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December 10, 2008

Life Beyond Detroit

8 This holiday season has been officially put on hold. 

My husband works in the auto industry. But he doesn't work directly for the Big Three automakers. He is one of the many that work within the dealer networks.

His job is on the line too, as his brand will be affected by the forthcoming restructuring efforts (in other words, it's going away forever). But you won't hear much about that in the media. We hear talk of factories closing, brands about to be sold off or liquidated, executive greed, and the rights of unionized employees and retirees as this house of cards is about to tumble down. But the mention of those outside the ranks of the automakers themselves is merely a footnote.

No one is talking about people like my husband. The suppliers, the independent car dealers... what about them?

In the grand scheme of things, there are more people touched by the demise of the auto industry that don't work directly for the automakers themselves. Collectively, the Big Three employ roughly 400,000 people. The people affected beyond is probably in the millions.

Many times these are small to medium-sized businesses that don't need a bailout themselves, but literally had to pull the plug when they found out they were essentially written out of the equation.

The crazy thing is, if you talk to these owners and employees, the demise of Detroit was no surprise to them. Basic business principles that they ran their businesses on have been non-existent to the automakers themselves. Containing costs, innovation that makes sense, avoiding past mistakes- these are the foundations that have been missing by The Big Three for years. At the same time, these "stepchildren" to the Big Three have been warning them to change. Imploring them to change. But their thoughts fell on deaf ears.

The news of the last few weeks within my husband's world produces a mere shake of the head punctuated with a long, drawn-out sigh... "It was bound to happen sooner or later."

It may surprise you that I am not pro-bailout.... which would seem odd considering the stakes my family will face in the coming months. My husband will be out of a job because of the bad decisions of others.

The business person in me cannot tolerate such ignorance. If I made equally bad decisions, I would be out of a job in short-order. And rightfully so.

As a Mom I would like to send these company's executives into the Time Out corner while I decide a fitting punishment for letting down the country.

And letting down my family.

Original post by Shelli to New Jersey Moms Blog... Shelli also blogs about family, economic fears, and her distaste of greedy executives at http://bagmomma.blogspot.com/.

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