WAYS TO SURVIVE A MERGER/DOWNSIZING/REORGANIZATION
of the US workforce fears a job loss, and nearly everyone has experienced
a lay-off, or knows someone who has. Global competition, manufacturing
flight to the third world and de-regulation are among the many causes
of the increasing numbers of downsizings and mergers/acquisitions to cut
costs. Recently, low interest rates and high stock valuations (to pay
for acquisitions) has accelerated the frenzy. This has meant re-structurings
and often new bosses – even new companies for large numbers of American
And there is
no easing of this trend in sight! US organizations continue to merge
and downsize in all sectors. Even government is laying-off
massive numbers of employees (Post Office, NASA, Military, as well
as states, counties and cities).
Can the average American worker
survive – perhaps even prosper – in this world of uncertainty and change?
- Realize no job is
"guaranteed" today, and NOBODY is indispensable.
- Be aware you will face a
difficult culture – will you fit or not? Be objective.
- Management will tell you
change will be gradual, or not at all. DON'T BELIEVE IT! But,
you probably do have a few weeks or months while merger details
- Create "visi-posure"
for self-marketing; accept high visibility voluntary in-house and community
outreach assignments, write articles for company newsletter, etc. for
exposure to company decision makers (about the merger/downsizing).
- Save the company $;
be too valuable to let go.
- "Be there"
– don't be a clock-watcher or sick-out.
- Research the buyer
– talk with buyer's employees about turnover, promotion methods, compensation,
dismissal methods/process, and read the annual report and business articles
- Be congenial; unliked
people are the first to be laid-off.
- Determine what other
jobs could use your skills in the company; what changes will need
- Get feedback (avoid
surprises): frank appraisals from the boss.
- If the prognosis is bad,
make your move and start looking – but try to time the actual
move so you'll get the severance, and then immediately go to the new
- Avoid using credit
cards (interest is a killer).
- Network (attend association
meetings, trade shows, company committees).
- Keep the family informed
- Re-work your resume
to fit the "new" needs of the merged company, or the company
- you aren't doing what
you like to do,
- the company/industry
is not expanding,
- the company is financially
- morale is low (furrowed
brows, grim faces, slumped
shoulders on execs; low productivity elsewhere),
- promotion trends are
sideways or down instead of up,
- outside hiring and "outsourcing"
- Develop the new
skill you need for the job you want.
- Try to put away cash
reserves of 10% of your annual income.
- Plan for asset
re-allocations if needed later.
IF YOU’RE OVER 50…
- Don't panic:
even if job loss is expected, keep a steady hand.
- Keep up your ENERGY
– don’t look old!
- Stay focused – don’t
get lax with administration, procedures and duties.
- Look for new duties
and roles, expand you contacts, activities, value.
- Stay politically
aware and active inside the firm. WHOM you know can be as important
as WHAT you know! And, alliances help alot.
IF YOU DECIDE TO LEAVE (here’s
10 more tips!)…
- Ask for Outplacement
as part of an offer to leave.
- Assess yourself (your
interests, strengths/skills, needs, stresses).
- Set short and long-term
- Create an interview-generating
resume – with keywords and quantified accomplishments.
- Research opportunities
(on databases in libraries and on the internet.
- Network, network,
network, network, network, network, network, network, network, network,
network, network, network – in other words, schmooze or lose!
- Be a pro-active interviewee
- Know how to negotiate
a compensation package (s/he who tells first, loses – don’t tell ‘em
what you’ve been making!).
- Use: the Ratchet-Up Theory!
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