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Cisco is the new Nortel

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Technical Lead  in  Raleigh, NC
Former Employee - Technical Lead in Raleigh, NC

I worked at Cisco Systems

Pros

- Steady paycheck
- Benefits (though slightly below-average)
- Good at leveraging market dominance for quick profit
- Salesman/marketeer paradise (engineers bane)

Cons

I've spent more than a decade and a half working at Cisco trying to improve quality:

- *Nothing to offer an innovative, competent, honest engineer who's looking to effectively apply their hard earned technical skills* If you take pride in your work, look elsewhere. CIsco's so-called "collaborative" environment focuses primarily on CYA tactics dominated by political motivations to manipulate image. In these meetings you'll see discussions center around how to make project "look good" and how to hide issues that "look bad". No discussion or activity on doing the right thing for customer and for quality of product(s).
- *Cheapest solution is synonymous with best solution* With such low skilled engineering and management talent in place there is no understanding of common processes such as trade-off analysis between quality of work, time and cost. You are expected to produce the quickest, cheapest solution under all circumstances as long as it looks good on a slide when presented to execs. This is culturally pervasive throughout the organization.
- *Impossible to exert influence* Staff and management are so unsophisticated about the industry and market realities that they don't even know what they don't know. There is no possible way to influence in this type of environment. Your years of finely honed technical skills and field experience carry no weight among the myriad of sales and marketing execs who can't think beyond the current quarter. Short-term sales goals trump every argument under all circumstances.
- *Poor quality work is rewarded* The formula for success is say "yes", do poor work, hide tracks, wait for next re-org, get promoted. There is no follow up on effectiveness or quality of work - ever. You are simply measured on how quickly you get a task done and how well you "make yourself look and your boss look" for quarterly ops reviews. If it looks good on a single power point slide, then it is good - reality is nothing.
- *Factory worker mentality* Management overly obsessed with the adage "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it". With marketing and sales dominating executive ranks, the metrics used to measure performance are nothing short of comical. Not only are such metrics easy to manipulate through unproductive activity but often encourage adversarial internal relationships (for example, tester performance evaluated positive on bugs found per week and developer performance evaluated negative on same metric). This makes managements job easy when it comes time to rank and lay off employees but severely hurts product quality, employee moral and the corporate bottom line.
- *Unrealistic expectations* Other than sales opportunities, execs are years behind in product deployment strategy and customers quality requirements. Execs haven't a clue what it takes to roll-out production ready products and continually ignore people who know and can prove otherwise. As a result, engineers are expected to make up difference in totally absurd time frames and that can only be achieved by producing poor quality work. And if you don't meet expectations, you will hear about it next review.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Executives at Cisco don't listen to anyone unless they are telling them what they want to hear. As cliche as this sounds, they truly surround themselves with "yes men" and have no tolerance otherwise. They succeeded in a dis-functional corporate culture and can't even conceive of anything different. The only way things will change is when the company starts losing money. Of course, by that time it is too late. The people who got you in that position are exactly the wrong people to get you out of it.

I've wasted over a decade trying to dispense advice and give up trying. Good luck.

Doesn't Recommend
Disapproves of CEO

Other Reviews for Cisco Systems

  1.  

    Great company to work for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Hardware Engineer  in  San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Hardware Engineer in San Jose, CA

    I worked at Cisco Systems

    Pros

    Excellent pay packet
    Diverse work culture
    Growth opportunities

    Cons

    Too much politics
    too slow
    Buddy system

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need to build products at faster rate.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Strong corporate management, great employees/coworkers, can-do attitude, but personal life can suffer.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Account Manager II  in  Herndon, VA
    Former Employee - Account Manager II in Herndon, VA

    I worked at Cisco Systems

    Pros

    Motivated work force, great compensation, strong tools and support to get your job done. Some of the sharpest folks I've worked with. Strong customer focus and senior management that does a great job of anticipating market and technology changes all while driving that same market. Fantastic front line sales engineering staff. Very good compensation against it's competitors.

    Cons

    24x7 work culture and competitive work environment. Huge product set to keep track of. Great team environment but with the combination of ambitious lower/mid level management that can take a toll on front line sales teams. Expectation of double-digit growth levels despite market conditions, product weaknesses, etc.

    Also...Sales Manager's needing to show 'effort' can mean unnecessary busy work on campaigns that realistically have a slim chance to work. Sales managers have a very stressful job at Cisco

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hard to offer guidance to John Chambers

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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