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March 21, 2006 6:10 PM   Subscribe

I work for a small dot com that just was acquired by a larger dot com (one with a historically shady reputation). What are some signs that my job may not be safe, even though I've been promised it is? What are signs that we are just going to be chewed up and discarded? How will I know when it's time to rewrite the resume and get out?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total)
Having just been laid off after a merger (well, been given notice that I'll be laid off. whatever) here are my warning signs.

1. First of all, rewrite your resume immediately and begin looking at the job market regardless. There's no down side to doing this and it may help you a lot. I got suspicious early and as a result I have a new job lined up.

2. Beware of lots of closed-door meetings with no explanation.

3. If your boss seems to be out of touch or out of the loop, this is not a good sign.

Basically, you want to look for signs that management knows something that they don't wish to communicate to their employees. Sounds paranoid, but I don't know what else to tell you.
posted by selfnoise at 6:22 PM on March 21, 2006

1) If your job functions are already filled by a team in the larger corporations and you aren't one of the very top performers in your company

2) If most of the business is relocating to the larger company's headquarters.

3) If one of the reasons for the merger is "to gain human resource efficiencies"
posted by visual mechanic at 6:35 PM on March 21, 2006

The exact same thing happened to the company I worked for back in 2004. Here's what I learned.

1. Do as much online research about the shady dotcom as you can.
2. Learn about any other acquisitions the shady dotcom has made and what happened to the people who worked there.
3. Update your resume immediately--the company you work for was acquired for its assets and/or clients, not the employees. You are all expendable. Acquisitions are costly and there were probably many debts that had to be paid off.
4. Begin the process of emotionally detaching from your old job, company culture and coworkers--things will begin to change and it's best to be ready.

I wish you the best of luck.
posted by gsh at 6:36 PM on March 21, 2006

It's always a good time to have a current resume.
posted by pompomtom at 6:37 PM on March 21, 2006

Change in the usual pattern in the content/context/affect of communication with your superior(s), a shift from verbal to written communications, shunning, disinterest in your work, closed door meetings, fewer questions about personal life, less eye contact, appraisal on yourr part that you are vulnerable because of an objective analysis..Just a few, I honestly think that most people sense it coming unless it has been a very formal and structured environment.. Oh yes, past evaluations that were mediocre. A lack of specific expertise on your part, a market saturated with similar skills/expertise and finally, a low social IQ Good Luck
posted by rmhsinc at 6:37 PM on March 21, 2006

I've been through numerous acquisitions and mergers. The only thing you can do is keep your head down, update your resume, ask around, find out your options and look for reassurance from your boss. Your boss may or may not know what is ultimately going to happen but he or she can at least let you know, based on what he or she knows, if you are likely to be retained or not. If he or she doesn't know anything, then make sure you start looking.
posted by notmtwain at 6:45 PM on March 21, 2006

Ask your boss what new projects or things are coming through. Hell, ask your boss anything.

If he/she's being evasive, has no idea or just generally mouths meaningless platitudes - "we'll find out soon enough" etc. - then start worrying.

if you find yourself twiddling your thumbs and having time to read every single post on MetaFilter, start worrying.

If the new dotcom already has staff working on similar things to you, start worrying.

It's always a good idea to update your resume anyway.

Oh, and you'll know the crunch day comes when you turn up to work and the security guards aren't their usual jaded selfs but alert, and there's *more* of them.
posted by badlydubbedboy at 7:31 PM on March 21, 2006

It's all about duplication of existing roles. The reason you do mergers and acquisitions at all is to add resources where they are needed and consolidate resources where they are not.

Are you a Job X person? Do they have a Job X person? Does the company need two of these people? If not, does one Job X person work better/faster/cheaper? If yes, then the other guy probably gets laid off. You may not like it, but it's business.

Moreover, since your company is acquiree, not the acquirer, making the case that you are better/faster/cheaper than the other Job X person is significantly more difficult, because you're not the familiar Job X person that everyone knows and loves.

So, imagine you're the CEO and take a look at the landscape. How could you save money and still get the work done? If the answer is, "get rid of me and just make the other guy work 30% harder," then you're in trouble.
posted by frogan at 12:55 AM on March 22, 2006

Haha... my wife worked for Kozmo. And I've been laid off a few times.

Anyway, post-merger job decisions are the same as pre-merger job decisions -- if you hate what you do, you should probably look for something else. The resume should always been updated and it's never bad to try and get to know other folks who do what you out in the community, regardless of your current job availabilty status.

Anyway, there's no reason to assume the worst. It might be a cool opportunity. Shady company <> bad people... it might just be management. The new venture might have interesting resources that you can take advantage of.
posted by ph00dz at 5:26 AM on March 22, 2006

Another sign: Large numbers of the most smart, in the know, people are quitting for other jobs.
posted by matildaben at 8:11 AM on March 22, 2006

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