Employees have started to treat their jobs like a dysfunctional family relationship.
For many groups, the pay is higher than the work truly deserves (not necessarily easy, but also not cutting edge or extremely challenging). After a while, technical skills stagnate or become narrowly focused. At that point it can become difficult to leave, so you stay in the relationship and watch your network become more and more meshed into a closed system and all of your friends work in the same location doing the same thing for 5, 10 or even 20 years.
This is then misinterpreted as a great place to work since the work is easy, you are good at it, and everyone you like is there with you. It creates an odd sense of loyalty that makes it hard to leave unless forced.
The systemic politics is just part of that relationship where all the children are vying for the love of the parent. Layoffs are just the parents throwing the kids out of the house after they graduated. Once you are finally thrown out, you basically have no network and friends that have a hard time hanging out since their world is so closed around "the family".
Even to the point that Cisco hires an transition firm for layoffs that prioritize finding jobs with Cisco partners. That way you can stay in the Cisco extended family and sell the crap they produce - and many take that option out of necessity or the same stupid loyalty that got them into the position. Others spend months rehabbing their technical skills and just trying to emotionally break free from them.
Honestly, the entire place is run more like a cult than a business. There is no wonder those that work there believe it is the greatest place ever - until they finally break free then they realize just how toxic it really was.
The ONE good thing about these never-ending layoffs is that Cisco is slowly destroying its own cult - another couple of years (5 at the outside) and they won't have enough stupid loyal engineers to keep the cycle continuing.