mergers and acquisitions


In my nearly 33 years in IT, only one of my employers has not gone through some sort of merger or acquisition during my tenure. This includes my current company, which was acquired by another local tech firm earlier this week. It’s a reality of doing business in an increasingly more competitive economy. In particular, a publicly traded company must remain profitable in order to return value to shareholders. Gone are the days when it’s enough to have a cool product.

The t-shirt I’m wearing above was a tchotchke given to employees to celebrate the merger of my erstwhile employer, Open Software Foundation, with its European counterpart X/Open to form “The Open Group”. The union was purely organizational — no jobs or positions were lost as part of the transaction. Sadly that wasn’t the case earlier this week, when over 200 jobs were eliminated one day after the acquisition was complete.

While it’s hard to put a positive spin on a 15% layoff, the company did its best to make sure that affected employees felt valued. Rather than marching the vanquished out of the building like criminals, they were allowed to remain in the building to say goodbye to friends and colleagues. Having been through more of these than I’d like to remember, it was an uncommonly humane gesture in stark contrast to brutal bloodletting I’ve witnessed in the past.

The remainder of the week was spent licking our wounds and finding a way forward. That and wondering how close I was to being one of the 15%.

survivor’s guilt —
the pillow doesn’t
hug me back

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