working level. This puts a lot of really wrong people into supervisory positions. The agency does not evaluate its managers for their ability to be a leader, which means managers are never held accountable for being inept.

    Advice to Management

    Don't be petty, keep your word, don't play favorites, try to care about the well being and career development of your staff


  10. "Change should come"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at USDA Foreign Agricultural Service full-time

    Pros

    Great mission and goal. Wonderful, smart colleagues. Opportunity to travel.

    Cons

    No leadership. Beaucratic beyond belief. No caring for employees. Inefficient and crippling silos everywhere.

    Advice to Management

    Address motivation issues. Deal with the backlog of overseas staff. Stop focusing on election loss and take come courage to lead staff.