It seems to be the norm these days … mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, rightsizing, downsizing. With the constant “looking over your shoulder,” it’s enough to make your head spin. How does one deal with the feeling of insecurity when bits and pieces of corporate gloom and doom start leaking out? Do you stay put and hope for the best? Will the ax fall? Do you jump ship before the ax falls? Who’s most at risk? These are good questions, and most definitely questions you should be asking yourself if you suspect something is coming down the pike!
This could be a really LONG blog post, so I’ll try to summarize.
GET THE FACTS — Make sure you understand the reasons behind your company’s intent. You might be at risk if….
- They are merging with a company in the same business doing the same kind of work.
- Venture capital purchase … cuts in workforce are almost a certainty. They purchase to optimize profit.
- They are having financial difficulties.
- Management is keeping things quiet, or they are vague in answering questions.
- If your department mirrors or overlaps departments in the other company.
If your company is merging or part of an acquisition that is due to expansion or growth, your job is probably secure.
IT’S JUST BUSINESS:
Yep, I hear ya! It definitely “feels” personal, but it really is just business. BREATHE! In each of the above scenarios, except for expansion, you should expect that there will be a reduction in staff. When let go, for any reason, it’s difficult not to take it personally. So, let’s try to put things in perspective. If YOU are having personal financial difficulties, don’t you look at what you can cut back on in your household to save money? A company is no different. When cutting back, you keep the necessities and eliminate those things that you can live without. Be a necessity!!!
WHO’S AT RISK?: — Tricky question as it will all boil down to the reasons for the cutbacks. Some examples are….
- A shift in workload … workload is suddenly lighter, projects are being reassigned or people are being reassigned.
- Suddenly being left out of important meetings.
- Obvious avoidance (interactions with a boss and / or other’s in management suddenly change).
Most organizations, while going through the process of shuffling, will generally want to keep people as long as they can, but not everyone will be kept for the long term. I hate to be so blunt, but the reality is that people will generally be kept only as long as they are needed to ensure things run smoothly. Once the company finishes their merger / acquisition / reorganization, chances are those that have noticed a change in the way they’re being managed will be let go and they won’t know until the pink slips are handed out. Keep in mind, there are always exceptions (a company that’s simply moving operations, for example). Some organizations will be very up front about their intentions and may even offer employees a “retention bonus” if they will stay on through a predetermined date.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?:
- Most importantly, DO NOT PANIC and start discussing the situation and your “assumptions” with co-workers. This is most definitely a time to keep your business to yourself. Whatever you do, minimize your risk by maintaining your professionalism.
- I’ve written before about that little inner voice (Are You Getting Fired On Friday?) More often than not, it’s a good idea to listen to your gut (your intuition). Most of the people I speak with that have been let go tell me that they had a “feeling” something was up before they were handed their pink slip. The good news is that you don’t have to be a victim. Get ahead of it!
- Position yourself. You should ALWAYS do your best work! It’s especially important during times like these that upper management is aware of the value you bring to the team. “Key players” are essential to the success of any organization and often survive the cut. Consistently demonstrate through documented work product that you (and your team) are essential and will continue to be instrumental in the future success of not only your department, but the company as a whole.
CONCLUSION: One can never be completely certain that they will survive a reduction in workforce so it’s crucial to be prepared for any outcome. Nothing in life is EVER promised. ALWAYS have your resume and job search tools up to date! This is a rule of thumb for anyone, regardless of circumstances. Being able to quickly market yourself is paramount! I recommend that resumes, letters of recommendation and references be up to date at all times. And, maintain a positive attitude … it could mean the difference between being employed, or jobless!
Do you have career or life questions?
If so, comment below and I’ll be happy to respond!
Thanks for sharing your time with me and reading my BLOG!
Warm regards…. Debra
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