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CIA employees weigh in on workplace through Glassdoor Web site

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By Jeff Stein
Washngton Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 18, 2010; 4:57 PM

Imagine James Bond whining about unfair bosses and step-grade pay raises. Neither can many others.

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But that's so Cold War. Today, CIA employees can air their thoughts about quality of life issues at the spy agency.

A commercial Web site called Glassdoor.com, which offers "an inside look at jobs and companies," has set up a page just for CIA employees.

From the responses so far, the Web site rates the CIA as only an "ok" place to work.

And as of Friday, only five people have contributed - and who knows for sure whether they are who they say they are? But the details, and even anguish, in their responses, ring true.

An intelligence analyst said the CIA was "good for tenure" with "opportunities to move around," and also touted the directorate's "flex schedule."

But it's "not great with advancement or long term work-life balance," the analyst said.

The "hiring overload of the past decade means lots of talented young people fighting for management recognition to gain promotion to higher grades," leaving a "limited number of experienced 'senior' mentors to teach all the new people," this person said.

Another, a "senior analyst," called the agency "behind the times and slow to catch up," with a "bureaucratic mindset among analysts and managers," an "obsession with 'chasing the news' and little focus on real analysis."

The intelligence directorate is "satisfied with mediocre written products . . . closed-minded and unwilling to consider new and different ideas," the senior analyst added.

It's "a fun place to be, but don't make it a career," another intelligence analyst warned.

There's "absolutely a sense of mission with some really motivated people" and "some very cool jobs available," this person continued. "You feel your job is very important, and that you're really doing something that matters."


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