Surviving M&A Job Upheaval

Susan Hall

Bloomberg reports tech companies made $100 billion in acquisitions last year and the pace is expected to heat up more in 2011.


Companies including Dell, IBM, Google, Oracle, HP and others are busy integrating business units and consolidating the work force, which often means big layoffs when companies have redundant staff.


How do you decide who to keep and who to let go? Unfortunately, some companies ask everyone-at the existing company as well as the one being acquired-to apply for a set number and type of positions. In effect, that leaves people at the acquiring company applying for jobs they already hold. After seeing her article on dealing with a new boss, I asked Boston-based career strategist Priscilla Clamen for some advice on applying for your job when the bosses already know your work history.


She called me up to say, "This is bad. This is really, really bad." In effect, she said, if a company wants to send worker morale into the toilet, there's no better way to do it.


We've published her survival tips as a guest opinion piece. She writes:

First, there is the not-so-subtle implication that everybody in the group that is asked to reapply isn't somehow up to snuff professionally or that the new people who are coming in are smarter or better. The reapplying approach ensures that everyone feels angry and upset with the new management.
Second, this approach pits colleagues who may have worked together for years against one another. Usually, when a work unit as a whole is laid off, they can share leads and references, even coach each other. Not in these circumstances. Let the political games begin!

In a nutshell, she told me the company will keep those with the most up-to-date skills, who have demonstrated the ability to adapt and learn quickly, and those who have the best attitude. She writes:

Don't let the negativity get to you. This is the most important piece of advice I can give you. ...Stay cool, and think through your options. This is an important career decision point for you.

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