Rules of Acquisition

What to do when you've been bought

By Steve Arrants

I’ve been on both sides of corporate acquisitions. A company I worked for bought smaller companies, and larger ones acquired companies I worked for. Each acquisition is different. It is also different depending on what your work is. Here are some general things to remember.

It’s not you. It’s the technology.

Your company was acquired because it has a technology, product, or market the other company wants. They’re interested in your market share and the customers you service. They don’t want you for your Markdown knowledge. Despite what we know, most corporate management believes anyone can write. Of course, take pride in your work. Don’t get upset if few others do.

Treat it as a new job.

A new company, new rules. The company will provide information about PTO, benefits, and job titles. You’re coming in with some history, so decide before it is official to be open to change and help the process where possible. It’s OK to ask questions! Learn as much as you can about the new environment. To help with that…

Find your tribe.

Start networking. Now.

Where do writers “sit” in the organization? Sometimes, it is with marketing, sometimes with development, and sometimes documentation is a separate group. See if there are regular cross-division meetings on editing, writing, user assistance, etc., and join in. Most writers are interested in how other writers work and what tools they use. Give a presentation — and ask for one on their tools and workflow!

Be proactive.

Get up to speed on what the company uses to produce documentation and how it fits into the product, but continue with your work. Offer to explain and assist. Ask your management what you need to do to help the transition succeed. Update your resume — you may decide that a larger organization isn’t where you can thrive.

What’s been your experience with acquisitions? Do you have any advice to add?


Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash.

Tags: aquisition
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