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Managing the Merger Aftermath.

We read about another major bank merger almost every week. In this market environment, no bank is immune to the possibility of a merger or acquisition. Unfortunately, we, the bank employees, are among the last to know what is coming. There is a feeling of powerlessness when rumors circulate about a possible merger. Learning how to protect ourselves will give us a head start when an announcement is made.

How do I preserve my job? You can't. You probably won't know anything with certainty until it's too late to influence it. One thing is almost guaranteed: In a merger, there is no need for two marketing departments, and typically the new structure will not require all of the employees. The best thing you can do is to perform at your best regularly, so that your professionalism and strengths are immediately known when management decides who stays.

Avoid extremes

How do I act and react when all of this is going on? You want to act "business as usual." People sometimes make the mistake of going to extremes. They become either invisible or aggressive. You don't want to shrink into the woodwork, but you don't want to be in your management's face. Be professional, do your job and minimize the gossip. The rumor mill operates full steam when mergers are going on, and you don't know what's fact or fiction. Hopefully, management will have an open book policy and keep you informed. Unfortunately, it usually doesn't work that way. You may not know the truth until it's a done deal.

How do I present myself to the new management? Know what you want and be able to express this. Think about the new bank, the new marketing department and the new manager. How can you best contribute so that you are fulfilled and the bank benefits from your fulfillment? Think about how you can take advantage of new possibilities, new customers, new markets--and how your expertise can be best applied. Make sure you lead with what's in it for them. By the way, "kissing up" is not an effective strategy. You have a track record and reputation. Protect this by acting in your usual professional manner.

Consider an internal transfer

If my job is being eliminated, should I take a job elsewhere in the bank? It is often in your best interest to make an internal transfer rather than leaving the bank without a job. The truth is that it is more difficult finding a job when you don't have one. Who knows? You may even find that your skills, adapted to a new position, will be an entirely new career path that you wouldn't have thought of before. Yet, if you are miserable in the new position, it's probably better for you to leave. If you decide to leave, ask for a letter of reference from your former manager.

Stay away from the doomsayers. They always rise to the surface during mergers. They will gladly tell you that your life, as you know it, is coming to an end. You will lose your job. The new management will be draconian. Your pay will be cut. These are some of their favorite cliches. I'm not recommending that you become Pollyanna, but I am suggesting that you do not write a script with the worse possible outcome.

A merger can actually be the opportunity to spread your wings, to try something new, to explore new horizons, to make some shifts in your career direction. Change isn't bad or good. It just "is." Learn to flow with it. It will be a life skill that will take you further than most things you can learn.

Lisa Aldisert is a management consultant, professional speaker and author specializing in st rategic planning and performance management. You can reach her at
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Title Annotation:how to secure a job after your bank merges
Comment:Managing the Merger Aftermath.(how to secure a job after your bank merges)
Author:Aldisert, Lisa
Publication:ABA Bank Marketing
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2001
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