Friday, October 4, 2013

And just like that, life changes in the blink of an eye

Life always happens when you're making plans.

Or at least that's what I've been told. Generally speaking I would agree...but that's because I'm always making plans. It's hard not to live life when you're always organizing and planning and generally always doing and going going going.

So it should have been little surprise to me when I woke up the morning of Tuesday, September 3rd and received the news that my company was mostly being bought over by another, larger company.

We'd all heard the rumors. We'd seen the signs. We'd been thinking this would happen for years. But to see it actually happen was a completely different matter. And it felt...well, confusing.

Naturally there is no good time to release big news, especially when you have employees worldwide, but it was interesting to see the news rolled out the way it was. Our Finland offices were just getting in while we in the UK were asleep (the message went out at 4:30am...we were text messaged...and those of us who don't silence our ringers were unfortunately woken up)...those in the US were still awake because it was at night though they were all coming back from a long holiday weekend (Labor Day had just happened...the last holiday before Thanksgiving and Black Friday).

Like I said; there's no good time to deliver news. Especially news of this magnitude. Basically all of our company was sold off to one of our partners for a song. Everyone exclaimed that our selling price was surprisingly cheap.

And so a long day at work began. As it happened I had a doctor's appointment scheduled that morning, not knowing that we'd be receiving life changing news, so I got into the office right as the big all-hands meetings and gatherings were starting. Luckily they'd set up telephone lines and conference calls for those that were remote so I listened quietly on the train as I got in to see the entire thing live unfolding before my eyes.

The rest of the day was an out of body experience. No one knew how to react. There was a range of emotions.

The Finns took it the hardest, as I imagined they would. A company entwined with their national identity was being sold off to big bad America. My boss is Finnish and seeing her reaction was like how we dealt with 9/11: shock, speechlessness, and the inability to react. She left early after finishing the things she needed to do and didn't return to the office until the following afternoon. She seemed in better spirits after that but you can tell when someone is crushed and dealing with the pain.

To be honest there's not much for me to say more than this. My only thoughts have been: do I still apply for grad school? Applications start next month and that's what my plan has been for the past several months.

In the end I talked to my boss' boss about it and he's said maybe not. The upcoming battle is going to be about resource allotment and how useful everyone is. In a team of three if one of them is working part time...probably doesn't look the best. Then there's also the argument of if you let one person do it, then you have to let others do it. So in this case it's not about the money or how many installments it can be cut into for budget reasons, it's about timing and the unfortunate arguing for letting one team stay versus another (potentially). This is all very logical, and I appreciate it not being personal or petty.

The rest of what I've been told: we shouldn't change our plans and the communications have been clear on continuing work as normal until we're told otherwise. This company bought us because they were missing this section of competencies. So, it's likely they're buying the whole package. It's naive to think there won't be layoffs, especially in areas where there are overlap, but in the case of Design...there will likely not be as much overlap as one would think. They weren't making our type of product before...that was the point.

In the end, despite what my boss' boss has said, I am still going to apply for grad school. We don't know what the situation will look like nine months from now and I want to have the choice when that time comes around. The new company that is buying us has a history of supporting education, and is infinitely more flush with cash than we currently are. Plus this is something I want to do. I'd rather be accepted into grad school and have the choice than have not applied and found out that I'd still be able to go. I'm not married to a company, this is my life. And this is a choice I will need to make when the time comes.

So I go forward with hopes that my adventure is not ending here and my time in London is not limited. I do want to continue on here, despite how hard it has been. I was just beginning.

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