My company just announced it’s being acquired by another company. They’ve told all of us nothing will change but I’m nervous. Besides job hunting, is there anything else I should be doing? S.J., New York, NY
For staffers, being in limbo is one of the most stressful parts of mergers or acquisitions. While your management is telling you what they believe (“nothing will change”), there are always adjustments when companies merge. Taking control by thinking through your options is a good way to manage your anxiety.
You have a much better chance of being satisfied with your job when you go towards something instead of away from it. While job hunting might be the right strategy for you, make sure you understand all of your options by learning everything you can about your new parent company.
Who are the key players? What does the company say about their mission and values? Why does it make business sense for the two companies to merge? What do current employees of the new parent company think? Remember that online reviews on Glassdoor are going to have a negative slant. Disgruntled or former staffers are much more likely to vent online. Your goals are to assess whether it’s a place you would choose to work and to investigate the opportunities that may be available.
Your coworkers and manager are going to be just as unsettled as you are. Protect your mindset by avoiding airing your nervousness about the situation—especially at work. Change the subject or avoid coworkers who are preoccupied with the situation.
When you find yourself speculating about what’s going to happen, talk yourself down by reminding yourself that there are always opportunities, whether within your current company or a new one. Then go out with friends, watch a movie, or read something interesting. Musing on what may or may not happen drains your energy and doesn’t provide a benefit. Don’t forget that you have a current job to do. Focus on your deliverables and use this experience to help develop the skills you need to navigate through ambiguity.