This week the tables were turned on me. The shoe was on the other foot, so to speak.
Prior to December 2010 I worked for a large multinational company that was based out of the United States. There is a certain amount of security and peace of mind knowing you work for a company that has a market cap of billions and billions of dollars.
Over the years I worked there it seemed like there was a bi-annual event that occurred regardless of company performance. The acquisition. Sometimes the acquisition was a small player is a secondary market, or a new product category that integrated with our product space. Maybe a competitor that was up and coming would be acquired. Usually when one company acquires another it is for the technology, the people or the customer base. Not once did I ever consider how the employees of the acquired company felt about the acquisition, I just assumed they were ok with it.
Back to December 2010. I chose to leave the large stable company I worked for in Ottawa, Canada to take a new and challenging role in a small emerging company in Atlantic Canada. Certain amount of risk here and I was well aware of this when the decision was made. More than one colleague questioned my decision but I never wavered. There were family considerations that tilted the scales in favour of the move and the upside of this emerging company was incredible and could not be ignored.
Fast forward to Wednesday, March 30, 2011. Less than four months in to my new role at this wonderful emerging company it was announced that it was being acquired by a large, US based, multinational corporation (not the same one I used to work for). This is how it feels; now I know.
I have deliberately omitted the names of the companies involved in this current acquisition as well as that of my previous employer. If you know me well or are resourceful enough you will figure it all out with a few minutes of searching on line. The companies at play are not what is important here, it is the emotions of those involved.
An email went out Tuesday late afternoon “inviting” every employee to a meeting at 7 am the next morning. Only four months with this new employer I had a strong inkling what this was about, that ownership was changing soon. Sitting in a conference room with fellow employees video conference in from two other locations while our CEO announced the largest sale in the history of our company was almost surreal. The group was euphoric and enthusiastic. Then there was concern. Concern about what happens next. Job security, while never guaranteed with small emerging companies, can be tenuous with mergers and acquisitions.
A quick introduction to the new (very proud) owners of the company brought relief and confidence to many. They announce that the goal of the acquisition is to continue to operate and grow in Atlantic Canada, that they have acquired 4 other companies in the past 18 months all experiencing growth. Smiles are seen throughout the room.
Effective sometime in early May I will once again have the pleasure of working for a large multinational corporation. A company that believes that its employees are the reason why they are a successful business and commits to making sure these employees are happy. It is clear the acquisition occurred because they believe they can pour fuel on the fire and our division will grow exponentially faster than if we had been left on our own. Only time will confirm this.
So yes, like many people I work with I am on a cloud right now. There is definitely a strong force moving us in a good direction with the sale of the company we work for. As the excitement builds towards the actual date of acquisition I know there are a few of us that will have the exact same smile on our faces as though they have been photocopied there.
Enough from me on this, I should step away from my laptop and be social, it is 2011 after all.