Saturday, July 6, 2024

An acquisition means a new job, not merely a different name on paychecks.

I wish to be open about a mistake I have made in my career, in case it helps someone else avoid something similar.

For most of my career I was brought into organizations (as an employee or contractor) by someone who knew me, what I could do for them, and how I worked.  An exception was when I was part of an acquisition. The new management team didn’t know who I was, only what was written in my job description.

I have had many job titles and descriptions, and none of them have been very meaningful. I work by trying to figure out what the project needs to get done, and then apply any skills I have towards whatever is the highest priority goal.

While I had the title of “Lead Systems Engineer” at the pre-merger organization, I was also actively involved in managing an OAIS preservation system (lead developer, support, data and metadata manager, etc), and lead developer of the metadata management system (we called it the “metadata bus”) for's Access system.

After the merger I was told that I should continue the work that I was already doing, but I should not have taken that literally. I should have ceased any software development, data management, metadata management, or anything else not explicitly understood by the new management team as part of my job.  While the previous employer encouraged me to help anywhere in the organization I could, the new employer focused much more on social hierarchies, organization charts, and jurisdiction described in job descriptions.

At the time of the merger I had been given a choice:  Do I want to accept the reduced scope of this *new* job, or resign and look for a better matching job.

Instead of making an informed choice, I pretended nothing had changed. This only generated confusion and conflict between my style of working and the corporate culture of the new organization.

I eventually resigned, but only after I had been pushed into Autistic Burnout. I have learned from this mistake, and I hope other people can as well.

(Reposted from LinkedIn)

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