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I work for a company that was just bought (and merged) a little while ago, and now that parent company is planning to spin us off into our own company again. Since I'm not entirely sure of everything involved in a spin-off, should I wait until after the spin-off to ask for a raise or should I ask right away?

If I should wait, how long? I'm not a good negotiator, but I'm a great researcher and strategist. I'm attempting to use as many beneficial parameters as possible.

Just from assumptions I would guess that before the spin-off more money would be available, but I also look at the fact that the parent is kind of getting rid of us. Why budget extra to something that you are trying to remove?

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I would guess that before the spin-off, more money would be available

In my experience the reverse is true. The finance folks go into overdrive tightening everything up so that budget forecasts for the transition period are as accurate and predictable as possible. This can be true 6 months out, 12 months out, etc - depending on the size and complexity of the business.

So in terms of when to renegotiate, I think approaching the issue after the dust has settled is more realistic. Make sure you know your numbers as per normal and just remember that after the spin-off has occurred it's a business like any other business: if you are in position to negotiate (and reasonably expect) a raise then the fact that they spun off recently - a month or two before - is meaningless to the negotiation.

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    I agree, uncertainty tends to freeze the decision making engine. There will be a lot of uncertainty pre-merger. – JohnFx May 31 '11 at 14:34
  • Thanks gef05. This seems like great information. One more question though. How do I know when the dust settles? I know that seems fairly open-ended, but are there any sure signs that would tell me when everything is back to being stable? – Sivvy Jun 1 '11 at 13:24
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    That's a tough one, Sivvy, as it can be so heavily situation dependent. Things I'd look out for would include - spending returns to more normal ebb and flow (e.g., purchase orders for non-critical items get passed, conferences get approved, repairs get underway, etc); job adverts to fill new or vacant spots get posted; extraneous meetings where everyone applauds for no reason mercifully cease. Again, it's very site specific, but I'd watch for that normal hum to start up again. – gef05 Jun 1 '11 at 15:30
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gef05 hit it on the head -- the books get frozen when mergers/spinoffs happen. I worked as an IT guy at a company whose mission was operating call centers -- and they didn't bother paying the phone bill! Why? the terms were already agreed upon, and the powers that be were waiting for final legal sign-off.

Try to figure out who the leaders are going to be after the spinoff, and start politicking them.

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Corporate restructuring makes everything a flux, so you might as well revisit some core fundamental questions. Here's how to do this professionally:

  • Start floating your CV now. Line up interviews in competing companies. Attend to them. Score a job offer, and have it put into writing, with exact salary, which should be at least 10%++ of your current one.

  • Take a clear empty page, and write on top: "Business value provided". Put down your major contributions, and achievements. Wherever possible, put the company's expected dollar value near to it. For bonus points, sum it up on the bottom, and minus your current salary. Difference is "Profit provided directly to the company's bottom line".

  • Float this to your manager's desk. At this position, you have only one fundamental question to your boss: "match or pass?" :)

A corporate spin-off is a good time to do this: 1, to ensure, that your position will not be made redundant; 2, if it is, you have a backup plan.

If the parent company's "getting rid of you", however, there are even more fundamental questions you might want to ask yourself: is this really a profitable division, or merely a loss leader? Does this company have a future, and the adequate growing options for you, personally?

To answer these questions, you must have an opportunity cost estimation; and for that, you must have second (and preferably, third) options -hence, the strategy above.

To conclude, the best time to do your job research is every other month; and the best time to ask for a raise is always now :)

Good luck!

  • Thanks for all the info! As for profitable division... I work in IT. The company is growing though. – Sivvy Jun 1 '11 at 13:17

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