“They’ve filed the Form 25 for you already, so you have no responsibility to report the [insert confidential topic here]. In fact, you have no responsibility to report anything to the SEC anymore,” the attorney told me.
And with that, my role here at [Anonymous Company] is finished. You see, I was hired to prepare the financial reports required by the SEC to be filed for a publicly traded company. I was on the phone with one of my favorite attorneys from a firm who actually are no longer our attorneys because [New Anonymous Parent Company] gets to have everything their way. That’s how it goes in a “merger” that’s really a takeover. Not wanting to look
stupid uninformed, I googled Form 25 while still on the phone with her.
Turns out it’s a 'notification filed by national security exchange to report the removal from listing.' NASDAQ was telling the SEC that [Anonymous Company] no longer exists in the world of publicly traded stocks. No stock trading = no financial reports required. Finito.
“Wow,” I said to the attorney. “So it’s done.” And I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. I got a lump in my throat. What a weird feeling – I didn’t expect it. I’ve known for months and months while the negotiation of this merger transaction dragged on that this moment would come… that I would no longer have a defined function here. I’ve known for a fair number of weeks exactly when it would come. But still, at the actual moment I realized I was finally rendered redundant, surplus to requirements, I didn’t expect it to be so painful. I held myself together and got off the phone.
Moments later, the husband called. “How’s your day going?” he asked.
“I’m feeling a bit delicate,” I told him.
“Why? Is something wrong?”
And here I paused a really long time and took a deep breath, but I couldn’t stop the tears from forming. I told him about my dismay, and how I felt stupid for being upset because it’s not like I haven’t known it was coming. And it’s not like I’ve lost my job… yet. I still get to show up and collect a paycheck. So why was I so bothered?
But he assured me that it is natural. I’ve loved this job. I’ve loved working with this team. Things won’t be the same again. Some of us won’t have a job; all of us have to get used to the new sheriffs in town and that ain't looking like a fun time. Some of us (yours truly) feel like [New Anonymous Parent Company] is blowing smoke up our butt about whether we will have a role here in the future because they know there will be a crap-load of work in the next few months to integrate the two companies and they need a warm body to do some of it but they won’t even think twice about cutting us loose with no warning when it’s done. (Whoa... breathe... not that I’m bitter or anything.) It’s not an easy thing to go through.
I asked to change the subject, composed myself and we went on to discuss more cheerful topics. Shortly thereafter, our head of HR knocked on my office door, dropped something on my desk with a smile and walked out again.
It was a sticker, with our Company logo and the word SOLD in capital letters. You know, like you see on real estate signs in front yards? I walked out of my office into a cluster of co-workers who were emblazoned with these SOLD stickers across chests or backs. They were cracking jokes about how some of us had to be sold for blue light special prices to make it a fair trade. And then I laughed and felt really fortunate. Because sometimes gallows humor is just what you need when you’re feeling morose. It’s hard to laugh and cry at the same time… not that I haven’t tried.