Thursday, March 10, 2016

How You Need to React to News of a Merger or Acquisition

I've been in several conversations over the past two weeks given some news that a company where many of my friends work will soon be acquired. I thought that I might be a good idea to put some thoughts down on what to do if you're faced with the news that a merger or acquisition looms in the future for your employer.

After all, change is hard and changing a job situation can be one of the most stressful experiences that a person can endure.

However, staying in the same place won't guarantee you freedom from stress. In fact, this article on CBS News from 2014 reviews survey results showing that forty-two percent of Americans opted for a job change due to workplace stressors.

So what can you do with so much uncertainty?

Don't Panic

First off, don't panic. Any decisions that you could make in a rash panic mode will most likely end worse than the outcome of just sticking around. Instead, you actually need a calm, thought-through plan on how to make it through the transition period.

Set goals.

Are you going to try to weather the storm and survive in the new company? Are you going to look for a new opportunity as soon as you can? Define a strategy for yourself so to guide your actions.

Be realistic about the facts. What information do you actually have about the intentions of the new company? You need to gather as much information as you can to make a decision about your future. Otherwise, you are altering the entire trajectory of your life on speculation.

Prepare for the worst. 

Be realistic about the worst possible outcome that could happen.

Could you be laid off? Could you be without work for six to nine months? What would you need to survive that sort of a transition period?

If you fear these scenarios, you would need some additional cash reserves in the bank account. You may also need to put together a good plan on how you go about finding a new career. Have you ever changed careers before? If so. perhaps this worst case scenario isn't even all that scary. People change jobs all the time.

Take some time to groom your resume, browse your network, and ask yourself honestly about your career goals.

Work Towards the Best

Once you've come to grips with what the worst possible situation might be, then start thinking about what the best opportunity could be. 

Might the new company see you as an asset that they can utilize to help with the transition? Do they have better benefits? Is there even maybe a growth opportunity within the new organization that doesn't exist within your current company?

Think about what concrete steps you could take that would control your destiny and help shape that type of an outcome. Certainly you may not have complete control of this, but it's important to work towards that outcome.

Maybe the best outcome for you actually is to change careers. If so, start taking steps to identify your network, how you can leverage them to identify new job opportunities, and start working to get interviews as soon as you can. 

If you see opportunities or you believe there are opportunities with a new organization, start talking to your peers and supervisors to determine what you can do to help with the transition and position yourself to be visible as the merger or acquisition moves forward.


Change is never easy. People fight against it all the time, because the comfort of the status quo lulls them into a sense of security and routine. 

But sometimes outside forces thrust that change upon us, as is often the case with mergers and acquisitions, when owners make pure financial decisions about the future of a company, affecting its employees in the wake of those decisions. 

All too often, I see employees go into a complete panic and start making rash decisions about the future of their careers without actually stopping to think through rationally what would be the best opportunity. Or, I see people paralyzed by fear, not knowing what to do in the face of such a change. 

As you will usually find, taking appropriate time and creating a plan for yourself serves you best in the long run. Then you just need to start working that plan to achieve the best possible outcome for you in your future.

And if something doesn't appear to be working, just adjust that plan into a new one. Adjustments validate what you have learned and create improvements, they don't scrap the original intentions.

Got other tips I could share with my friends living in the shadow of uncertainty? Drop me a line and let me know. I would love to start a conversation with you.