By Katherine Louie
The publishing industry is consolidating at a rapid rate. Hearst’s January acquisition of Rodale Inc. and Meredith’s late January acquisition of Time Inc. are the most recent examples, but they will not be the last. But don’t assume all the changes will be negative. Editors who have dealt with an office merger—or two!—share what to expect when your company buys another (or is bought).
1. Don’t burn bridges.
“While this should really be common sense, it’s especially important to foster each and every relationship you have—especially during an office merger. Did your snotty, know-it-all peer lose his or her job as a result of the merger? Now is not the time to gloat or make your feelings known. Every industry is small, and it goes without saying that digital media/publishing is a relative petri dish, so you never know when your paths may cross with that person again. In a couple of years, they could be one of the only mutual connections you have on LinkedIn with your dream job and you don’t want to have sullied that professional relationship.” —Ashleigh Morley, Branded Content Editor at Hearst
2. Keep your chin up.
“Try to maintain a positive attitude, and continue working hard throughout the transition. During the 10 weeks between Hearst announcing its acquisition of Rodale and the sale closing, I accepted that I had no meaningful control over the situation—other than my own behavior and performance. This mindset helped prevent me from falling down worry spirals and ensured I was showing Hearst my best work. Hearst eliminated the position I held at Rodale, but I wound up sliding into a different role within the organization a few weeks later.” —Christine Mattheis, Digital Director at Prevention.com
3. Don’t rush to jump ship right away.
“Mergers are scary, and you may immediately think the worst is in store, but the new changes may offer great opportunities. Update your resume and keep your options open, but a new opportunity may be closer than you think.” —Nicole Bonaccorso, Photo Editor at The Weather Company
4. Stay in touch.
“Company mergers mean big-time uncertainty—about the future of the magazine or website you worked hard to build, about your coworkers’ and friends’ jobs, and, of course, for you. When I was going through this, what helped the most was staying in close touch with colleagues both inside and outside the company. With our industry the way it is, pretty much everyone has gone through a merger or some other tectonic shift at work and is generally more than happy to commiserate, share news, and, most importantly, send job leads your way (discreetly, of course). Nothing brings people together like adversity, so stay connected and stay strong!” —Vi-An Nguyen, Art Director at Penguin Random House
Katherine Louie is a graduate of Marist College, where she studied English/Creative Writing and Fashion Merchandising. She currently serves as the Executive Assistant to the VP, Publishing Director & Chief Revenue Officer of Men’s Health, Runner’s World, and Bicycling. Since becoming a writer, she has covered everything from beauty & weight-loss to style, liquor and outdoor gear. Her writing has appeared on Ed2010, Viral Fashion, menshealth.com and womenshealthmag.com. Check out more of her work at katherinelouie.com and follow her on Instagram!