The Career Activist Republic

April 21, 2010

People of talent are professional athletes, entertainers and artists.  An opera singer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City has talent while the best a bank teller or a plumber can be is good at their job.  Talent, Americans are taught and told, isn’t something the masses have nor is it really talented to be an exceptional performer in unexceptional occupations.

The Conventional Elitism of Talent

Ascribing talent to only a select few is a pretension that strikes at the very heart of human equality and the American democracy.  This elitism of talent has its roots in the industrial era.  In the early decades of the 20th Century, mass manufacturers—most notably those that produced cars and food—needed workers who would labor like machines or beast of burden and perform the same tasks over and over again.

Happy to respond, the social arbiters of the time created the conceit of America’s “unwashed masses.”  This notion set common people—the working class—apart from their more educated and cultured betters.  It was a derogatory description with synonyms like “boorish,” “simple-minded” and “talentless.”

Not to be outdone, the country’s academic establishment reinforced the talent divide by introducing a developmental structure and programmatic format designed to relegate all but an exceptional few to mediocrity.  Called “gifted and talented” programs in elementary school and “advanced placement” in high school, these initiatives didn’t just serve the needs of smart kids—an admirable goal.  They also communicated a sense of inferiority to all those who were not selected.  In effect, the “normal” kids were told they didn’t have talent or advanced capabilities and thus were second class citizens in the nation’s educational system.

The Duke University Talent Identification Program, for example, describes itself as “a global leader in identifying academically gifted students and providing them with innovative programming to support their development.”  In other words, a person isn’t talented unless they are academically gifted.  If a kid doesn’t score high on some so-called “intelligence test,” they aren’t smart enough to do extraordinary things in life and thus should receive only uncreative programming and support.

A More Pluralistic Perspective

The dictionary, thankfully, takes a more pluralistic view of talent.  It defines the word as “the natural endowments of a person” and an endowment as “a natural gift, ability or quality.”  There is no qualifier limiting talent to extraordinary people or to extraordinary endeavors.  The term is not reserved for the infallible and famous or even for the in-your-face and infamous.  Quite the contrary, talent is a natural characteristic of the human species and is expressed in the full range of its idiosyncratic interests and occupations.

There is talent in being an exceptional salesperson and extraordinary truck driver.  Talent can be expressed by an especially good customer service representative and bank teller, and by a truly outstanding electrician, mechanic, carpenter and computer programmer.  The talent is not in what a person does, but in how they do it.  Talent, then, is the expression of excellence, and that excellence can be attained in every profession, craft and trade.

In addition, the contempt with which many traditional talent elites are now held among the general public has further undermined their claim to specialness.  Thanks to athletes who use steroids to set records, entertainers who indulge in sophomoric behavior to make headlines, business and investment gurus who commit criminal acts to enrich themselves, and politicians who can’t seem to act at all despite the pressing issues of our day, people simply no longer believe that those who have traditionally been viewed as being talented are also extraordinary beings.  Despite the nation’s tabloid fascination with them, most Americans have concluded that talent elites are no better and often much worse than everybody else.  And since that’s so, the rest of the population is just as likely to have talent as the so-called superstars are.

This shift in perspective recasts talent as a trait that:

all people possess, regardless of their social standing, fame or fortune;

and
each and every individual can use to be accomplished in their life’s work.
These two principles undergird the democratization of talent.  They form the foundation for a new movement in the American workplace.  Called the Career Activist Republic, this emerging culture affirms the nobility of all human work and of all of those who perform it.  It recognizes that, despite the differences among Americans in their ethnicity, gender and national origin, they are all equal persons of talent.  Each and every one of them.

Thanks for reading,
Peter
Visit me at Weddles.com/WorkStrong

P.S. My new book, The Career Activist Republic, is due out in June of this year. Look for it on Amazon.com, at Weddles.com or in your local bookstore. 

Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including Recognizing Richard Rabbit, a fable of self-discovery for working adults, and Work Strong, Your Personal Career Fitness System.

© Copyright 2010 WEDDLE’s LLC.  All Rights Reserved

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The 50-50 Job Search

April 19, 2010

The conventional wisdom is that searching for a job is, itself, a full time job. That was good advice in the 20th Century. Today, it’s a formula for long term unemployment. If you spend all of your time looking for a new position, you can’t get to the other task that’s required to be successful in the job market. What’s that? Revitalizing your career.
No one would argue that finding a job is easy, especially in today’s era of cramped opportunities.

It takes long hours and a lot of hard work to research employers, reply to their ads and network with friends and colleagues. In the past, however, you could also be certain that such dedication would pay off in a reasonably short period of time. In weeks or at most a month or two, you would have a couple of job offers, and one would probably be better than the last job you had.

That’s no longer true. In this tepid recovery, you can exert the same level of effort as you did in the past and still come up short. You can even work harder than you did in your last job search and still find yourself without an offer. Why? Because employers have changed the rules of the game. They’re no longer looking for qualified applicants for their openings. They want to hire the “better than qualified” person.

How can you make yourself look like a better than qualified person? That’s where the 50-50 job search comes in. You spend half your time working as hard as you can on your job search and the other half of your time transforming yourself into a candidate that employers simply can’t resist.

How Do You Become Irresistible to Employers?

In today’s tough economy, businesses are looking to draw as much talent and productivity as possible out of each employee. You can argue about the fairness of the increased requirements but not about the reality of their existence. Employers want their workers to be:

  • at the state-of-the-art in their profession, craft or trade and
  • able to contribute continuously to their success in a significant way.

Everybody claims to have those traits, so simply saying that you do isn’t enough. You have to prove that you are a better than qualified person, and that takes three steps.

Step 1: Candidly assess the status of your qualifications. As a minimum, ask yourself these questions:

  • When was the last time you took an in-depth course in the latest tools and techniques used in your field? If the answer is more than two years ago, you’re not a better than qualified prospect.
  • Have you ever acquired skills that would expand the range of situations in which you could contribute to your employer? Do you speak a second language, for example, or do you know how to use the latest technology in your industry? If the answer is no, you’re not a better than qualified prospect.

Step 2. Plug the gaps in your qualifications, beginning with those that are most likely to be of concern to employers. If you’re uncertain of the priorities, ask a couple of hiring managers in your field. As a general rule, however, always begin by remediating any deficiencies in your primary field and then work on adding complementary skills that will make you even more able to contribute. There are, of course, a range of alternatives you can use in this effort.

Check out:

  • Local community colleges,
  • The programs offered by your professional or trade association, and
  • Online courses from training firms and academic institutions.

Step 3. Promote your effort. Don’t wait until you’re done with your educational effort and don’t assume that recruiters and hiring managers will know to ask about them. Start getting the word out the minute you start to get better than qualified.

At the very least, add your coursework to the Education section of your resume. List the name of the course, the institution or organization from which is providing it, and the term “On-going.” That simple entry will signal to employers that you understand the importance of being a better than qualified person and that you take personal responsibility for ensuring you are. There’s simply no better way to set yourself apart from others and set yourself up for success in today’s job market.

Thanks for reading,

Peter

Visit me at Weddles.com
Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including Recognizing Richard Rabbit, a fable of self-discovery for working adults, and Work Strong, Your Personal Career Fitness System.
© Copyright 2010 WEDDLE’s LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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ACS Staff Note

Four ways to advance your career:

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The Evolution of Work – Portfolio Careers

April 9, 2010

We all know that the world of work has changed significantly in recent years.  The days of a 50-year career with one company, a gold watch and a fond farewell are but a distant memory for most of us.  The average duration of a job is decreasing, resulting in careers consisting of multiple, shorter jobs for more companies. So where is this going?

The world of work is evolving, and we’re seeing the mergence of what some people call “portfolio careers” – a succession of overlapping, flexible positions that over time provide income, job satisfaction, and (perhaps most importantly) opportunities to practice and learn new skills, which in turn prepare you for the next step in your career.

We’re starting to see some of this already.  Many people are starting second jobs, consulting or other things that they can do outside their “regular job”. Mid-career scientists are thinking of ways to ease into retirement, starting to build consulting careers on the side while still employed in a traditional job.  Companies are springing up that specialize in finding second jobs for those interested in doing something different in the latter part of their employment lifetime.  (For example, Encore Solutions).

We are also seeing a significant increase in the use of contract, or temporary, employment at all career stages.  No longer a stop-gap or short-term solution, this is becoming a permanent solution for some people.  Instead of working directly for a scientific company, scientists become employees of a placement agency, which sends them out to a company for a few months, or a couple years.  Fringe benefits, if available, come from the contract agency and not the scientific company.  The contracts are renewable, but also easily terminated if the client company changes direction and no longer needs those skills.  No expensive severance packages, they just don’t renew the contract when their term is up.

Just as the major responsibility for remaining employed has shifted from the benevolent company (who took care of you for life) to the employee (your job security is your ability to find another job), traditional benefits such as retirement planning, paid time off, and so on are also going away and will slowly become the responsibility of the employee. We’ve seen some of this already, as companies offer benefits “cafeteria style”, and employees can select which ones make sense for their situation.

This shift will be difficult for some people.  Those who are used to the “security” of a permanent job, and the benefits attached to it, may not want to take responsibility for more aspects of their life.  The ebb and flow of a portfolio career will also be hard for some people to get used to – planning for downtime between jobs will become a necessity, as will the ability to work harder when multiple, overlapping jobs require your attention simultaneously.

This shift in attitude – from rigid, sequential movement through full-time employment to a more fluid, overlapping, consulting, as-needed offer of services, is already starting to happen.  Employers are starting to see the value in this new, flexible model, and it’s only a matter of time before employees start to as well.

This article was written by Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D. of Balbes Consultants. Lisa is a scientific communication consultant and author of: “Nontraditional Careers for Chemists,” published by Oxford University Press (2007).


The Application Two-Step

April 6, 2010

Here’s a common scenario that’s playing out on the Internet today: you spend hours surfing the Web and visiting job boards; you search through hundreds of job postings in their job databases; and finally, you find what you’ve been looking for. There, right in front of you, is an opening that matches your qualifications perfectly. So, what do you do? Send in your resume, right?

Well, not exactly. If that’s all it took, a lot more people would be getting offers and starting out at new jobs. In today’s Mad Hatter job market, you can’t get a job by applying for it. You have to do more. You have to apply not once, but twice in a process I call the Application Two-Step.

  • Step 1 is a test.
  • Step 2 is the answer.

Perform the first step, and you will be considered an applicant; perform the second, and you will be noticed. Perform both steps, and you will likely move to the head of the applicant line.

Step 1: The Test

A job posting is a test. Its purpose is to determine whether or not you paid attention in Mrs. Murphy’s kindergarten class. What was the first lesson you were taught there? That’s right: you must follow directions. So, a job posting is, first and foremost, a test to determine whether you can submit your application according to the employer’s instructions. It might tell you do to:

  • Cut and paste your resume into an online application form,
  • Cut and paste your resume into a regular, old e-mail message,
  • Send your resume as an attachment to an e-mail message, or
  • Send your resume to the employer by old fashioned postal mail.

Whatever the method that’s specified, the key to being considered a bona fide applicant is to do exactly as you are instructed. It doesn’t matter if it’s easier or more convenient for you to do something else. Step 1 is pass or fail; either you follow the employer’s directions and are thus worthy of consideration or you don’t and are considered a “graffiti applicant” and tossed into the reject pile.

Step 2: The Answer

If Step 1 enables you to pass the test; Step 2 provides the answer that will ace it. As soon as you have positioned yourself as a bona fide applicant, you must reposition your resume to make sure you get priority attention. Recruiters are inundated with applicant resumes these days, so it’s very hard for any single person—even one who is extremely qualified for an opening—to get noticed. To overcome that disadvantage, therefore, you must help your resume stand out. And, the best way to do that is by networking.

You have plenty of resources at your disposal, including your connections on LinkedIn and other social media sites, your college or university alumni organization, and the discussion forum on the Web-site of your professional or trade association. Use every single one of them to find one (or both) of two kinds of contacts:

  • Employees of the organization whom you know
  • Employees whom you don’t know, but with whom you share an affinity (e.g., you have the same professional affiliation or a common alma mater).

Once you’ve made a connection, ask them to pass your resume along to the appropriate recruiter in their HR Department. If that happens—and you’ll be surprised at how willing most people are to help out—your resume will move from being just one more among the hundreds or thousands in the organization’s resume database to being one of a handful or less on the recruiter’s desktop.

At that point, the odds are far, far greater that it and you will get the consideration you deserve. Applying for a job online, then, isn’t as simple as it might at first seem. In fact, the process is actually both the first assessment an employer will make of your capabilities as a prospective employee and the single best way to make sure that your resume gets looked at first by recruiters. And, the secret to success is to practice the Application Two-Step.

Thanks for reading,

Peter

Visit me at Weddles.com
Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including Recognizing Richard Rabbit, a fable of self-discovery for working adults, and Work Strong, Your Personal Career Fitness System.
© Copyright 2010 WEDDLE’s LLC. All Rights Reserved.


How to deal with change – An interview with Dr Price Pritchett

April 4, 2010

Price Pritchett, PhD has spent nearly 30 years as an advisor on merger and integration strategies to senior management in Fortune 500 companies and other organizations and is the author of the best-selling Employee Guide to Mergers and Acquisitions. I recently talked to Dr Pritchett about change in the workplace, and how to successfully deal with change. This audio blog entry is the recording of that conversation on March 11th.
– Lisa Balbes

Download the mp3 file | Download the transcript

Dr. Lisa Balbes: Our guest today is Price Pritchett, who has spent nearly 30 years as an advisor on merger and integration strategies to senior management in Fortune 500 companies and other organizations. To date, Dr. Pritchett has authored 29 publications on mergers and change, including the Employee Guide to Mergers and Acquisitions, the all-time best seller on mergers. Thank you for being with us today, Dr. Pritchett.

Dr. Price Pritchett: Well, thank you.

Dr. Lisa Balbes: In 1987, you published the Employee Survival Guide to Mergers and Acquisitions. Has the business environment changed since then?

Dr. Price Pritchett: You know, Lisa, it—I was reflecting on kind of the trend lines over the past 30 years now, and it’s really remarkable. I can just really quickly tick off 10 ways that we have had significant shifts in terms of the business environment and what that implies in terms of individuals’ careers. You can go back to the 80’s, and still there was a lot of that implied contract between employee and employer. Now, they cannot guarantee employment in the way that they once could, and people can expect to just have a larger number of jobs in a career. I saw a quote in a December issue The Wall Street Journal. The quote said by age 42, the average American will change jobs 11 times. And I think we see another change in that people now have to think in terms of continually retooling themselves or, at least, staying in school. It’s no longer K through 12 or even K through four years of college, but it’s K through 80.

We can see a major uptick in terms of global competition for one’s job. We have seen an accelerating elimination of occupations, just tremendous job churn. People are engaging more in what I would call micro careers, where they is, actually, a career shift at different points along the way, and they move from kind of one line of work to another line of work. Another major change is that the barriers to entry in terms of starting a business have gone down dramatically, and so we see a lot more opportunity for entrepreneurship. We see companies having to contend with the fact that their product shelf life, or if you’re a consulting firm even, something like that, the shelf life of your solutions, your methodologies is not what it used to be, and so there is a much greater need for innovation. And employees need to think in terms of, “How can I contribute to that?”

We see a major emphasis on diversity in the workforce that has developed over the past 30 years, particularly. And the power shift in organizations is dramatic in the sense that power has moved from the center and the top of the organization out to the fringes, to rank-and-file employees, and so individuals on their own have so much more information than they used to. And so, this has brought about, I think, just major shifts, in terms of how the work world functions, that has real implications for how people run their careers.

Dr. Lisa Balbes: That is a lot of changes. I think I would agree with all of those. Now, one thing, we hear a lot of talk about mergers and acquisitions. Do you think there are more mergers and acquisitions than they’re used to be, or do we just hear about them more?

Dr. Price Pritchett: Well, we probably hear about them more, but I think that if you—we were the first firm in the United States to specialize in merger integration strategy, and that was at the end of the 70’s. And we wrote the first books about it. There was no such consulting specialty, if you can imagine that, in the United States, that being, merger integration strategy. And that does not mean that there were not plenty of mergers before that, because we had just gone through the 60’s, which was kind of the age of conglomeration. I think if you look over the 20th Century, you’ll see an incline, upward incline in terms of the number of mergers and acquisitions. And, you know, in, I’d say ’95 through 2005 or thereabouts, there—those years had the highest rates—with some ups and downs—but the highest rates of mergers and acquisitions that we’d ever seen. There has been a slump because of the economic downturn. Companies are moving back into this arena, making more deals now. So, I think that the general up—there’s been a general up trend in the number of mergers and acquisitions, but it’s softened a little bit over the last couple of years, certainly. Picking back up, but if you go beyond M&A, and you just think about organizational change, it has profoundly increased.

Dr. Lisa Balbes: Okay. I know in our industry, in particular, there have been a lot of mergers over the last few years, including, you know, Pfizer taking over Wyeth, Merck acquiring Schering-Plough, and Air Products recently bid $7 billion for their rival, Airgas. What advice would you have for scientists who were involved in these companies and involved in companies that are undergoing mergers?

Dr. Price Pritchett: That’s a good question. And, as a matter of fact, we worked with Pfizer on the Wyeth deal. We worked with Merck on the Schering- Plough deal. We’ve worked with a number of other pharmaceutical companies and chemical companies like Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis, Warner-Lambert, 3MG, and so on. I would say that for the scientists that are involved, the professional people that think of themselves as experts in a given area, particularly, that is no longer enough. There is a new kind of career mandate, I think, that one needs to respect these days, and that is, you need to learn how to change as an individual because, you can take it to the bank, the nature of your work is probably going to shift noticeably, repeatedly over the course of your career. I think people need to become more adroit perhaps at dealing with uncertainty. We developed a course for that simply because we had clients saying, “How do we help our people in that uncertain period between announcement and close?” And so, that’s kind of a general statement, and I can get more specific as we move on through the dialogue here, but I think that people need to grasp the fact that, rather than just becoming technically competent or an educated person, there is a new behavioral or psychological dimension that they need to add to their bag of tricks, and that is, really, being able to quickly come to grips with change, know how to manage that process well.

Dr. Lisa Balbes: Mm-hmm. And is that what you’re seeing the people who successfully get through these transitions are able to do?

Dr. Price Pritchett: It’s kind of interesting. In just about any deal, any merger that we see going on, Lisa, that people break it out into about three categories. You’ll have about 20% of the people that just instinctively, or for whatever combination of reasons, 20% of the people get on board very quickly, they become change agents and they help drive the change. You’ll have about 50% of the people that they kind of go into maybe a little bit more of a holding pattern, a wait-and-see attitude. They kind of sit on the fence. So, 20% just jump in gear, help drive change. About 50% are kind of indefinite about this. And you’ll get about 30% that they dig in their heels, and they form the resistance category. The successful people don’t fall victim to that. One of the coaching points that we give to people these days is, look, any time there’s a major change, as a human being, your first scan is for danger. That’s just the way we’re wired as a human being, it’s a survival instinct. But what it does, it tells us to be careful, and that’s good. But people get stuck there far too often.

I think the successful people in a merger, for example, do not, but a lot of other people do, and they get hung up with what we call the five C’s, that being, complaining about the situation, criticizing the way management’s being done or the way the other company’s doing things. They’ll hang out together and commiserate—that’s the third C word. Maybe they just go around expressing their concern all the time and, you know, it’s a garden variety worrying, is what it is. And then, you’ve got some people that, man, they just twist off, you know, and they go into the catastrophizing, kind of the worst case scenario. Here’s the tricky part. As individuals, for most of us, about 70% of our negative thoughts, frankly, cruise through out consciousness undetected, and it’s because we’re out there subtly complaining, criticizing, commiserating, expressing our concern, or maybe just full-blown catastrophizing. Only about 30% of the stuff that would be called negative thinking do most people really recognize, and so they’re in a poor position to correct the situation. Again, the more successful people, they approach it with a different mindset. It’s kind of interesting—Donald Trump, I was listening to him on a morning show here a few months ago, and he came out with a quote—you may not be a Donald Trump fan, but I thought this was a very, very weighty comment—and he said, “The mind is everything. It’s all about the mind.” And I can tell you, from over three decades of experience in working with people in mergers and acquisitions, it is a huge thing, in the context of a merger, or just major organizational change. And the successful people are better at managing their mindset and their thinking processes and their attitude.

Dr. Lisa Balbes: Interesting. Are there specific actions that people can take in addition to trying to watch their mindset?

Dr. Price Pritchett: Yes. I think, first, I would tell the group, or just an individual, “Look, so you’re being acquired, you’re being merged. I understand that that’s—that can be very disconcerting, maybe very threatening to you in your career, and so forth. But here’s the deal. If you didn’t leave, then you decided to stay.” Implicitly, you know, “If you didn’t resign or get downsized, or whatever, you’re here. So, if you’re not leaving the scene, then you’ve decided to stay, so make the most of it. Act as if—act the way you would act if you had just joined a company of your own volition where you would be trying to fit in, you would be trying to earn your spurs, you would be trying to align with the existing culture,” and that kind of thing. The next thing I would say is, “Be positive and opportunity-minded.” And people think that, “Well, I’ve heard that all my life, have a positive mental attitude,” you know. And I will ask people very often, “Which do you think is more important, thinking positive or not thinking negative?” And it kind of throws people for a minute, and they think it’s a trick question but it’s not. And you’ll get some people to raise their hand and say, “Well, I think it’s more important to think positive. It’s what I’ve heard all my life.” And other people will say,” Hmm, I don’t know, maybe it’s more important to not think negative.”

Here’s what research has found. It’s not that this optimism-pessimism thing is not one scale with, let’s say, optimism on the high end, that being the good side, and pessimism being the low end, that being the bad side. Actually, they’re two different scales. And what research has found in recent years is that people are much better served by eliminating negative thinking than they are by just trying like crazy to be an optimist. It’s the negative thinking that does the real damage. Negative thinking does more harm than positive thinking can do good, which is a kind of peculiar thought. The other thing is, there was a study that was done a few years ago by Opinion Research Corporation, and it was to—they asked people across the country, “How would you label yourself, as an optimist or a pessimist?” Seventy-eight percent of the people labeled themselves as optimists, while only 17% categorized themselves as a pessimist. And there were a few undecideds. But, anyway, 78% versus 17%. Well, the fact is, research shows that optimism and pessimism are pretty evenly distributed across the population, so it should have been about 50-50 instead of 78% versus 17. So, what we have is a lot of people out there that are miscategorizing themselves or giving themselves credit for being more optimistic than they actually are. I think that goes back to making sure that you avoid the five Cs I talked about, all of that negativity, because, once again, when change hits, the first scan is for danger and it’s easy for people to get stuck there.

Dr. Lisa Balbes: Excellent. Well, it sounds like this is something that you can do even before your company is into a merger or acquisition, kind of prepare yourself to think positively about whatever happens?

Dr. Price Pritchett: Well, yes, and once again, I think that that is going to be a new skill set that we all need to develop in this world of high-velocity change. A couple of other things I would mention, Lisa, though, that I think that one could try to do once they’re involved in a merger/acquisition situation. If you can, try to get an assignment on one of the integration teams that will be set up. Secondly, do what you can at your individual—in your individual work role to facilitate the integration process. Don’t be a barrier. Don’t be one of those people in that 30% that is just either overtly or covertly resisting the whole process because the fact is, you’re not going to unmerge the company. I will see people all the time fight it, and be angry about it. And it’s a dead-end street. It’s just going to drain them, and it’s going to make them look less attractive as an employee. The other thing I would say, just a quick note, get to know the people in the other company. Network, get over there. It’s kind of like, okay, if these two companies are getting married, you need to know, you know, who’s—who else is involved in this relationship. That just makes it easier to live together.

Dr. Lisa Balbes: Good point. Let me ask you one last question. Sometimes, as you said, people can’t handle the merger, and they end up just moving to another company, but that’s, really, just another form of change. Is it easier for people if it’s a change of their choosing, by moving to another company?

Dr. Price Pritchett: I like that question, Lisa. I think that if change is of our own choosing, it probably, as a rule of thumb, is easier for us to adjust to and embrace. But, if you stop and think about it, that can still be very difficult. Think about when you get married. Think about when you have babies. These are, usually, purposeful acts. These are things we do on purpose. These are things we want. We want a family, we want to get married, and so forth. I can tell you, man. I’ve been married for 45 years, but those first two years of marriage were the hardest adjustment I’ve ever had in my life. And so, once again, if it is a merger situation, and if it is something that, particularly if you’re the target company and you’re being acquired, I think the best thing you can do is either, one, salute, resign and go on your way if it’s something that you cannot stomach, or act like you would if you joined a new company. Behave just as if you were there trying to prove yourself, trying to fit in, trying to align with that company’s goals, and so forth.

Dr. Lisa Balbes: I think that’s an excellent point, it’s all in the attitude
and how you handle the—what has been thrust upon you.

Dr. Price Pritchett: And these are all things that we’ve talked about here that are within the individual’s control. You know, you can do this. And it may take some effort, but it’s so much smarter than—I will—we will always tell our clients, the people down in the rank-and-file parts of the company, particularly, we’ll say, “Look, control the controllables. Don’t waste your effort trying to fight those things that are inevitable.” Jonathan Kozol (sp?) had a quote that is one of my all-times favorite—one of my all-time favorites. He said, “Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.” And I think that’s really good advice in a merger situation.

Dr. Lisa Balbes: I think you’re right. I think that’s excellent advice. And with that, I will thank you for being here today. Again, our guest has been Dr. Price Pritchett, an expert on integration and change management. And we thank you for helping our members deal with the changes that I’m sure are coming to all of them.

Dr. Price Pritchett: A pleasure being with you, Lisa.

Dr. Lisa Balbes: Okay. Thank you very much for your time.

Dr. Price Pritchett: Good-bye now.

Dr. Lisa Balbes: Bye.

You can read more about Mergers & Acquisitions on Dr. Pritchett’s website at www.pritchettnet.com/competencies/MA.asp.

This interview was conducted by Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D. of Balbes Consultants. Lisa is a scientific communication consultant and author of: “Nontraditional Careers for Chemists,” published by Oxford University Press (2007).