Think it’s impossible to #LoveWhereYouWork? Think again!

June 20, 2019 - 28 Comments

When looking for roles after university, I didn’t give much importance to working culture. Although at that time, I felt pressured to cast a wide net when applying for graduate jobs, which meant that my standards weren’t as high as they should have been. Having never truly loved somewhere I worked before, I didn’t know how important it was!

My expectations for work were matched to the experiences of offices where I’d worked before and to what my friends had told me about their graduate roles. These places were admin-heavy and task-orientated. They were environments with regimented processes, where little consideration was given to create a working community to be proud of or opportunities to get involved beyond the job descriptions. Friends had said that the shine, appeal and excitement of many well-regarded, competitive “Graduate Schemes” just weren’t all they were cracked up to be once they were through the door.

It was worrying and sad to think of what could possibly lay ahead of me. My university experience had been the opposite of this. Like many others my age, my time at university was exciting, filled with freedom of choice, largely international and extremely enriched with extra-curricular activities – it was difficult to imagine that any job could ever match that!

Until I started at Cisco…

The Cisco culture was evident from the very beginning. On my first morning, I met two people who had both cleared their days to welcome me and make sure I had a comfortable induction. We’ve all been in that awkward situation, when you start a new job on a Monday morning and nobody’s ready for you or maybe even your manager didn’t know you were coming, but that first day at Cisco couldn’t have been more different! My badge and credentials were sorted, my shiny new MacBook was ready and waiting and a full schedule of training and resources was provided to me. It sounds simple, but so many places overlook the importance of that first day experience. Cisco know how to make your entrance.

Really, what had most appealed to me about Cisco when I was applying, was its claim to be a giant global enterprise. Yet, so had many other graduate employers. While hundreds of companies boast and sell themselves to potential talent as global organisations and worldwide players, it’s rare you actually feel this international presence and inclusion once you start.

I began at Cisco in February as part of the “Cisco Sales Associate Program” or CSAP.  Despite being based in the small office in Manchester, I immediately felt as if I was part of something bigger. I was joining eleven other individuals across the EMEAR region beginning the bespoke program. That first morning we all joined a video conference. I couldn’t believe my team was so spread out! London, Lisbon, Riyadh, Brussels, Copenhagen, Istanbul, Madrid, Prague, Frankfurt and me… in my local city Manchester.

But the international element didn’t end there…

We often regard travelling abroad with work as glamorous and exclusive. It is generally something only senior management have the luxury of doing, it comes after years of experience, not weeks…right? Well not at Cisco! After only 8 weeks in the CSAP, my team and I found ourselves travelling to Amsterdam for a week of world-class training with industry leaders!

Taking part in this international trip so early on was as if Cisco gave us an equal seat at the table, showing us how we were valued. It was such good fun to meet my group after spending time training with them virtually. Our managers organised a fantastic week – a private river cruise around the city and lovely restaurants. Plus, we the chance to network with CSAP colleagues based in the Amsterdam offices. If I’m honest, we laughed more than we learnt – and that is seriously saying something.

The best thing is that there’s even more to come.

Our next few months will see us gain exposure in our fields of expertise as well as an even bigger adventure to the Cisco campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, where we’ll meet and train with even more CSAP peers from all over the world.

Cisco has shown me a new world of work that I couldn’t have dreamed of.

After you graduate, you might think that all fun has passed and it’s going be a tough gig to fit into a working world after so much choice and freedom of studying how and when you want. Or, maybe you took a gap year and you just do not know how you’re going to cope being confined to one desk in one office for the next few years.

But I can promise you, that it doesn’t have to be like that. And at Cisco, it’s not.

If you’ve never loved where you’ve worked, you likely don’t believe it’s possible – but it is at Cisco.


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  1. Fantastic!

  2. This was a great read, Milly! Wish you all the best with your Cisco journey :).

  3. Way to go Milly! Great insight 🙂

  4. Great post Milly and the culture is very well described. I am sure it is a starting point of an amazing journey…

  5. What a great read Milly, reminds me of my first few months in Cisco. The people really do make it what it is.

  6. A fantastic post! It's nice to hear how much people value our culture @Cisco. It is positively unique!

  7. Great post Milly; and it's good to know that so early in your career you see that it is a fun and rewarding place to work although you have to work hard. Manchester for sure is the best office 🙂 having young and enthusiastic people join like you continues to feed life and vibrancy into the office.

  8. As a new starter to Cisco too, I couldn't agree more!

    Great post! 🙂

  9. Glad you have been able to see how amazing Cisco is in such a short space of time!

  10. 100% true, and despite Cisco Manchester being one of our smaller offices, it has the biggest soul by far…

  11. Really pleased to see that you are enjoying your career at Cisco and its great to have you part of the Cisco Manchester office community. Cisco has transformed significantly over the past 5 years and our focus on a connected and conscious culture is making a huge impact for both Cisco and our customers.

  12. Great blog Milly …. and welcome to Cisco

  13. Very nice post, thank you for sharing your story!

  14. Very nicely articulated Mills, company culture is so important for people looking for jobs and yields a lot of questions for them. This post hits the nail on the head for those looking for an environment as good to work in as Cisco's!

  15. Great post Lilly ..

  16. Fantastic blog Milly great to have so much energy in our "little" office in Manchester and you are right its the culture at Cisco that makes it truly the most amazing place to work 🙂

  17. Nice post Milly, great to have you on our Collaboration Team

  18. Great blog, Milly and excellent to hear you're happy at Cisco.
    Couldnt agree more. Best Company I've worked for…. and the main reason for that is the culture. I call it 'grown up'. You know whats expected of you, you're given responsibility, the tools to peform and the freedom to bring your personality to work everyday. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  19. Great to see you making the most out of the great culture at Cisco & making the most out of networking.
    Don’t forget about Vegas too.
    Great post Mil keep it up

  20. Brilliant post Milly!

    Couldn't agree more with you, glad you're enjoying your new role!

  21. Great post Milly, I couldn't agree with you more.

    From the very first day, I felt I was part of a global team much bigger than I thought I would at the beginning.

    It has completely changed my perspective on how the first job at a global company would be. And I love it!


  22. Love the blog Milly and feel the same. Glad to have you part of our team in Manchester.

  23. Awesome post Milly! Good read

  24. What a fantastic post Milly! I completely agree with you 🙂

  25. Love the post!! Explains the struggles, obstacles and challenges a recent university graduate faces in the modern world. A very sincere journey of a university graduate, who found her way to one of the best companies to work for. A happy ending.

    No matter where you are in the world the people oriented culture is consistent and on the plus side you get to make friends all over the world!

    #lovewhereyouwork #cisco

  26. Hey Milly,

    Great blog – love it! You're so right and play a huge part in making the Manchester office an even better place to work!

    Keep it up


  27. Couldn't agree more Milly!

  28. Hi Milly

    Great article, I couldn't agree more! The training is world class, the culture is amazing, and it certainly pushes your boundaries at the same time.

    I knew it was going to be great before we started, but I had no idea it was going to be this great!