Capitalist Definitions: "Manager Pass-Through"...
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CAPITALIST QUOTES: "Enjoy Your Period of Low Engagement"...

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself
Well...How did I get here?

--Once in a Lifetime, Talking Heads

(Cue deep movie trailer voiceover vibe...)

It's a morality tale as old as time itself.  Little company does good.  Little company cares about all the right things.  People at the little company take everything personally and act as owners.

Then little company gets swallowed by a beast. Not just a big company, but a company that has bigger revenue than the GNP of half the world's countries.

Big company slaps process and "structure" into little company.  Employees who once acted like owners now find themselves with strange titles and reduced responsibility/autonomy.

One of my friends in the industry recently dropped me a note. She's in that situation above.  Here's what I told her, tongue pressed hard against my cheek:

"It's really better for you. All that individuality was just extra work. Mail it in and embrace the extra time you've just gotten back."

"Enjoy your period of low engagement".

Of course, I don't believe that.  But her choices seem to be:

  1. Find a new job.
  2. Channel her Rage Against The Machine and keep stirring things up.  Get fired after a year.
  3. Mail it in and enjoy the low expectations for awhile.

What did I miss?  The hard thing about these situations is that when someone gets to that Director/VP level, it's easy to say you want to walk, but hard to do.

You worked to get there - now you're just supposed to hit the bricks and bolt?

If only that did the acquisition cared.  Mapping the newbies to their job codes and hardwiring them into complex org charts is always more important than growth.

(exit to dramatic movie trailer music...)



Inta Berzins

Probably the best post on M&A impact I've seen in a loooong time.


I read this entry 2 hours ago, and am still trying to decipher my reaction to it.

I work for that Megacompany. I’ve been with Megacompany for 5 years. Last year, Mega acquired Micro, and I was transferred across the nation to be Micro’s division HR head. In the past year, I’ve struggled, along with Micro. You’re correct, there are individuals here who had lofty titles (title inflation ran rampant here – the shop lead was “VP of Machining”). In Mega’s world, they’re no longer enjoying that nomenclature. You’re correct, there is less freedom and autonomy. Your post almost sounds like a note of sarcastic “it is what it is, so suck it up” dosing of reality.

Mega acquired Micro for many reasons. I have to admit, liking their culture or naming convention was most likely not even on the list of considerations. Yes, Mega purchased Micro because businesswise, they were doing something right. But they were also doing some things poorly. Changes did have to be made. I have had the difficult conversations of “this may not be the right change or right environment for you now” with several long-term employees.

But is it as bad a thing as I’m interpreting from your message?


Inta - glad you enjoyed it...

Kim - I think you raise some good points. The first thing that your company did right was to embed you with Micro. And to be sure, all the issues aren't on Macro's side. A lot of it comes down to change management and integration, or a lack there of. Sounds like you were ahead of the curve. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of Kim's in these situations- mostly the "two bobs" coming in...


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