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oops! did I marry a terrorist?

Day 221/366 - Just filling the tankOf course not.  Neither is he a gluttonous fat cat nor a boneheaded buffoon.  My dear husband is, however, employed by one of the Big Three auto companies, and therein lies the rub.  With the rhetoric flying around capitol hill this week, you would think everyone at the Big Three is lounging around, smoking cigars, and waiting for a blank check so they can continue spitting out gas guzzlers.  While there are important arguments on either side of this complicated situation, the language has been hostile and personal.  Phrases like “off with their heads”,get a real job”, and “they deserve to go down in flames” have been tossed around freely. 

From my viewpoint, which I’ll admit is biased, this is all completely absurd, and it hurts.  People have a right to be angry about the economy, but could it possibly be misdirected?  If you can hold on to your tomatoes for a moment, please allow me tell you my little slice of the story.

G chose to apply his education to something he had always dreamed of:  designing cars.  In the early 90’s, when our Silicon Valley friends were catapulting skyward with the internet explosion, G believed strongly in building something tangible.  While American auto companies weren’t doing so hot, he wanted to be part of the turn around solution.  Believe me, in those California days, the last thing I wanted was an American car.  I totally get that.   But G had this hopeful optimism about his role in the process.  And I loved him for it. 

We’ve been in Michigan 17 years now, and we’ve been incredibly blessed.  That doesn’t mean the career path has been easy or super lucrative.  When pundits say the companies have made no effort to restructure, I have to laugh (or cry).  We’ve been through countless spin-offs, freezes, delayed or zero raises, cancelled bonuses, and round after round of layoffs.  Over the past several months, the company has rolled out an agressive plan to survive with a shrinking market share.  They have closed plants, cancelled programs, negotiated radical reductions in union wages, and refocused on quality.  The cuts have been deep and painful.  Thankfully, G has never lost his job, but many very talented people have.

Guess what?  G still loves his job, even though it’s been mighty stressful.  He works with some really smart people.  He’s developed some really cool products.  And he’s excited about the fact that their quality is actually topping Toyota’s.  An outstanding product line is beginning to roll out now, and the company is poised for success. . . until the credit market froze, and people stopped buying cars altogether.  From anyone.

Just Wednesday, while politicians postured, our stock price plummeted 25%.  By Thursday at 7am G was summoned to justify ”headcount” in his area.  Again.  So yes, I’m hoping congress will approve a bridge loan.  You may disagree, and that’s fine.   But please, spare me the caricatures and insults.  Keep in mind there are real people behind the numbers and the rhetoric.  As we teach our children, name calling and finger pointing isn’t helpful.  Let’s stick to the facts and respectful discourse. 

And hey, if you’re ever in the market for a car again (?), check out this and this.   We love ‘em. They’re the coolest. 

And now I brace for the tomato bombs. . .

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