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How Do I Keep my Job when my Company's Been Acquired?

Q: "My company just got acquired. One by one my long-term colleagues are being terminated and replaced by people from the acquiring firm. I would like to stay in my position, but I may be forced to leave. What should I do?"

A: First, recognize the acquiring company's management is more comfortable surrounded by people it knows and trusts. That's why they are bringing in their own folks. They have nothing against your colleagues. They just prefer working with their own crew.

Unfortunately, like your associates, you are an unknown quantity at the moment, but you can change that with initiative and persistence. If you want the new regime to keep you on board, you will have to quickly become an enthusiastic member of their team.

Start your internal PR campaign by critically evaluating your performance. Are you worth what you're being paid? Are you genuinely adding value to the organization? If you have been coasting lately or your productivity is in decline, mend your ways. It's easy to fire a poor-performing stranger.

Talk to the new management about its strategies and goals. Find out the skills and perspectives the executive team equates with success. Get their opinion of how your position supports their vision for the future. Show genuine interest in their goals and how you might play a role in achieving them.

Once you understand your management's direction, identify how you can enhance their effort to improve profitability, revenue, customer service, product design, operation systems or whatever may be of critical importance. Then, communicate your excitement about the firm's strategy and specifically how you will contribute to it.

Do not hide in a corner hoping your invisibility will spare you a pink slip. Individuals who don't step up to the plate and embrace the new power structure may automatically be construed as, "not a team player."

While you are building bridges with the new management, simultaneously increase your networking efforts throughout your company and profession. The more relationships you cement inside and outside your organization, the more likely you'll have a job once the dust settles.

Despite all your effort, there is no guarantee you'll keep your present position. To stay employed, you may need to rely on Plan B. Networking is the best way to uncover other opportunities, should you find yourself out of the loop and out the door.


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