Agency Transition Survival Guide – A Blessing

By HeretyczkaA

In the Transition
By HeretyczkaA

I’ve had the unique fortune to experience large agency transitions on both sides- the agency and the client. Also years ago in a former professional life I saw a large manufacturing partner go under. What I experienced followed a pattern and theme.

Transitions are blessings and your reputation is everything. This follows Law #5 of Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power. Guard your reputation with your life.

When you’re working in your affairs pay attention to the slightest comment or foreshadowing about imminent transitions to be less caught off guard. If your ear is to the ground and your heart in tune there should be no surprise and shock. Either it’s Darwinian or our Economic Society, maybe a little of both, but if you have a job and are working you need to realize you’re never entitled to that job and economic forces and bottom lines run the show. This applies if you are in a two person company or a multinational publicly traded entity. As stated in my post Lone Wolf, Family Owned Business, or Corporate Jock to quote The Godfather, “It’s nothing personal, it’s business.” Often people become indignant about the security of the employees and how could these people in high places make “such rash” decisions. Ironically as one moves up in higher places the stakes, tensions and affect on reputations become higher. It’s best to realize transitions are done for a reason and you likely don’t know, or will ever know the reasons. Move on. Waste no energy, especially emotional energy of what you have no control.

When I was at one company and it was announced our business was up for review I received the best piece of business advice very casually and slowly with an eye glance. You need to become ready to make the next move and realize you’ll likely come out better if you’ve been a good employee. Hard working and intelligent people are hard to find. If you’ve stood out transition will likely earn you a higher salary or an elevated title. I’ve seen it happen many times.

But there is shock. And what follows is a pattern I’ve seen.


This is where grace comes in. A lot of people cry. Some get very angry. Fists pound. There is also desperation. There is also grace.

Some leaders say and do desperate things, like looking for money and investors when their business has crumbled. Even worse some people start shredding documents either to destroy “evidence” or screw the upcoming company.

Other leaders look out for their employees and make sure they can find new employment, write recommendations, and ensure they have the time and resources to find a new job.

When you find yourself in this collective shock it is best to go inward and stay quiet. Don’t add to the drama. Be very careful of what and who you talk to. Guard your reputation. Shock is also the time when people drink… a lot. These are the times when you see ridiculous bar tabs. As I just said, again guard your reputation and you be the judge on whether this is a good time to drink.

Continue to do your job with more attention on delivering than before. This is where heroes are made. In my experience with the manufacturing company going out of business there were unscrupulous desperate people doing dumb things while one guy did his best to service my company and deliver top quality product. I’ll never forget that. He proved himself to be an extremely classy guy.


After a few days the humor sets in and there’s really a comrarderie of gallows type humor. People skateboard and play football in the hallway.


The sooner you get to this stage the better. It should be where your head’s at as soon as transition is announced. This is the focus to find a job. You’ll see some still in shock, still drinking, still laughing about the situation but you’ll see these are often the ones who move laterally or just continue their samsara of emotional stress.

You’re better off to get on with your search and examination of options as soon as possible. Realize everyone knows what’s going on and it is ok to go on a job interview or take a discreet phone call. Again, be quiet. Don’t be a jerk or blow your options by putting your options in people’s faces. Once with my entire office I heard a co-worker take a full phone interview in front of everyone in cubicle world. They lost a ton of respect.

When these things happen you have no idea who is going to be working for whom or selling to whom. It is entirely possible your next job you will be working for your subordinate or be selling a service to them. Be careful.

It can be a scary time. It was a rough day when I had to go home and tell my wife my company lost the business. But in the end I came out better as I’ve seen so many. There is an exhiliration and excitement for living on the edge as summed up in this tweet. –

And finally, once the transition is over and you’re in your new job wherever that may be… Company A will be a distant memory within a few weeks.

Everything written here are the views of Tim Aten and Tim Aten only. They have no relation, nor are they the views of any of my employers past or present.


  1. Dig the melding of spiritual practice and workplace dynamics- wise post

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