Friday, August 17, 2007

Surviving Mergers and Acquisitions

Many of us who work in the for-profit world dread these two words: 1. merger and, even more so, 2. acquisition. Even when handled well, mergers and acquisitions provoke a great deal of anxiety in workers at all levels. And when handled poorly, mergers and acquisitions can be just devastating. Here are a few ideas for surviving a merger or acquisition in the workplace.

Accept that this is painful I'm not a fan of the Suck It Up variety of career advice, which seems altogether sponsored by the corporate overlord. (Of course, they want you to suck it up.) I don't suck it up well. I don't expect other people to suck it up.

If you don't use tonglen meditation already, you might explore it as it's one of my primary strategies for dealing with emotional pain. And mergers and acquisitions can be painful. You're grieving for a job and work environment that is being taken away.

Keep Perspective Surviving a merger or acquisition really entails embracing a long-term perspective. In the forty or so years that you may work formally, there are going to be some bad days. And, hell, there are going to be some bad years. Keep in mind that you are only experiencing a small slice of the larger pie of work. And that occasionally you may get a bitter bite. Wait, wait. Perhaps I have another inept metaphor. A merger or acquisition is like a frame from a much longer movie. A frame can show something truly awful in a much longer and not-so-awful story. Keep the movie (and pie) in mind not the frame (or bite).

Be Active And I do mean active in several ways. Since a merger or acquisition is extremely stressful, please keep up healthy exercise habits (and sleep habits and food habits). And keep active in your work life. Maintain your networks, talk to others in the industry, let them know that you may be looking for a new job, and send your resume out. Activity in this fashion promotes a sense of well-being rather than a sense that you are doomed to be laid off.

Other strategies for surviving mergers and acquisitions?