What to Do When Your Company is Acquired

For the first year ever, merger and acquisition activity around the world surpassed $5 trillion in 2015, breaking the previous record of $4.6 trillion set in 2007, according to Dealogic data. And, it seems that so-called merger mania has continued throughout much of this year. With so many companies buying, selling and merging, odds are you may find yourself in the middle of a challenging career dilemma, especially if your company is the one being sold.

If it happens to you, don’t panic. There are strategies you can employ to improve your chances of not only keeping your job, but of advancing your career with the new company.

First, make up your mind to do your job better than ever, despite the obvious uncertainty that’s permeating the halls of your firm. In fact, ask your boss how you might be able to help out with the transition, and take on an assignment that may fall outside of your area. Resist the temptation to lay low and wait out the storm. Enthusiasm and a positive attitude go a long way when the new company executives are evaluating who to keep and who to send packing.

Second, look for opportunities to network with the new leadership team. Ask someone to introduce you to the top brass, or ask for a meeting with one or more of the new managers to discuss how you can play a role in the new regime. Then, treat the encounter as you would a job interview, i.e., an opportunity to prove your worth and show your support of the new company’s goals.

Third, don’t fight city hall, as the old saying goes. You can either adapt to the new culture, or dust off your resume and start looking for another job. Gladly accept new assignments, even if you view the work as demeaning. Don’t complain about the new sick leave policy, your new title, or the stricter dress code. No one wants a disgruntled employee moping around the office, lowering morale among the workforce. A bad mood could put your career at even greater risk.

Finally, as a safety net, send out a few feelers during this time of transition, letting your network know you would like to explore new opportunities. Despite your best efforts to hold on to your position, the new management team may still decide to replace you with one of their own employees. It’s better to protect yourself and be ready for any possible outcome.

Regardless of whether you leave or stay, going through a company merger or acquisition can be an enriching experience. The lessons you learn may come in handy the next time it happens.