My division (at work) was just sold. What to expect?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by DaveF, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I work for a little known division of Kodak which, as of this morning, is sold to ITT (formal sale to be completed in the next month or two). (Read all about it here: http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentSe...=1075982396196)

    This is all rather interesting, exciting, and a bit scary. I'm wondering what your experiences are with corporate sales and mergers. What are things might I see, experience? What should I beware of, or consider at danger signals?

    How has such a transition worked out for you?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    The one I've been through wasn't good. Not because a lot of people were laid off, but a lot of people panic and leave anyway. Plus your whole corporate culture can change. I work in a small office that reports to a large office in another state now. Sometimes we feel like the bastard stepchild of the company.
     
  3. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    I worked for an etailer called SmarterKids.com which merged with another company, Early Childhood Inc., out of Monterrey, CA (the combined company has some nonsensical name now), and basically everyone at SmarterKids got laid off. Of course, that was during the big dot-com contraction a couple years ago, but, man, it sure feels like we got the shaft.
     
  4. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    I personally have never been "transitioned" but many of my co-workers are transitions from other companies, so I can share some of what they have told me.

    1) Get your resume up to date and start making contacts/networking now. Your transition could go very well, but if it turns out to be bad, you want to be able to bail quickly and before anyone else.

    2) Contrary to my statement above, keep a positive attitude about corporate culture and change. Most of the people who do terribly in transition situations are not bad employees, but simply try to keep doing things the same way they did before and never really become part of the new company. I think this is much more important in larger companies that have a very defined culture and stricter processes.

    3) Since your divisions sale doesn't seem to be an outsourcing deal, I would say your prospects seem ok. I would be very focused on how the new company will handle your accrued retirement/401K, any benefits costs/changes, and vacation. Also ask about career path changes and how your work will be evaluated differently vs at Kodak. Most of the transition-to-fire stories I've heard involve outsourcing deals where the employees spend a year or two at the new company sharing their knowledge, and then get the axe.

    4) If they start talking about transferring/relocation or salary adjustment, you may have to start making tough decisions. Remember that the new company isn't necessarily out to get you, and accepting a temporary salary reduction while you are exploring what other opportunities isn't such a bad thing. Many of my friends quit right away when their employers forced salary cuts, and ended up jumping to opportunities that were less than stable or not career-wise. Relocation is a tough one, especially if you or a spouse have family nearby. You've just got to figure out what your Plan B is.

    5) If they don't provide reasonable education or travel money for your dept, or begin to focus more on knowledge management than new ideas/product development, you might start to worry. Most larger companies either already have unions or have unions that are trying to get in. Whatever your personal opinion on unions is (I'm not a fan myself), their newsletters can provide some insight into where the company is heading and possible personnel shifts.
     
  5. Craig F

    Craig F Second Unit

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    If you're management, get your resume ready. First thing they do is "trim the fat". If you have indespensible technical knowledge, they'll want to hang on to you.

    As already noted, work enviromnent can change drastically as well as benefits, etc.

    Good luck, while some are worse than others, there is always some pain involved.
     
  6. DougR

    DougR Second Unit

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    The Company that I work for was bought by ITT , a few years back. After a few years under their control, they dumped us back on the market for some other Corp. to buy us. apperantly we weren't making enough of a Profit for the $$ hungry bastards ? [​IMG]
     
  7. Todd Henry

    Todd Henry Second Unit

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    Does ITT do the same thing or make the same thing that you do at Kodak? If it is an acquisition for ITT to get bigger and there isn't overlap between the 2 companies, then you will be more likely to be ok.

    I am going through a transition and there is a group at the other company that does the same thing we do. The question now is how will the new organization be setup and that will determine our fate.

    Todd
     
  8. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    Study your old Dilbert comics, your new boss will most likely make the pointy haired guy look like a genius[​IMG]

    I never have been in this situation so I can give no useful advice
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    My division, Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), has been on the market for the past year with a few suitors. ITT brought the best offer and match to the table. In many ways this is a very positive move. We are now the Space Systems Division of ITT. ITT does space-borne systems and has a vision for growing the business. We offer good contracts in hand, unique facilities, and the people who can do the work. In contrast, Kodak has not demonstrated a strong interest in our division for a long time. So, we look like a good fit with ITT for the forseeable future.

    The presentation was very positive today. The big sighs of relief came from: all employees are hired into ITT, no forced relocations, and ITT assumes full pension responsibilities. That last one is a big deal because Kodak still has lifers -- employees with 20+ years experience and are counting on a pension rather than a 401k.

    But, as recommended, I need to clean up my resume just in case the unexpected happens. I'm talking to some friends about other locations in case things go poorly. But assuming all goes well, I'd like to stay. There's more I can learn in my current job.

    I'll have to ask about education benefits. Though I don't need any further college-level classes, I really like attending professional conferences and short-courses. Kodak was good allowing for further education.

    Everyone I spoke with today is anxious but positive. Kodak is a way of life in Rochester and it's weird for many people to suddenly not be a Kodaker anymore. But, with Kodak's continued struggles, this is far superior than being "downsized". And maybe this cash will enable Kodak to get its new projects running more strongly. It's still a good company with some fantastic people.

    Anyone have a successful merger story? [​IMG]
     
  10. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    I worked at Lockheed when they Merged with Martin. The plant I was at in Sunnyvale was known for pushing the envelope. Martin was known for building things that were mass produced and conventional.
    The moment the Martin CEO took charge we all knew it was a takeover not a merger.
    When I was hired there was almost 30,000 that worked there....now maybe 6,000.
     
  11. Markus Lidstrom

    Markus Lidstrom Stunt Coordinator

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    Be sure to steal a nice Sharpie marker from work, 7-11 throws out quite a bit of cardboard, and think of something witty to put on your sign.
     
  12. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    how about "will work for witty phrase to put on this sign"

    CJ
     
  13. AllanN

    AllanN Supporting Actor

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    I was part of Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) and now an employee of Lockheed Martin Information Technology (LMIT). For the contract workers in the field there where no layoffs. However it sounds like Human Resources and other administrative departments will take a hit because of redundancy. So the worker bee's and the upper management are being preserved any support departments look like they might come under the chopping block a bit.
     
  14. Erik.Ha

    Erik.Ha Supporting Actor

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    When this happened to me, we were offered a "Stay Bonus" (i.e. a bonus NOT to leave until our layoff date). For me that bonus (which was on top of my normal salary) was equal to about a year and a half of my salary.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Erik - such a "stay bonus" would be most excellent, but I don't expect that to happen. And we don't have a layoff date; everyone is being carried over to the next company. But there ahve been suggestions of a small bonus to help smooth things over and discourage grumbling and departures.
     

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