It’s happened; the rumors were true. The long-anticipated buyout of your company by a bigger fish is here. I’m talking specifically about the purchase of Cooper Tire by Goodyear, but this applies anywhere. Instead of sitting in worry, what can you do to prepare yourself when your company is sold?
Unknowns and harsh realities often come with buyouts. Buyers might tote around the grand idea of “synergies.” It’s the happy, business word for layoffs.
I’m not saying that you are doomed to be fired. In fact, you might flourish in the new environment with new management! What I am saying, however, is that if the time comes, you need to be prepared to dive off the sinking ship and find calmer waters. The key word here is prepared.
Cooper employees (or anyone), here are 9 things to do when your company is sold or failing:
- Increase the size of your emergency fund.
- Get familiar with your benefits package.
- Make sure you can log into your online accounts and get statements.
- Renew your certifications.
- Tidy up your resume.
- Write down the parts of your job you are grateful for and want to do more.
- Start reading about companies and positions that would allow you to do more of those things.
- Practice telling your story.
- Talk to a financial advisor.
Let’s talk about each of these points:
Increase the size of your emergency fund.
Emergency funds should generally be large enough to cover 3 – 6 months of living expenses. Consider building it to the 6 – 9 months range. You may find yourself thrown into a transitional phase before you’re ready, and I know having these savings would give me peace of mind in that situation.
Get familiar with your benefits package.
If you are laid off, what is going to happen to your health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, pension, and 401(k)? Will your unused vacation days be paid out? Are your retirement accounts fully vested?
Find your benefits documents and read through them. If you can’t find information, ask your HR department. You have the right to know what your benefits detail, and more than likely, HR is receiving many requests for this information during the transition.
Make sure you can log into your online accounts and get statements.
Take some time to find your account numbers, find your login credentials, and download recent statements. Trust me when I say, you will need them while planning for your future!
Renew your certifications.
Do you have a professional designation or certification that needs renewed soon? Your employer probably pays for those… This might sound greedy, but consider renewing before new management decides to synergize those costs too.
Tidy up your resume.
Remember where you saved that thing? Dig up the old file and tidy it up a bit. It will get you in the right mindset; a mindset that will help you land on your feet. Being laid off is a shock to your system, but it doesn’t have to be irrecoverable.
Write down the parts of your job you are grateful for and want to do more.
Do you like your current job? If you left the company, would you want to do something similar or totally different? Start writing down the things you like – it might give you some direction. Better yet, show your list to a friend. Ask them to think of jobs that involve the things you enjoy.
Start reading about companies and positions that would allow you to do more of those things.
Literally, start Googling job openings. It can actually be a lot of fun to start envisioning yourself in a different role. Read reviews on Glassdoor about what people liked or didn’t like about certain jobs.
Taking these steps gets your mind and emotions ready to face a transition. If your head is in the right space, it won’t feel like a firing. It will feel like a push to new opportunities.
Practice telling your story.
You might feel like you’re just another number. You tell yourself you’re just another person – a semi-boring, “hire me” plea lost among the crowd of other buyout fatalities.
But that isn’t true.
Think about who you are, what brought you here, and what you hope to achieve. Practice telling it. I did a similar exercise with my own story HERE.
Because you’re right… employers don’t want to hire a boring person. They want to hire someone who has captured their interests and has mastered the art of telling their story.
I wish I thought of this idea, but I didn’t. Read The Career Stories Method for extra motivation.Because you’re right… employers don’t want to hire a boring person. They want to hire someone who has captured their interests and has mastered the art of telling their story. Click To Tweet
Talk to a financial advisor.
You are going to need advice on insurance, how to manage your 401(k), and just how to handle the transition in general.
Maybe you are close to retirement. Maybe, just maybe, you can say goodbye to employment altogether… but how do you know? A good advisor well help you determine if you are mentally and financially prepared to retire.
I’m a hope-for-the-best, plan-for-the-worst type of person. This whole blog could be an overreaction, and everyone will be able to keep their jobs. Maybe not though.
Either way, I’d love to support you during this time. Schedule a 15-minute introductory call with me at Hixon Zuercher Capital Management to see if we can help you be prepared for a potential transition.