Merry Christmas, Edge Petroleum employees: Your company is for sale or merger. When is a good time to announce to your staff that their future is uncertain? Employees who don’t have a mindset to see the grand possibilities of opportunity that come from potential change would say “never.” Those who do would say “any time and often.” Yet, at least a few members of the usually optimistic latter group might add “but not a few days before Christmas. Good grief!” Still, some may find yet even more joyfulness from the news: They could slowly make their way back to work after New Year’s Day. “I mean, what could come of it? I might get sold or merged?” Some members of both groups may adopt this attitude, especially those who use the spare time to work on their resumes or financial plans for an exit package. Nevertheless, surely the Edge Petroleum team knew this was coming, and why kid around and announce it Jan. 2? That type of dysfunctional tack on corporate M&A could lead E&P company teams the world over to develop a nervous tick around this time of the year, fearing they return from the holidays to discover their future might not be as they planned when making their New Year resolutions. Some may have made resolutions of “I will finally trade in the Rolls for a Bentley” or “I will finally test my blackjack theory in Vegas, even if the only table open is full of rough-looking truck drivers betting $500 a hand.” If knowing the future is uncertain, employees may make resolutions instead of “I will contact that recruiter who has been urging me to put my name in the ring” or “I will continue to test my blackjack theory only at home parties and play only for dry bow-tie pasta.” What is certain is that Edge Petroleum team members should fare well in 2008, no matter the outcome of a review to enhance shareholder value. G&G and other technical staff remain in great demand, and management is in great demand by private-equity providers looking to fund start-ups. According to a study by Mercer, manager-level geologist pay grew to average $177,000 this year, up from $140,000 in 2006, and top engineering executives’ pay grew to $176,000 from $150,000. The forecast for 2008 oil prices remains strong. And, while natural gas prices are soft, they can be affected by U.S. producers who turn off the valve when economics are unprofitable. The future is bright for employees of the oil and gas industry! The first bonus to Edge team members from the sale-or-merger news? Edge’s stock is up 15% today.