Town Talk Features

The Velvet Hammer: 6.13.18

There are rumors flying that the company I work for will be acquired in the next year. I’m concerned if the acquisition takes place that my job will be in jeopardy. Any thoughts before the bomb drops?
—Need a Careere Plan Sooner Rather Than Later

People go to work contentedly almost every day without giving a thought to what might happen after a bomb drops, such as: their firm is acquired by a competitor; they receive a bad review; a series of layoffs are announced; or heaven forbid, their own boredom or frustration saps all the fun from their job.

Although the rumor mill isn’t always right, mergers and acquisitions happen daily, and I would encourage you to take this early warning signal seriously that change may very well be in the air. That said, there is no room for procrastination. It’s time to take stock of your career and create an immediate plan of action so you are ready for whatever comes next on your professional path.

As a first step, I would begin networking with other business colleagues in the community, as well as friends and family, to find new ideas, opportunities and help. Solutions to career problems may be found within your current work cluster or in other departments at your company, but your chances for a more successful search probably will require you to cast a wider net outside your immediate network.

Second, broaden your skillset and push your own envelope with training opportunities currently available in your company, as well as the community and professional organizations, to enhance your marketability. Never stop working on your personal brand; otherwise, you might find yourself pigeon-holed into a certain category. Updating your brand can be as simple as asking current co-workers what they are working on, then sharing your latest projects; or taking colleagues from a different department to lunch to learn about their work and discuss yours.

In addition, create a career journal listing your past achievements and strengths to help you clearly describe your work experience and skillset while networking, and eventually interviewing, for your next career move.

However, should this be a false alarm and your company remains intact, here are a few other tips to keep your career on track: Create a fitness plan for your career by taking time out quarterly to take stock of what’s working well with your job and what’s not. Ask yourself what you could add or change to your current position to do more of what you want. Consider trying freelance jobs as a way of discovering new passions. Build your reputation by writing or speaking publicly about new developments in your field. And, finally, never, ever stop networking beyond past and present colleagues in your field, industry and region.

If you have a question for Joan, send it to Joan Lee Berkman is a marketing and public relations consultant.