Negotiating job offer in a merger
November 14, 2012 6:26 AM   Subscribe

My company is being purchased. Everyone in my department is getting a job offer with the new company (but many other coworkers are being laid off). Should I try to negotiate for the terms of my offer?

I am not coming from any kind of position of power here; they're taking my entire department because they consider us a good resource, but I don't think they're considering any of us individually. I have many years of experience, however.

I don't have the offer in hand yet, but I'm fairly sure what it's going to look like. The things I'd like to negotiate include PTO (retaining what I already have), work from home days, and workday hours; I am ok with the salary. I don't really know the culture of the new company yet, so I don't even know if working from home is an option there.

So, is this done? I know the typical advice is "hey, it can't hurt to ask." In most cases I'd believe that. But since I'm part of a bulk purchase and not specifically wanted by the new company, should I try, or just be glad I have a job? I'd hate to start off on the wrong foot at the new company.

If it matters, my current supervisory structure will remain the same at the new company (so immediate bosses will be people I've worked with for years). The person I'd have as a contact to negotiate with at the new company is unknown, probably an HR person.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total)
I would suggest waiting a year. The incoming company asked for an inventory of valuable assets and you're on that list so you'll get an offer. But they really don't know you so if their first impression of you is "asks for a lot of shit during a difficult transition" you may find yourself not on that list any longer. Really they don't need more work right now, really they don't, it's easier for the new heirarchy to just find someone else for your job (maybe someone who is right now earmarked to be laid off) than to fight with you about it.

Prove yourself to the new structure first, get the lay of the land, figure out how everything will shake out. Oh and also step up your own job search. Just because.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:36 AM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree that waiting is your best course of action. Acquisitions are fraught periods for both sides of the transaction, and many people at the acquiring company are going to be dealing with more immediate concerns than whether you're happy with your compensation package.

In the interim, learn who the power players in the new organization are (these may or may not be your immediate bosses) and curry favor with those power players in order that when you do approach the company to negotiate your compensation and work from home arrangement, you (1) have work product to which you can refer and (2) the support of people in power.
posted by dfriedman at 6:44 AM on November 14, 2012

Now is not the time to negotiate.

I was in a similar situation when AT&T merged with BellSouth. We were told over and over how important we were. The words during the transition were deliberately left off of the sentence.

1 year and 11 months later, after we were taken out of our territory and put into a home office, after we were religated to one portion of a large team, after our customers were juggled, we were all given notice and a buy-out. (Yippie!)

Move to the new organization quietly, keep your eyes and ears open, learn the terrain and always have an iron in the fire.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:50 AM on November 14, 2012

Do you have another job lined up? If not, what is your leverage here?
posted by empath at 6:57 AM on November 14, 2012

I am not coming from any kind of position of power here;

There's your answer right there.
posted by scratch at 7:10 AM on November 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

I say go ahead and ask. You are unlikely to be let go for asking, and are likely to be more respected because you negotiated. Document the reasons you're worth a lot - longevity, great relationships with clients, product knowledge, productivity, etc. Find out what their vacation policy is, this should be on their HR web pages.
I currently have N weeks of vacation based on seniority; will that seniority be preserved? I currently work offsite 1 day a week. Here's why it's good for the project/ team/ company. I'd like to continue and even consider more offsite days, for these productivity reasons: X, Y, Z

If you work flextime, say, coming in at 7 and leaving at 3:30, ask if that can continue, again citing the reasons why it benefits the company. But if you work a 37.5 hour week, and are worried that overtime will be required, I'd be cautious; you might sound like a slacker. Your approach should be - I am an asset to the company, respectfully asking reasonable questions about the work environment.
posted by theora55 at 8:09 AM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

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