Article by: Perry Romanowski

When I started in the cosmetic industry there were a lot more companies than there are. It used to be that there were a large number of small companies, then a bunch of medium sized ones, and a few gigantic companies. Over the years, nearly all of the medium sized ones have disappeared, gobbled up by the gigantic companies. Even big companies are not necessarily safe as this article about the anticipated demise of Avon suggests.

That means odds are pretty good that at some point in your cosmetic science career, you’ll be at a company that either gets acquired or acquires some other company. Either way, you should be prepared with the following tips to ensure you sail through the bumpy waters of change.

1. Networking

When your company gets taken over or is taking over someone else, make it a point to meet the new people coming on board. Ensure that they can place a name to your face. It’s always a good idea to network whether your company is up for sale or not. Remember you work for yourself! While some company may give you a paycheck if things turn south as far as profits go they will have no problem getting rid of you. You should feel the same about them. Create a LinkedIn profile and connect with as many people you know as you can. Help people out if you can and they may do the same for you.

2. Figure out the new organizations objectives

You may have had a clear idea where your company was headed but when you are taken over, that’s all changed. Don’t assume that the product development path you were on is going to be the same. New companies mean new marketing & sales departments which means new R&D priorities. Find out what are the main objectives of the new company.

3. Learn how you are expected to meet them

While finding out what the new objectives will be, learning how you are supposed to meet them is also critical. You may have been judged on how well you could meet deadlines or produce a quality product but some companies do not operate with those values. Figure out how the new company expects you to meet your objectives then start changing your activities to meet those.

4. Figure out what your job is now

When your company is acquired (or acquires someone else) that necessarily will change the structure of your department. Maybe the big boss will be gone or even the mid level managers. That means your job will be changing at least a little bit. Quickly figure out how your job will change and start working on the new things that are higher priorities.

5. Listen to the grapevine

During the acquisition phase there is a lot of gossip and rumors that go around. Make sure you are tapped into the gossip. While it is often incorrect information there is almost always a grain of truth to what is being said. And the more information you can get, the better you can adapt to changes in your job.

6. Get to know the new managers

You know all those relationships you’ve been cultivating over the years with your job mates? Well, you’ve got to quickly start developing relationships with new people. Don’t hide in your cube and hope that the new people go away. And don’t expect them to come visit you. They will be busy trying to figure out what their new job is all about. You have to make it a point to get to know your new managers and bosses. This will be good for your career no matter what happens.

7. Move on

Whenever there is a significant change in your workplace, it’s always a good time to think about other opportunities for you. If your job is eliminated then you will have at least been looking for new possibilities. So keep that resume or CV updated and keep those networking connections viable. If you ever thought of starting your own company, a takeover is also a great time to make the jump. Although you might want to wait for the compensation package to kick in.

If you got nothing else from this article, the one thing I want you to remember…

You are always working for yourself.

Want some more career advice? See our cosmetic science career page.

4 comments

  1. Robert Zonis

    Having been through this several times myself, I would say that the number one rule to keep in mind is “Assume your position is about to be eliminated – even if they tell you that you are safe”. Network, update your resume, talk to recruiters, even go on interviews.

    1. Perry

      Great advice Robert! At my old company eventually everyone’s job in R&D was eliminated. A few people moved to Connecticut but not many at all. And the ones that did mostly quit less than 2 years later.

  2. Duncan

    Also remember that when the new bosses come in and talk about how things are going to be going forward, they are on a mission to make sure that all the staff with the unwritten knowledge don’t make a run for it as soon as the new sign goes up.
    That means that “Official” information on the grapevine will be very tightly controlled to the very last full stop.
    Also you’ll suddenly find recruitment agents getting interested, as they get paid for moving people on. Keep them on side, but don’t sell yourself too short.

    1. Perry

      Good point Duncan

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