On Monday (April 11th) I found out that the photography division that I work for of the company I work for (Herff Jones) is being sold to a different company (Lifetouch), effective May 2nd 2011.
For those who do not know, Lifetouch is the largest school photography company in the US. Herff Jones Photography was the second largest, but still quite a bit smaller than Lifetouch.
The good news about this is that they are offering all of us that work in Lewiston employment as of May 2nd, so I am not out of a job immediately. They are also continuing Herff Jones Photography products and services through the Fall photography season, which means they need the people in Lewiston to support those operations.
As you may or may not know, what I do is Technical Writing as well as some Techinical Support for some of the software. Which means I write instruction manuals, web blasts, and so on, as well as answer phone calls from our sales representatives and the independent studios that do business with us and use the software. So they are, apparently, keeping all of us in Lewiston on our current jobs until sometime after the Fall photography season.
How this impacts my job situation in the long term, I do not yet know. How it impacts my job situation in the short term is that the deposits to my bank account will say ‘direct deposit – Lifetouch’ instead of ‘direct deposit – Herff Jones’ after May 2nd.
What I can say is that they seem interested in us and what we do, and my boss is optimistic that we’ll be able to be a longer term part of their team. They, like most large companies, have bought competitors before, and some people from those competitors are still with Lifetouch.
The not-so-good news in all of this is that it is possible that at some unspecified date in the future I may have to move to the Twin Cities area if I want to continue to work for them. I’m not opposed to the idea of working for Lifetouch.
Yes, I’ve been used to thinking of them as ‘the enemy’ in some sense, and right now, at this moment, have a negative comment about them in an e-mail on a printout on my wall in my office at work, but I’ve met some of their people, and they didn’t have horns and hooves, and in fact seemed very nice. I’m almost certainly going to accept their offer of employment as of May 2nd, unless something drastic happens between now and then.
The problem comes in the fact that I’d really rather not move to the Twin Cities area. It wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it’s not my preference.
Also, after the last couple of years, I’m not sure I want to work for a large corporation long-term. My experience is that corporations care about money and business more than they care about their employees. But that’s another post.
The best case scenario is that they let some of us software-type people telecommute, either from home or from Lewiston. They are keeping the Sales office in Lewiston open, so there is some hope of that.
The worst case scenario is that they hate my work and don’t want to keep me around beyond the transition period. 😉
I don’t think the worst case scenario is very likely, and I don’t know how likely the best case scenario is either, but I’d say more likely than the worst case.
I don’t know right now what I’ll do if my options are work for Lifetouch in the Twin Cities or find a new job. But I’ll think about it. I’m sure I’ll blog about this again as I learn more.
Thanks for reading.