U.S. Department of State Employee Reviews

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  • Salary/Benefits
  • Job Security/Advancement
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Job Work/Life Balance
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Great contract to work on
Ambassador, all (Former Employee), Kabul, KABDecember 5, 2015
Pros: great pay and great work environment
Cons: kept me away from home
Force Protection Team Leader – Supervised 52 site security team members. Prepared contingency plans and maintained a capacity to counter direct and indirect threats against DynCorp / US Department of State installations. I furnished immediate tactical response and deployment to security incidents emanating from critical priority resources. Supported intelligence specialist with the dissemination of security information obtained from classified and open sources (OSINT). I aided special projects to include regulations, policies, procedures, training, and operations. Trained American/International guard force in identifying improvised explosive devices such as vehicle borne, and body borne IED’s within the perimeter of the DynCorp / US Department of State compound. I conducted in depth CQB/MOUNT training quarterly for all American, Nepalese and South African security members.

Personal Security Detail Team Leader – Supervised the Personal Security Detail for members of the Police Mentor Team in Orgune, Afghanistan as well as other visiting VIPs from DynCorp, State Dept., Dept. of Defense, etc. Various assignments included transportation of personnel to locations within the mission area and providing security for the mission. Other duties included site security upon arrival at mission destination as needed. Responsible for QRF Team rotation while at the FOB in Orgune splitting the duty with the U.S. Army and Blackwater personnel Interviewing and vetting of local and third country nationals who were employed at the FOB for general duties translators and security.

Quality Control – more... / Quality Assurance / Safety Specialist – Duties consisted internal audits of guard force and management departments. Audits consisted of making sure DynCorp complies with the SOW (Statement of Work) and that the military is compliant on their side. I conducted safety inspections of all DynCorp posts and facilities. I attended the ISO: 900:2000 Internal Auditor Training Course. I worked closely with the base commander and Provost Marshal on improving base security SOPs and general daily operations. Other responsibilities included payroll and timesheet processing, in processing of new personnel, scheduling and posting of guards and security teams and troubleshooting any problems that occur. Supervised personnel in charge of providing security for several postings, including towers, static positions at ARCENT, SOCCENT and Iraqi Survey Group, heavy gun over watch positions, Entry Control Positions which include search lanes for vehicles, search and X-Ray room for personnel entering and leaving the base and the badge system (DBIDS) system for all personnel. – less
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Great work Enviorment
Administrative Assistant (Student) (Former Employee), Washington, DCOctober 2, 2012
Pros: benifits
Cons: contract ended
Prepared the annual competency report that involved gathering data, analyzing information and graphical interpretations.
•Participated in the establishment of programs goals and objectives for competency programs which ensured non- credential employee are competent when hired and competencies are maintained.
•Work the database that to track all required licensure, certifications, orientation and training.
•Conferred with the HR Liaison officer on marketing of programs and goals.
•Inspected, facilitated, recommended and implemented approved changes to the Human resources joint commission of Accredited Hospital Organization Program.
•Used multiple systems to create and delete files; search files/records; store or extract materials from a variety of software packages; transmit large amounts of information; and reports.
•Provided guidance, interpretations, training and/or briefings on current and proposed policies for assigned civilian, contractor, and military personnel action program(s) to a variety of individuals, managers and key officials.
•Provided logistical and operational support, meeting minutes, setting up conference calls, for army teams worldwide.
•Responded to telephonic/electronic/written inquiries in reference to the management of enlisted soldiers.

•Provided high level administrative support
•Served as a receptionist, which included answering telephones, relaying messages, making appointments, and providing information about staff schedules & office routines
•Acted as department point of contact with office management and vendors to streamline office procedures. – more...
•Prepared meeting packets and provided minutes taking support to the staff for meetings
•Coordinated travel arrangements,
•Prepared expense reports
•Processed reconciliation of office invoices
•Ordered office supplies
•Reviewed and distributed company mail
•Prepared a variety of standardized written documents, handwritten drafts, edited files, and processed electronic filing
•Organized and maintained confidential information
•Handled and answered customer inquiries and acted as a problem identifier and resolution resource
•Answered questions and provided guidance/troubleshooting – less
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Life as a Contractor in Iraq.
Security Specialist/Operations Chief (Former Employee), Erbil, Iraq, Kirkuk, Iraq, and Basrah, IraqSeptember 18, 2014
Pros: working with outstanding people and being well compensated.
Cons: being away from loved ones.
Working overseas supporting the State Department(US Embassy) in Iraq was quite a challenge and involved a lot of personal sacrifice. Deploying for three months at a time required one to be motivated, disciplined, capable of making decisions in stressful situations, and still managing a family life that was thousands of miles away.

A typical workday (which was everyday except maybe Friday), involved ensuring that all teams scheduled to participate in missions had necessary information regarding said missions such as event, venue, client, intel reports and threat analyses, as well as individual team roles in the execution of the mission. During the execution of the missions, my role was simply to keep Teams and my superiors informed of any significant changes that may affect personnel safety or security. At the end of the day, after action reports were discussed if there were any significant incidents or lessons learned, otherwise, it was a simple briefing of the following days schedule and execution of those missions.

In nine years of working for the US Embassy in Iraq, I was able to hone skills such as conflict resolution, threat assessment, mission planning, staff supervision, classroom instruction, coaching and mentoring, conducting site surveys, executive briefing/reporting and maintaining client relations.

The hardest part of the job was easily isolation from everything that most people see as everyday living. Being away from family and having a life outside of work isn't always an easy adjustment to make which is were good co-workers and good managers and leaders come – more... in. I was fortunate enough to have worked with and mentored by very good leaders. Leaders who have taught me the fine balance of mission accomplishment and taking care of those in your charge.

The most enjoyable part of the work for me, aside from the satisfaction of serving my country, was being around people who genuinely cared about each other. Being around people who would die to protect you and for whom I would do the same is an invaluable experience. – less
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Excellent job!
Emergency Management Specialist (Current Employee), Washington, DCFebruary 3, 2014
Pros: lots of opportunity, friendly working environment, great place to build skills, excellent place to network and learn more.
Cons: at times can feel overwhelming with work load
Work is fast paced, busy, and the pile never gets small but it's filled with opportunity to learn, network, and ultimately be a well rounded individual. I learned how to juggle mutliple projects with multiple deadlines. Excellent presentation skills and team oriented work loads were two great areas of growth for me. Management has an open door policy with employees to come in and discuss work related issues. Working for a federal department generally means most of the workers are tied to the military. This was an adjustment for me having only ever been a civilian but have grown to really like the atmosphere.
The hardest part is adjusting to the pace and work load. Sometimes answers are slow to come from the top and can stall projects. Other times they come too quickly accompanied with dozens of other answers and can seem overwhelming. This ultimately helped me understand how to juggle and maintain multiple projects at once. The best part of my job is going out and meeting the folks that work at the Department and engage with them in everyday life. Truly, the State Department has a wonderful base of employees who love where they work and what they are working on. Wonderful place to work and I encourage all to seek an opportunity here.
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State Department
Human Resources Specialist, GS-201-12 (Former Employee), Washington, DCApril 13, 2015
Pros: Friendly coworkers and staff, work-place flexibilities, I had the opportunity to work abroad.
Cons: I had some regrets on not joining the foreign service at the State Department, when I had the opportunity to convert, moving every 2-3. years, uprooting and facing world challenges of culture shock.
I independently processed a full range of personnel actions. prepared reports and correspondence to produce statistical data.

I learned to process both Foreign Service and domestic Civil Service employee actions.

My co-workers were great and easy to get along with while serving 18 years at the department.

I acquired the knowledge and skills and became the awards coordinator for the bureau. I took the required training and became the mentoring and bureau facilitator for the State Department Bureau of African Affairs.

The hardest part of the job was serving in a dual position as back-up employee payroll specialist without having any prior formal training from outside sources. I trained myself by researching and interpreting rules regulations and taking notes from the lead payroll specialist.

I miss being employed by the State Department there were many opportunities for career advancements.
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Challenging, dynamic and fulfilling work within an international public health leading USG agency
COUNTRY LEAD (Current Employee), Washington, DCDecember 3, 2014
Pros: travel and observed federal holidays
Cons: short fuse tasks and abundance of daily meetings, deadlines and duties.
No two days are the same. Daily tasks include triaging requests for information, trouble shooting a myriad of programmatic and financial issues, procuring technical assistance and daily interaction with on the ground team as well as various interagency senior management.

Great environment for learning about USG's foreign policy as it relates to its International HIV/AIDS response and funding.

Diverse staff from all walks of life and professional backgrounds working towards a common goal of containing the HIV epidemic with global partners.

Work life balance is a challenge both because of the demands of the job and travel.

Co-workers are an amazing group of dedicated, smart, passionate and team oriented professionals. Many turned out to be mentors and close friends.
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Great experience in dangerous environments overseas
Attorney, Consular Officer (Current Employee), Washington, DCSeptember 18, 2012
My greatest contribution to my country has occurred when I've served overseas. In addition to my three years in Yemen, I have served as acting head of a consular section six times, four times in Monrovia, Liberia (1995, 1998, 2003 and 2004), Dhaka, Bangladesh (2001) and Almaty, Kazakhstan (1997). Also served a temporary assignment in the Consular Section of Embassy Baghdad (May 2005). I made two more trips to work in the Consular Section in Bangladesh (2000 and 2003). I also travelled to assist Embassy's abroad in dealing with emergency situations where they needed additional assistance, such as my trips to Cali, Colombia in 1995 (assisting U.S. citizens and their families in the aftermath of an aircrash), Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1998 (same situation) and Grendad/Grand Cayman in 2004 (assisting U.S. citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan). Additional trips overseas include Brazzaville/Kinshasha (1997), Somalia (1994) and Haiti (1991).
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Promote peace, support prosperity, and advance the interests of the United States abroad.
Foreign Service Officer (Current Employee), Washington, DCOctober 15, 2013
The mission of a U.S. diplomat in the Foreign Service is to promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad.

If you’re passionate about public service and want to represent the U.S. around the world, a challenging and rewarding career is waiting for you. The opportunity to work and experience cultures, customs and people of different nations is truly a career unlike any other.
The work you’ll do will have an impact on the world.

You will be asked to serve at one of any of the more than 265 embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions in The Americas, Africa, Europe and Eurasia, East Asia and Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia. Some of these posts are in difficult and even dangerous environments, but working in them affords great challenges and rewards.
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Nice place to work
Visa Specialist (Former Employee), Recife, BrazilFebruary 7, 2014
Pros: good learning expierence
Cons: small office
During a typical day my tasks were:

Managed daily intake of visa applications and back-end process flow at the U.S. Consulate General in Recife, Brazil.
Developed metrics and mechanisms to track and improve the visa process, decreasing wait time for applicants from over one hour to less than 20 minutes.
Implemented new processes to decrease the number of errors in the visa process and improve relations between American and Brazilian staff members.
Engaged in regular training and preparations for managing potential crises, including training specific to large-scale events such as FIFA’s Confederations Cup and World Cup.
Received professional training on detecting cases of trafficking in persons, document fraud, imposters, and other common types of fraud
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Great mission, great work, even greater people!
Budget Analyst (Current Employee), washington, dcDecember 19, 2013
Pros: parking
Cons: can never take time off
There's nothing typical about working in a central budget shop. Hair on fire is more what it's like but the work we do is rewarding! Management isn't the greatest but they have pressure from Senior principals, OMB, and the world trying to maintain diplomacy, keep the lights on, and ensure folks are paid. No execuse for poor management but hey, it's reality. I learned what an errata is and how the visa process was impacting the US economy. Hardest part of this job is not being able to plan a vacation. Work life balance is a challenge. Outside of being proud of the work we produce and my contribution to the success of the Bureau, the most enjoyable part of my day hands down, is the laughs I share almost daily with my work friends. We work hard but laugh harder!
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Personal Assistant
Personal Administrative Assistant (Former Employee), Washington, DCAugust 29, 2013
Pros: full benefits, opportunity to travel, various opportunites for advanced adminstrative training
Cons: no parking
A typical day at work is challenging, long and hard. This too is another opportunity to learn the inner workings of the political climate and how the Department of State works directly with The White House to accomplish is world wide political agenda. Management style varies and because managers cycle every 2-3 years, you never have the chance to get use to any particular style. I've learned an overwhelming amount of administrative skills during my tenure to include conference planning, advanced administrative support and staff assistance/program management techniques.
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Great colleagues and wonderful opportunities for interns
Student Temporary Employee Program (STEP) (Former Employee), Washington, DCFebruary 11, 2012
Pros: great people, great opportunity for professional development
Cons: bureaucratic processes slowed down progress, budget subject to congress
I really enjoyed working in my particular office (the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization) because I felt that as a student, I was treated as an equal to my colleagues. I also was given a variety of assignments and worked on various teams during my time with the office. I also appreciated the interagency structure because it taught me a lot about the U.S. Government writ-large as well as the various processes and structures to address major national security issues.
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Can be a satisfying place to work.
Project Controls Engineer (Former Employee), Arlington, VAJanuary 28, 2015
Pros: friendships
Cons: clock in - clock out time sheet
Typical day - 0730 to 1830 or later; work overload
Learned - lots of bright, energetic people; lots of available training that is rarely used directly in one's job; little direct training in your current job; lots of critics; some helpful mentors; wheels of the USG turn slowly; newcomers love to "reinvent the wheel."
Management - Few good managers but many who are learning as they go; many weak or untrained managers.
Co-workers - many likeable and well educated workers; very few lazy bums; many caring individuals who are supportive
Hardest part of job - staying organized
Most enjoyable part of job - each new morning and each new challenge
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Very nice and productive job
HUMAN RESOURCES ASSISTANT (Current Employee), BaghdadNovember 17, 2013
Pros: free gym and lunch
Cons: healthcare and danger pay
Provides check-in/out for American personnel to include post personnel data entry for over 1,200 U.S. Direct Hire American employee under COM Authority in Iraq, to include Embassy Baghdad, and two Consulates. Acts as primary point of contact of welcoming and in-/out-processing of American DH employees (PCS, TDY, PSC, EFMs and 3161s Ensures that all COM personnel is checked-in in timely manner using OIP Arrival Report as well as sends at least 30-day notice in advance of HR check out procedures. Drafts, receives and transmits as necessary, and processes all TM channel cables, EVT, and other HR related cables using Web Pass.
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Best internship possible in foreign affairs
Intern (Former Employee), BeijingMarch 13, 2014
Pros: free housing, clearance, looks great on a resume, work with amazing people
Cons: unpaid
Interning at an embassy is a great experience. During the summer, you're treated like I an actual officer with real responsibilities and all the perks: housing, office, site visits. I can't think of a better internship. Sure, you don't get paid but you're given free housing and they occasionally fly you to another city. Your experience depends on the section you're in, but from what I've heard, each intern really gets the full experience of whichever cone they were in. Pol may get to visit the other country's foreign affairs office weekly while press gets to go to all the press events.
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Front row seat to US foreign policy
Information Management Officer (Current Employee), Virtually every country on the globeAugust 3, 2014
Pros: see the world
Cons: you can fnd small people everywhere
Being able to see strengths and weaknesses of the US Government in their dealings in the middle east. The view from inside is about what the public sees except it is unfiltered by the media. Management does not understand technology and is bound by centuries of historical diplomatic processes.

Intelligence and hard work does make a difference and pays off. At senior levels you have influence and ability to make changes and find job satisfaction.

As a taxpayer, it is hard to sometimes witness the waste, and despite all efforts it goes virtually unchecked.
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Niche position in an elite field
Project Manager (Contractor) (Current Employee), Washington, DCSeptember 18, 2015
Pros: excellent pay
Cons: weak management
Typical day at work:
- Responding to project request inquiries from a variety of federal agencies
- managing ongoing projects
- creating estimates and verifying funding for future projects
- working on self and team-initiated side projects which could include: Updating Client Guidance, training new linguists in CAT tools, establishing new workflows, developing a translation training program

What I learned:
- Project Management
- government work styles
- politics - internal, external, global

Most enjoyable part of the job:
- Working alongside incredibly smart people
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In need of management overhaul
Assistant General Services Officer (Current Employee), Buenos Aires, BJune 8, 2015
Pros: Family oriented, Travel
Cons: Uncertainty, local instability, lack of effective leadership
A typical day consists of dealing with ineffective management and entitled officers. I have learned that for effective management this organization need additional oversight from the U.S. public. Some of my co-workers where great people, but demoralized by the lack of senior level support. The hardest part of the job was seeing the amount of waste and ineffectiveness throughout the organization. The most enjoyable part was feeling like I was supporting the U.S. Government's mission abroad.
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Productive workplace
Logistics Security Specialist (Former Employee), BaghdadApril 8, 2014
 Coordinated security and safety program implementation; and policy matters.
 Reviewed services, contract requests, and requisitions to assure that governmental and departmental standards were applied and conformed to applicable regulations and procedures.
 Understanding and enforces the Department of State responsibility pertaining to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITARS), and Arms Export Control Act (AECA); within the scope of contracting services to the contractors on the project.
 Provide daily oversight for a vehicle fleet with a total value over $15 million.
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Exciting but could stressful place to work, not good for a single parent.
Diplomatic Security Officer (Current Employee), Washington, DCOctober 1, 2015
Pros: Good pay and over time
Cons: be at work an hr before your shift starts, never know what time you'll get off
Typical day- There is no typical day. Something different everyday.

Learned- A lot of security protocols from all aspects.

Management- For the most part, everyone is treated fairly. People just need to communicate and they'll work with you. That's part of management.

Co-workers- Some very interesting people.

Hardest Part of the Job- Looking for parking.

Enjoyable Part of the Job- The multiple areas of work locations where as you can learn something new.