I've been an ex-pat for over 7 years now and for the most part, I feel like I have the whole homesickness thing under control. But there are two times per year when I can count on feeling a little lonely for the US of A. The first is the 4th of July, a uniquely American holiday as well has my birthday. The 2nd time is either Thanksgiving OR Christmas, because I go home to spend one or the other with my family on alternating years.
This happens to be a Christmas-in-the-US year, so I spent Thanksgiving Day here in Sweden, at my office…because for Swedes it's just another Thursday in November. And as if having to work on Thanksgiving Day wasn't bad enough, the management team selected this particular date to inform the company that Swedish production operations will be relocating to our factory in eastern Europe next year. The Swedish plant is part of the same complex where corporate HQ is located, so I know a lot of the people who are going to be affected.
But it gets worse. In addition to the 60 production jobs leaving Sweden, a half-dozen positions at HQ directly supporting the plant (specifically in the IT and finance departments) will also be moved. And Swedish labor rules are such that if the people in the eliminated positions have the required skills and education to handle a different job in the company, it becomes a matter of last-in, first-out…with virtually any job being fair game. So that means everyone working at corporate HQ was essentially given notice of the possibility that they could lose their job in the coming year. Happy Thanksgiving to ME!
Union negotiations with the company are now underway, and in reality, chances are very slim that any of the affected IT support guys or controllers have the necessary skills to do corporate communications…but I'm finding the process unnerving none-the-less. Especially given the fact that Dr. Darling's company is scheduled to fold up shop in January (unless some new investors step in).
Needless to say, it was an extraordinarily tough day…and one that did not have a roasted turkey and all the trimmings waiting for me at the end of it. So I bought some sliced turkey breast on the way home so that I could at least have a cold turkey sandwich for supper. And check out what the world's best Swede brought home from Denmark for dessert: