In one email, your life changes. This morning, instead of running your usual reports, you’re reading a message from leadership centered on one scary term — new ownership.
If you work in sports, you’re no stranger to ownership changes. In fact, there are several big name organizations changing hands. Meredith Corp. is closing their purchase of Time Inc. in early 2018, and rumors suggest that Sports Illustrated might be up for sale. Also, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is selling the team due to ongoing investigations of allegations of sexual and racist misconduct in the workplace.
When your company suddenly changes hands, fear immediately sets in — what does this mean for you and your career? You don’t want to make a costly mistake and stay too long where you will feel undervalued or could be replaced. You also don’t want to jump ship too soon and miss out on some amazing opportunities.
When you face uncertainty during company changes, follow these steps:
Consider the Changes
When new leadership comes in, there is a lot of anxiety in the workplace. Nobody knows if there will be restructuring and how that will impact their role. Many people immediately start updating their resume and reaching out to their connections who work in sports.
While it’s important to be prepared, the best thing to do is listen. Stay open to hearing from leadership on what these changes mean.
Also, look at how the company has evolved in recent years. If you noticed a lot of leadership issues as the company started to grow, maybe new ownership was necessary. Pay attention to the media as well. The news might shed some light on why changes are happening.
For example, like in the case of the Carolina Panthers, perhaps new ownership will improve an otherwise toxic culture. New ownership might be the direction your company needs to go.
Determine the Effect on You
Your career is way too important to stay silent. Instead of worrying about what the change in ownership means to your role, speak up and be proactive.
Schedule time with your immediate manager and other leaders to discuss what these new changes mean. Use this as an opportunity to highlight your strengths and accomplishments, then make suggestions on how you want to play a part in making improvements within your company and culture.
For example, describe how your customer service process can be better streamlined. Then, follow up with a detailed action plan and offer to lead a task force in writing new protocols.
This shows your enthusiasm and dedication to growing with your company.
Identify the Deal Breakers
As with any major change, sometimes you just have to wait and see. Be patient during this transition, but also know what your deal breakers are beforehand. What would make you want to resign?
Consider finding new opportunities if leadership does the following:
- Cuts your salary or reduces benefits
- Takes you off of your favorite projects
- Drastically redefines your role or changes your job title
- Sets performance expectations you know are unrealistic
- Ignores your interest in professional development
- Fails to recognize or reward top performers
You work in sports because you are passionate about the industry and your role. While change is often uncomfortable, it shouldn’t completely destroy your enthusiasm and engagement.
Take Your Next Step
At this point, if you notice that leadership is taking a turn for the worst and the fears you had are coming true, establish your resignation strategy. A major part of this is adopting a job search strategy and actively pursuing new options.
Once you find new work in sports, write your resignation letter. In the letter, you are formally notifying leadership about your resignation, thanking them for the opportunities they gave you, and offering to help with the transition in your role.
Burning bridges is a terrible idea in any situation. Keep your resignation formal, respectful, and straightforward. This way, you can request a recommendation and connection through Linkedin. Staying connected online makes it easier to keep track of your professional connections.
It’s too easy to get caught up in the stress and worry of working for a company undergoing major transitions. Sure, it’s frightening to think about being laid off or moved to a new department.
However, instead of letting your emotions get the better of you, focus on what you can control. Try to turn this into a growth opportunity for yourself. If new ownership shows signs of disinterest and if you sense the culture is changing in a way that isn’t aligned with your values, you can find new work in sports. Walk away, confident in knowing that you did what’s best for you and your career.