Change in Company Ownership Giving you the Jitters?

If you’re working for a company that’s up for sale or you know that a transfer of ownership is taking place, you may be very concerned about your job stability. What will the new leaders have in mind as they review and retool the organizational structure to fit their new reality? Too often, mergers and acquisitions activity can cause key people to want to jump ship before the sale happens, or to actively disengage as their “golden parachute” of promised severance comes to pass. While they may be justified in thinking their position may be eliminated in the course of the transaction, there are just as many times when new and better opportunities can present themselves with new leadership in place.

This just may not be the time to change jobs, at the same time, don’t resign yourself to a “wait-and-see” mindset. There are steps you can take that will improve your short-term situation and the uncertainty you face, along with your long-term prospects.

Look at what you have in the current organization. Find out how you can build on that and turn more of what you’re doing into more of what you want. Start having conversations with your boss, peers or mentors to help you clarify where you are, where you could be in the future and how you can gain the experience and skills you’ll need to get there. Learn to:

  • Articulate your abilities. Understand the strengths you bring to your current job as well as your other abilities. Be able to describe them and discuss how you might deploy this talent in the future.
  • Ask for what you want. Don’t assume your manager or supervisor knows what your interests or motivations may be should the new corporate entity present you with ongoing opportunities. Figure out what you’re after – more responsibility, less frequent travel, a chance to learn something new – and ask your manager to help you find a way to make it happen, if given the chance to reconfigure your work arrangements..
  • Have a “receiving mindset.” Be open to hearing the opinions and ideas of others. Don’t be on the defensive about the ways things may need to change under new leadership. You should to be able to say, “I don’t like everything I’ve heard, but I get the picture and I will own what I need to change.”
  • Be opportunity minded. If your role is one that has allowed you to develop a lot of transferable skills, seek out ways to move across the organization to expand your knowledge base. Or find ways that you might be able to develop new skills, take on different tasks, or eliminate some of those that diminish the value you currently bring.

When times are tough and company uncertainty is keeping you awake at night, being positive and optimistic about the outcome may be a stretch. But by being proactive and taking control of what you know and want to achieve, chances are both you and your organization will benefit. Remember, your strength lies in you, not your circumstances.