What to expect when your company is bought

I was fortunate to spend my entire corporate career at one company that operated independently so I never had to go through a company buy-out.  However, I was on the other side as our company bought a few companies along the way.  You will likely be part of a corporate merger / buy-out and it is helpful to know what to expect when it happens.  Here are a few things…

1. Documentation

One of the main things you’ll have to do when your company is bought or buys someone else is to gather up documentation about all your systems.  The new buys will want to know exactly how you do everything that you do.  They won’t necessarily want you to keep doing things the way you’re doing them, but they’ll want to know.  To prepare for this you should always have on hand documented procedures for how you do most everything you do including lab notebook keeping, formulating, testing, etc.

2. People change

Expect there to be a change in management and organization.  Often the buyers of your company will want to put their own people in key positions in the new company.  Theoretically, this will make integration with the new company faster.  Also, expect a reorganization to better reflect the structure of the new company.  Rather than being organized by product type you might be organized by brand or visa versa.  To prepare for this I’d suggest reading How to Win Friends and Influence People.  It is a great book on interacting with new people.

3. People leaving

Either people will get fired or they’ll find a new opportunity.  When one corporation merges with another it is inevitable that many of the key players at your company will move on to other companies.  This is especially true of management since the new company wants to get their people in fast.  To remain prepared for this always keep a fresh updated version of your resume or CV.

4. Changing systems

Don’t get used to the way that you do things because if your company gets bought or you buy someone else, everything may change.  Sometimes these changes are for the better.  You get new equipment and the other company did things faster.  But other times changes are just annoying.  For example, they may change the raw material numbers for all the products you work on.  Just be prepared to adapt.

5. Expectations

Another thing that will change when there is a corporate merger are expectations.  You may expect things to get better or worse when the new company comes along however, there is one thing for certain.  Your expectations of what will happen are likely wrong.  It is difficult to predict what will happen to your company when you get bought.  And often what you think is going to happen doesn’t and what you think certainly won’t happen, does.

Remember, you are responsible for your career as a cosmetic chemist.  You may have a company that gives you a paycheck but you are always working for yourself.

During the month of March we are going to focus on a cosmetic science career.  If you are interested in more about having a career as a cosmetic chemist, be sure to see our page on cosmetic science career.

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