As we climb the corporate ladder, we have much more at stake in our careers. Executives, in particular, play a high stakes game every day when it comes to career management. It is common knowledge that the more we earn, and the higher up we are on the ladder, the longer it takes to find a job when, for whatever reason, we are out of one.
Our ears often ring with “Always keep your resume up to date.” The winds of change can blow us and our careers in different directions. We can also hear that, “During change, no one’s job is safe.” This is a strong concern in the cases of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Therefore, keeping your resume up to day during M&As becomes imperative. Do we do it? Not a chance. Take heart, an M&A doesn’t always mean a job loss and there are ways to prepare better and even, in some cases, take control. Let’s look at some scenarios and options.
- Scenario 1: You know there is going to be an M&A and that the other organization has comparable positions to yours. The first thing to do is to go to social media and look up the organization and its employees on LinkedIn, Google their name, and search on Facebook. This is one time you do want to compare yourself to your equal. Look at education, experience, and knowledge. Are there major gaps between the two of you? If there are, can they be corrected or adequately addressed when the time comes for the organization to decide between the two of you? If you feel confident you are the more valuable employee, you may still want to put feelers out, and update that resume, just in case.
If it looks like there may be some major gaps in favor of the competition, look around the organization and see if there is some internal move you can make. You may be willing to even be this person’s subordinate. Put your ego on hold and learn from him or her.
TIP: If the new organization is a family owned business, think logically. It isn’t likely the family members will come into the acquiring organization. More than likely, they will move onto other arenas.
- Scenario 2: You keep your job and the organization simply becomes larger. There will still be changes and your responsibilities will probably now increase. Think strategically about how you can leverage this to your advantage. While the increases will look good on your resume, think about what systems, processes, or departmental changes might be in order. In other words, take the time to look at the company from a 30,000 foot view and how this growth will affect the strategic plan. You can become a valuable asset to the executive team, the CEO, and the Board.
TIP: Remember to put your ideas in the form of a formal proposal to your boss. That way, you have a record of it and no one is likely to take credit for your ideas.
- Scenario 3: If the other organization is larger or the acquisition doubles your own organization, there may be the opportunity for a promotion. There may be opportunities to manage a multi-city group in the same state, multiple states or a region, or even multiple countries. Again, strategic thinking is in order. Maybe the CEO is not a visionary and cannot see the need for such a position, but you can see it and make the proposal.
TIP: There may be an opportunity to create a position using your set of talents, skills, and organizational experience. Again, look around at how growth and change will affect the company’s goals and fill a future need.
- Scenario 4: You are invited to leave. It’s highly doubtful this is end of the world. Get busy and work your network. A professional can get your resume up to snuff more quickly even it needs polishing. Research companies that you think would be a good fit and begin with them.
Organizational change can affect your career. Always being prepared for the possibility of change is the best deterrent to chaos and panic.
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