Acquisition Detours My Upward Career Path!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a career move due to a merger: Should I wait in my current job till I find a similar or higher position either in the offering bank or any other with an attractive package?

Let me at first thank you very much for your very useful site and effective efforts, I have been enjoying it for about 10 years and it helped me through my career. I’m 40 years old man, have been working for the last 19 years with the same employer who is a French International commercial bank’s subsidiary in Egypt, and for the last 6 years I’m occupying the position of “Head of Trade” at the middle management level.

Recently my bank (1000 staff) has acquired a larger commercial bank (1100 staff), I was competitive enough to keep my position as “Head of Trade” against my analog in the acquired bank but my department location in the chart of the new bank has moved two steps lower from where we are in the old chart, thus we are no longer independent business line reporting to the top management but now we are a small department of 10 staff embedded in the Corporate division of 250 staff.This move is depressing me about my career path and ambitious to be in the top management one day, also I believe that the parallel 8 departments doing the “Corporate” core activity will be receiving better benefits and promotions than us whom will be regarded by them as “second class” or in the best case “Support Function”, also I think that neither I nor any of my team will be ever heading the “Corporate division” which will be reserved for other heads doing the Corporate core activity!

I started shopping around and now having an offer from a Governmental continental development bank in another country with very attractive package but with lower managerial level as “Trade Officer”, so I’m confused! shall I move to get more money together with “Career Reverse” hoping that afterward -maybe in a decade I can get back to my managerial lost crown, or shall I wait in my current job till I find a similar or higher position either in the offering bank or any other with attractive package. Thanking you in advance for your precious opinion.

Signed, From Egypt

DearĀ From Egypt:

I am honored to learn that you have followed our site for so many years. We respond to 30-50 inquiries a month and from time to time have received questions from Egypt. From what you say, it is apparent that you have earned your way to an important level and position of trust. However, in these times of mergers, acquisitions and take-overs, one’s position is not on a stable upward career path, but can fluctuate as do stock prices of many corporations. You are in at such an acquired situation.

The new corporation with its different configuration places your position at a lower lever, and that, you reason, severely frustrates your aspiration to climb to top management. This frustration prompted you to shop for a new job and now you have an opportunity to move. Weighting whether to stay or move no doubt is exciting and stressful. Obviously, it is an important time of decision.

You are 40-years young at a fork on your career path–neither path promises a quick trip to top management. Staying within the newly acquired bank in a similar role, however, at a lower level in a small department of 10 staff embedded in the corporate division of 250 staff. Nevertheless, would it not be familiar territory? You know the role of Head of Trade and have a team with whom you have worked. Learning, if and how, you might be visible enough to climb to top would be problematic.

Accepting a job with a different company in a new location probably would be more exciting–an adventure of a new culture, new language (?), new personnel, although at a lower level–as a Trade Officer, not Head of Trade.

From this distance and lacking the product-knowledge of banking, I dare not advise what choice you should make. Rather, I think what you do may hinge on even more factors than either the pros and cons of each position, such as your feelings of comfort with the familiar or a risk-taking hunger for new ventures and such as balancing your career-climbing ambition with family. On the one hand, my observation is that those who stay within a corporation can climb if they assertively earn visibility and seek out assistant positions in upper levels.

On the other hand, I have seen those, who are ever-scanning the horizon for new openings, also rise to higher levels. I know that climbing is not so important as is finding and feeling that one is doing meaningful work–work about which one is passionate and that is deeply satisfying. You do not say much about how this work speaks to your talents and values. So how might you decide what would be best for you without simply flipping a coin?

I would do some careful listing of pros and cons. Don’t gossip about your frustration with the demotion of your department, but do consult in a professional fashion with several people at various levels in the newly acquired company about career path possibilities. Also, consult your family and friends about this. Don’t jump into a new job without several visits to the new location and study of what would be expected of you and especially accepted in light of your upward ambitions.

Take time to introspect–reflecting on your personality and what is genuinely meaningful to you in day-to-day work. Take time to reflect on to what degree your ambition is an ego-motivated.You strike me, if not obsessed with, at least you are strongly driven to achieve the status and perks of upper levels. To me being in higher positions is not so important as is the deep feeling that flows from doing work that contributes to a world that needs individuals with integrity and goodwill.

Finding and shaping a career in a good place to work in and for is what is symbolized in our signature WEGO. I hope you can acquire ample information to make an informed decision about whether to stay or move. Please feel free to challenge my remarks. Hopefully they will prompt you to see your self as a creative person, as one who is flexible and able to cope with the uncertainties of change. And if you decide not to take this new job, if you are dissatisfied with what does or doesn’t turn up where you are now, you will seek out other opportunities. With respect and best wishes, please feel free to keep us posted on how you resolve the frustrations you feel about your reverse career path.

William Gorden