Unhappy job at a stable company, or better job at a takeover target?
May 24, 2008 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Should I move from an unsatisfying job at a stable company, to a better job at a company that might soon be sold? I'm not happy at my current job, and have just been offered a better position elsewhere. The problem is, the company that's trying to hire me is on the auction block, and will probably be sold in less than a year.

The two jobs are fairly similar, but the new one has more responsibility, a better group of workmates, and would let me learn more than I'm learning at the current job. Let's say the pay would be identical.

I guess my main worries are:
1) Given that the job market in this industry isn't too saturated, should I worry too much about being laid off in an acquisition? Would it reflect badly on me in the future?

2) Under what circumstances would it be better to stay in my current job, and wait for another offer?

Thanks, hive mind - and sorry about the lack of details...

Throwaway email: shouldigoorshouldistay@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total)
It wouldn't reflect badly on you.

However, if you do take the job, your new job is not only the job description, but also to impress whoever it is that would be on the merger committee so you can stay employed.
posted by Pants! at 9:49 AM on May 24, 2008

If your job is unsatisfying, you're going to have to leave it sooner or later. Why not take the better job now, enjoy it for a year, and then use the better experience from it to get a similar job? And it's not even certain that you'd be laid off after a year.

I don't think it would reflect on you badly to leave this job, provided you don't start a long history of leaving jobs capriciously.

Waiting for another offer isn't a bad idea if the people offer you just got an offer from are willing to wait as well.
posted by ignignokt at 9:59 AM on May 24, 2008

My personal thought would be to go for it.

A few years ago, I was working for a company that was in trouble and likely to get bought over. Friends in the same industry working at a major company in the same geographical area would not have touched my job with a bargepole. Fast forward 9 months. The industry hit a bit of a downturn. My company got sold off cheap and went on to do well. The factory my friends worked at was closed with almost no notice.

The moral of the story is: you never know. Unless the new company looks to be in a particularly precarious position, I would take the chance on the better job and work environment. Your job is where you spend half of your waking life. Having a better, more enjoyable one can make a big difference to your enjoyment of life.
posted by Jakey at 10:11 AM on May 24, 2008

I say go for it. Mergers are scary, but they're great opportunities for advancement. If you make the right impression on the right people, you can ascend much more rapidly than you might otherwise be able to waiting for people to quit, etc.

Besides, you owe it to yourself not to hang around in a crappy situation any longer than you absolutely need to.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 10:49 AM on May 24, 2008

I would say this all depends on if you have mouths to feed. If you are on your own, then go for the riskier/funner/promoting option, it wouldn't be the end of the world if you lost the job - as long as your gut agrees with you
posted by figTree at 10:56 AM on May 24, 2008

Go for it. You may get laid off . . . or you may get a raise and a promotion. Or something else might happen. You're unhappy right now, see? Unhappy. Change that.
posted by gum at 11:09 AM on May 24, 2008

No, no, no!

The first thing anyone does after taking over anything is fire all the people they think they can get along without. How can the established employees of the takeover target protect themselves from this?

Simple; they hire a bunch of new people ahead of the acquisition and hope the new management will be satisfied firing the noobs and leave them alone.

Unless you've always wanted to learn BAA+, don't sign up to be a sacrificial lamb.
posted by jamjam at 1:21 PM on May 24, 2008

Go for it.

You know you don't like your current job, and that if you stay there, you'll still be unhappy in a year.

This other gig sounds better, and in a year, you'll either (a) still be working there, and happier than you would have been if you hadn't taken it, or (b) looking for another job, which is still better than staying at a job you don't like.

A crappy job can make your whole life suck. Take the opportunity.
posted by greenie2600 at 6:55 PM on May 24, 2008

IMO, it's all about "career security" these days, not "job security". The difference? When you focus on career security, it's about what you are learning/have learned, what you have done, who you've worked with, etc... If you have to go look for another job, how impressive is your resume and how strong is your network? Whereas with "job security", you focus on the company, the boss, the stability. Problem is, there is no job security these days.

I say go for the new job, learn what you can, make some new friends, and go from there. If the merger occurs and the new company is great, all the better. If not, then you have learned some new skills and done some new things and are in a better position to find that next job.
posted by elmay at 9:05 AM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

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