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Tales of an acquired employee

Posted by Meg Bear on November 26, 2008


rws It occurred to me yesterday, that in the months to come, many people who do not find themselves rightsized will find themselves acquired into a new company.  Having had the privilege of experiencing this myself, I thought I would give the benefit of hindsight view.

When we were first acquired into Oracle, there was more drama than a high school prom.  From DHL verifying if you had a job (or not) to senior executives crying on the phone telling you how they had failed.  Even those of us who believed we had skills to contribute were left to wonder how exactly it was going to work out.  What was going to happen to our products? our teams? our roles? 

Acquisition is an interesting situation where you find yourself part of a volume discount purchase.  When you apply for a job, you get a sense that they want you.  When you are acquired, you find yourself happy that they had your home address. 

You also are experiencing this change with a large group, resulting in mass speculation and lots of rumors.  My general advice is to give it time and don’t believe every scary rumor you hear.  Anything you worry about at the beginning is probably the wrong thing anyway.  Do your best to not sweat the small stuff and to be flexible to new ideas

Most importantly I would recommend you remember that you have a new job, it is not a continuation of your old job with new a new logo on the paycheck.  Just as you did when you started working for your current company, you need to attempt to introduce yourself often, listen a lot and learn the language of the group.  Like any new job, you need to give yourself (and others) some time to get oriented.  If you take the attitude that your job is new, your expectations are better set.  You find yourself pleasantly surprised when something works as you are used to (vs. annoyed to find it different).  You find yourself happy to have your vacation accrual continue from your initial start date (vs. annoyed to find the vacation policy different) and so on.  With a new job you expect that you are the one who will have to change

Sure, you didn’t ask for this new job, but at the same time you managed to get it without having to actually interview, so you have that going for you (which is nice).  Acquisition is scary for us because we have so little control.  Having confidence in your abilities and taking the time to find out how you can best contribute to the new objectives of the combined company, will help you focus on things you can impact and hopefully help you to quit stressing about the things you cannot.

Change is good for you.  It is good for your skills, it is good for your network, it is good for your soul.  Use the change to your best advantage and give it time for your plan to yield fruit.  If you can manage to stay focused on going forward and not spend your time looking back, you will find the transition will be a lot easier.

Looking back at my own experience, I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to join Oracle.  I have crafted my ideal job, I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone, I have met amazing new people and I’ve learned a lot of new skills.  As a personal kicker I have also managed to shorten my commute. 

I am hopeful that the changes others experience in their own employment is full of similar opportunities.  A lot is about mindset.  Be open for change and patient that it will take time and you will be fine.

3 Responses to “Tales of an acquired employee”

  1. Things can be scary for those working for the acquiring company too, I mentioned in one of my first blog posts

    http://davidhaimes.wordpress.com/2007/11/30/is-oracle-cool-again/

    “Oracle is gobbling up competitors and that is all anybody talks about when you mention you work for Oracle, nothing about our products or new technologies, it’s just who we bought or who we will buy next. These were turbulent times for Oracle itself too, we were getting used to the regular injection of new talent, new products, new ideas and new cultures. As a legacy Oracle employee in Apps development I have witnessed this first hand, I reported to a director from Peoplesoft and I have recruited a number of employees that joined Oracle from acquisitions – I feel I have a real Fusion team and we’re stronger for that.”

  2. Amy Wilson said

    The new job analogy is perfect, Meg. I think that a huge saving grace for me was to actually start a new job after the acquisition. It gave me a tremendous boost of energy and change felt completely normal.

  3. Louise Barnfield said

    Thanks for a thought-provoking and helpful post at this time, Meg! You make some excellent points, and have yourself proved the wisdom of your words.
    Speaking as an Oracle-ancient, I agree with David that it can also be unsettling for those on the other side of the acquisition fence! You’re right that a positive and flexible attitude is the key, and that one definitely shouldn’t sweat the small stuff or believe the rumor-mill.
    Personally, I’m delighted we ‘acquired’ you and so many of my other PSFT colleagues. In our merged team, I’m definitely in the minority these days but, far from feeling any adverse effects from the ‘mini take-over’, I’ve been re-energized by my team-mates and always felt the lurve!!🙂

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