Changes Afoot at Work

If you’re a shareholder* of a particular US conglomerate, no doubt you were probably dancing with joy on 10th April 2015 at the news that the company’s troublesome and monstrous financial arm was finally going to be sold off, which sent the share price soaring 10%. 

As some of you were celebrating with the popping of champagne corks, I guess not many spared a thought for the 50,000 or so people who work for those various financial divisions around the world, who were left stunned and shell-shocked at the news.

People like me.

I’ve never directly mentioned on this blog who I work for but it was never really a big secret anyway.


Like many of my colleagues, I was shocked and saddened by the news. Some were angry that we were notified by email, but I guess they had to make the announcement as quickly as possible before it hit the Twitter feeds.

I understand why the decision was made. The past few years have been extremely challenging, all of our processes and procedures scrutinised minutely and audited (and then audited some more) to conform to regulatory requirements. I can see why the company wants to concentrate on its more ‘simple’ industrial roots.

I know businesses get sold off all the time, but we actually never thought it would happen to us.

Perhaps somewhat arrogantly, we thought that we were ‘too big’ to be sold off.

Fact is, we’re being sold off precisely because we had gotten too big and too complex.

…but Great

The company’s given me many great years and some fantastic memories, including travel to Paris, Rome, Madrid and Stockholm. I’m proud to have shared and contributed to lots of successes and have made some lifelong friends.

There was some laughter at the end of our emergency all-employees’ meeting when someone lamented “What about the Christmas party?” haha! 

So what happens next?

Right now, it’s business as usual, I’m still a paid employee and I still have a job to do which I’m going to continue to do as well as I can.

Because it’s business as usual, I’m going to continue (for now) with my current plan to FI. No changes to my savings, spending or investments. Carrying on as normal.

Job at Risk?

Not yet  – we haven’t been given any real timelines – could be any time between the next couple of months and up to 2 years!

All I know is that at some point in the future, I’m going to be working for another company.  This may mean that I stay within the current business I’m in but work for new owners, or it may mean that I am made redundant and I get another job.

Both scenarios mean that my defined benefit pension gets frozen – this is the thing that annoys me most about the situation but such is life, I will adapt my FI plan as and when required.

Remaining Positive

I can’t say that I’m not going to worry a little, as we’re now in a period of great uncertainty while we await our fate (ooh, rhymes!).

However, I’m going to stay positive, crack on with my work, see this change in a good light and that we will move onwards and upwards.

Strangely, now that the dust has settled after the shock announcement, the atmosphere in the office has been pretty good, lots of British humour along the lines of Monty Python:

(*I did have shares at one point, purchased via the share scheme at work. I sold them when the price was $35 per share back in 2008 to pay off debts…).

15 thoughts on “Changes Afoot at Work

  1. I am sorry to hear that you're currently in a period of such uncertainty at work, Weenie. I know the feeling (as I am sure many do). But fortunately, I know when the money will stop and so at least have some certainty in my uncertainty. As you noted a few posts back, these sort of things can often become excellent opportunities. They just don't feel like it at the time!

    I'll just reprint what I wrote on your earlier post as it very much applies:

    "Those times of least stability often prove the most valuable as you find something comes out of it in the end ( like you did). You just have to have your eyes open. Some people sadly have a too clear view of how they want their future to go. As a result, they miss the real golden opportunities that get presented to them."

    Fingers crossed and keep plugging away for FI. Events like this remind you just how invaluable FI is if you can achieve it!

  2. Oweee! That is shock news weenie!

    Love your positive attitude, no point in worrying about things you can't change. Just keep plugging away and be on the look out for new opportunities!

    My company recently had it's ass sold as well but the chances of any job losses are slim to none so it's business as usual for now as well for us!

  3. Hi Victoria, thanks and yes, I hope we hear more news soon. Although it is business as usual, the longer it goes on with no news, the more restless people will become. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Thanks DD.
    The good thing is that I'm still really busy with my job so a lot of the time, I'm just getting on with stuff, no chance to think about anything beyond ensuring I'm still doing a good job.

    But yes, I've decided to look upon this as a good opportunity, hence I still firmly have my plan in place and will only be tweaking it as and when I need to. Where the odd colleague has been negative or down, I've tried to bring them up with optimism and positiveness.

    However, I'm so glad that I've tucked away a year of saving and investing already, makes it easier to continue!

    Thanks for your kind words and wishes.

  5. Yeah, it was a real bombshell but as you say, can't worry about something that can't be changed. I think I'm lucky that the majority of folks in our office (around 150 of us) have just continued to plug away while we wait for more news. I heard today that some people in our HQ in London have already started to slack off and not bother, which must be so demotivating to the people who want to carry on working!

    Yeah, I saw that you mentioned about your company sale and am glad to hear that it's business as usual. Still, you won't be there for much longer until you go out into the big wide world on your own – looking forward to reading about what you'll be getting up to!

    Thanks for the kind words and for your continued support.

  6. You've got such a great attitude. And yes there may be an amazing opportunity hiding in this potential crisis.

    I can't say it was a surprise to me though, but I never knew who you worked for anyway

    I'm sure you'll do really well or if all of this on the long run…


  7. Thanks M – it seems to be the right attitude for me to adopt, to make the best of the situation. Back in 2008 when my job was at risk, I wasn't so clear-minded and was very stressed and unhappy. I look back now and see that it was the totally wrong reaction, so I'm determined not to go down that street again.

    Thanks for stopping by and for your words of support.

  8. Hey Weenie,

    Crappy news. Mostly in relation to the DB scheme perhaps.

    These things always seem to take ages, 2 years of uncertainty! Good work management. You must have a lot of experience in the industry so I'm sure what ever happens you will be ok.

    Ever consider contracting if it all goes pear shaped? I keep looking at the people who contract at my place, doing the same job as everyone else, but on a temporary basis and seem to get paid about 4 times as much (I'm guessing).

    Mr Z

  9. Hey Mr Z
    Thanks and yes, the worst bit of the news is the DB pension!

    Still, it's not all doom and gloom, fortunately I've got a ton of work to do so don't have a lot of free time dwelling on 'what ifs' and 'what might happen'.

    Contracting will be an option if I can't secure a full time position. Whilst earning big bucks is tempting, I've never really been motivated by pay and the insecurity of contracting, ie in between projects etc, will do my head in!

    Thanks for stopping by, hope you have a nice weekend!

  10. Hi Weenie,

    Sorry to hear the news, one of your previous posts hinted at troubled times ahead. Glad you are thinking positively. Working to FI gives you more options that you realise. It is annoying that the DB pension is affected. My DB pension stopped when I was made redundant – at least I know how much it is worth as it is now fixed and will not start paying out until I'm 65. I just adjusted my plans based on this fact.

    You will be in a better position to some in the office due to your FI plans and I have found that I am actually better off now. It sounds a strange thing to say now – while you are in the midst of it, when you reach the other side you will see it differently.
    Keep working, saving and smiling…opportunities are out there and targets are still possible.

  11. Hi weenie,

    The loss of your DB pension must be a blow but at least you do have those years under your belt and they should keep their value (I give thanks for every extra year that my eldest son holds onto his DB pension as they are definitely on the way out). The flexibility of a DC pension is valuable too so maybe now you can have a good mix of the best of both worlds.

    (And I love your positivity too – good for you :-))

  12. Sounds like you're taking a healthy attitude into it! It pays off! Certainly negativity is not really worthwhile. It just drains energy and doesn't get you anywhere.

    Exactly, you're much better placed now thanks to your saving and investing. Not all your colleagues have that I am sure.

    Good luck. Rooting for you!

  13. Hi Sparklebee
    Yes, the DB pension is annoying but it'll be interesting to see what it's actually worth. I wasn't thinking of taking it til 65, but I will have to adjust the figure as it will now obviously be a lot lower than I had planned.

    I'm fortunate to have friends and colleagues who are not living paycheck to paycheck – just that none of them have any real plans for retirement or are into investments so I guess I will be in a better position than many.

    Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by.

  14. Hi Cerridwen
    Yes, I'm so glad I've got all those years under my belt. I do intend to invest in a DC pension when one is offered, seems daft not to take advantage of employer match and I guess it's another diversification feather to my cap!

    Thanks for the kind words and for your continued support.

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