Have you ever felt like you’re digging your own grave?

Consider this: Remember the last time you watched one of those movies where a hostage, POW or some other captive is forced to dig a deep hole while surrounded by armed antagonists? You just know what’s about to happen. So does the poor schmuck who’s digging the hole. That’s about way we all feel right now.

If you’ve kept up with my posts, you know that the division we work for has just been sold to a competitor. We functional managers of the division (but by no means considered part of the executive level of the corporation that used to own it) have been charged with providing data to the new owner, closing out transactions for the old owner and transitioning things over for both. I’ve personally been involved in the entire process since being sworn to secrecy three months ago and will be until the new owners figure out how to integrate the division into their fold. There are other divisional middle managers from other functional areas that are in the same boat as well. To one extent or another, our knowledge, hard work and experience has helped consummate the sale and will be essential during the transition.

Our former employer, from whose payroll we were just severed (PS with no severance pay), had the expectation that all of our additional work to support the sale was just “business as usual” and part of our normal duties. Our new employer expects us to conduct business, learn and adhere to their policies and procedures and manage all ongoing tasks as “business as usual” within short order as part of our normal duties as well. Both old as well as new employers expect a smooth transition from one enterprise system to another within a few months. There is even a transitional service agreement between both companies that spells out the specifics as well as a timetable. It looks like they are expecting a complete cut over by May. Of course there is no mention of what happens to us. It’s all about continuity and “business as usual” – and making that happen no matter what it takes.

We all know what’s coming. A huge Fortune 500 corporation with unlimited resources has purchased us. They are a competitor as well and located in another state. Our division’s products and marketing channels will quickly be assimilated into their structure. This will result in redundancies galore. They do not plan on keeping any staff in our locale. They already have planty. Our clerical folks and support staffs are frantically looking for other jobs before time runs out. We are charged with keeping them happy, loyal and “excited” about the new arrangement. Many of us (including yours truly) are heavily into the job market as well. Those that are not, are just plain foolish or independently wealthy.

We’ve just met with new owners and are now on their payroll. During the “love in”, we were given an overview (basically a slick made for TV commercial) of their corporation. That was just about it from their side. Questions flew about severance pay if (rather when) positions are eliminated. The response? They’re “working on it”. Questions about retention agreements have been answered similarly. Several of us have even been asked if we are interested in relocating. We, in turn, have asked about relocation policies, our future status within the organization and expected timing should we opt to accept. The response? They’re “working on it”. You see WE need to be patient. They are very busy and they’ve only had a few months to plan this all out.

Shortly after the meetings, we were told that the transition process needed to be sped up. It is now imperative that our division be integrated into their business as quickly as humanly possible. When asked how we’re progressing, we answer that we’re “working on it”. That answer seems to be unacceptable. There appears to be lack of patience on the part of the new owner. We’ve got to do what needs to be done to make this happen faster.

The endgame? We’re sensing that the sooner we complete the transition, the sooner they can cut us all loose. May is not that far off and it is the agreed upon deadline. They know full well that everyone is looking for other employment. If someone leaves now, there is nothing extra for the new owner to pay out. After all, they’re still working on the severance plan. If they can integrate and transition faster, why bother to offer anyone a retention agreement. As for those of us asked if we were agreeable with relocation? Perhaps it was just a “teaser” to entice us to work harder. We just don’t know and they’re not telling us. All we do know is that everyone expects “business as usual” to be hurried along.

Dig faster! Dig faster! Dig faster!


2 Responses to “Have you ever felt like you’re digging your own grave?”

  1. Don Says:

    Food for thought:
    A few years ago I had the opportunity to attend Leadership Academy, an excellent course taught by outside consultants brought in to the company I work for. It was by far the best training in which I’ve ever participated. At the end of the course, the 30 some-off students were broken into six teams. Each team was assigned the task of developing its leadership definition. My team came up with the following:
    Leadership – “the art of inspiring others to embrace a dream and make it a reality”
    Your post seems to place blame in the followers. As my definition suggests, it is the leaders’ responsibility to INSPIRE others to EMBRACE.

  2. thecorporatecynic Says:

    And tasty food at that! Much better than the “Fish” or the “Cheese” that someone moved.

    Too bad that the leaders of the huge corporation that just gobbled up the division won’t read this!

    Come back any time. Your comments are always welcome.


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