Practically every time I turn on the news these days I hear about how “bad” the economy is. I am not sure if the economy is officially “bad” unless you are in the mortgage business but it is most certainly a time of change. There have been lots of notable mergers and acquisitions recently which are good for my business because as soon as employees get a whiff of major changes in management they hurry to update their resumes. Keeping your resume updated is a smart move of course and when changes are imminent it’s a good idea to reach out to your network to find out what the job market is like for someone with your skills. But, don’t jump to a new company too quickly. It’s a good idea to wait and see what the new regime’s goals, vision, and culture look like before making a career move.
While it’s often true that when a company is acquired the acquiring entity often combines jobs and/or replaces employees from the old company with new talent. However it is also true that the cream usually rises to the top and if you are a talented, hardworking individual, who is also willing to accept a new culture and new management style you might be able to thrive in a changing organization. The key to figuring out if you should stay or find a new job is to listen carefully while not panicking.
Listen to what the new management team has to say while (if you can) reading between the lines. Do whatever you are asked even if it is different than the kinds of things your old boss asked you to do. Don’t argue or resist the changes because, at least initially, the new management team is going to be watching and listening to you as carefully as you are to them. They are trying to figure out if the old employees can and will adapt to the new culture that they are bringing with them. Unless you find some aspect of the new culture or new management repellent to you it makes sense to do what you can to stay in your job until the dust settles and you can figure out if you can succeed in the new environment.
If you decide to stay in your job you have to embrace the new culture and work environment even if it is very different from what you are used to. The most common and immediate changes that affect employees in an acquisition are changes to benefits including vacation time/usage, flexible work arrangements, and healthcare. If new management reduces or modifies your benefits but you still want to keep your job you will just have to get used to the reduction. Sometimes, however, new management eventually changes its mind and re-instates benefits after a period of time so if you are otherwise happy with your new job situation it’s worth waiting to see if things change for the better.
You may even find that your new boss offers you better opportunities for challenging work and advancement than your old boss did. But you won’t know until you spend some time getting to know your new boss and figuring out if you can work well together.
The point of this post is to remind you to exercise patience if your company is merged or acquired by another. Don’t rush to quit and find a new job until you are certain that you don’t want to adapt to the new environment. Change can be a little scary but it’s not always a bad thing.