I sat in on a communal phone call with colleagues from Saab in Sweden this evening and it really was a heartbreaker. I won’t share the content of the call. It really is incidental to almost all who will be reading this and those who need to know will either have been listening, or will sit in on similar calls with their own people (if they haven’t already).
The big takeaway from the phone call was the real heartbreak of this whole situation. I’ve been back in Australia since early November and I didn’t realise how much I missed all of my workmates until this evening. Hearing their voices on the other end of the line really drove home the fact that we will most likely not be working together, ever again.
We had some incredible people in this group, people who had had great careers already with some big household-name companies. People who had left those companies to come and work with Saab Automobile. They made the move because they wanted the same thing I wanted – to be part of a great experience, doing great things with a great car company. We were free, we were unfettered. We were like Cosmo Kramer going commando….. “out there, baby, and loving every minute of it!”
We had a genuine chance, too. We had everything in place except for two of the things that we needed the most – adequate finance and cooperation from certain stakeholders. I guess if we had the first, we wouldn’t have needed the second so much. But even the second on its own could have helped to deliver the first.
These people, these fantastic, talented, wonderful people, will all land on their feet again, I’m sure. They’re too good to be left hanging in the breeze. It’s just that tonight, it’s really hurting to have to accept the idea that we won’t get the chance to execute the program that we were developing to promote the outstanding products we had coming down the pipeline. It hurts even more because it was all so avoidable.
I’ll be heading back to Sweden soon, to pack up some things and see as many people as I can. It’s going to be hard, but wonderful all at the same time.
Tonight’s one of those nights where you want to line up all the people responsible for this situation and give them a good, swift size 12 in the mid-section. What they’ve taken away is a tragedy for everyone involved – workers, colleagues, families, customers, dealers, the people of Trollhattan and others in the industrial sector in Western Sweden. It reaches further than you think and touches people deeper than you can imagine.
2011 really sucked, didn’t it?