Tjena från Vejbystrand

Hi there. Long time, no write.

If you’re reading this, thanks for hanging around.

All is going well in Sweden. Yes, the job is absolutely fantastic. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted to do for work and it’s slowly expanding into areas I didn’t expect.

I expected to take photos, for example. I didn’t expect to take so many, nor for them to be so useful. This one’s now one of the slider photos on the Koenigsegg homepage.

DSC_2726

There are lots of other unexpected things, too. Content management. Website layout. And plenty more. It all involves a learning curve but not one so steep as to be a problem.

The bigger learning curve has been in navigating the Swedish bureaucracy.

Just getting here legally was a nail-biting experience in itself. As I’m an Australian (read non-Swede or non-European), I had to get a permit to work here, which took a lot longer than anyone thought. I planned my exit from work in Australia back in March. It was supposed to coincide with the Saab Festival, with the belief that I’d be able to start work at Koenigsegg the day after the Saab Festival finished. I was working on the assumption that the work permit would come in plenty of time, which it most certainly did not.

The advice I received from the Swedish Embassy in Canberra was that I shouldn’t enter Sweden while the decision on my work permit was still being made. On the Monday before the Saab Festival, there was still no decision. Impatient as I am, I booked my flight anyway, crossing all my fingers and toes that it would come before I left.

I had to write to the Swedish migration agency and let them know that I would be entering the country in three days time for the Saab Festival. I was advised that my visit would be OK, but if the decision on my work permit still hadn’t arrived by then, I would have to leave Sweden as soon as the Saab Festival was finished. I made arrangements to flee over the border if need be.

My first night’s accommodation at Swania in Trollhattan was booked for Thursday night. The work permit decision arrived Wednesday morning, which is about as close as you can get.

There have been other red-tape nightmares since then. All of them worked out OK, but it’s frustrating having to work through an unknown process at unknown agencies just to be able to do the simplest things.

Getting the card that goes with the work permit.

Clearing my extra suitcase through Swedish customs when it (finally) arrived via Emirates air freight.

(Here’s a tip for any Aussies coming to Sweden and flying economy with Qantas: one suitcase only. Qantas will charge you $80 per kilo for any extra luggage if you simply arrive at the airport and try to check it in. Lucky I checked this first. Even the cheap option set me back $300 but that’s much better than the $1600 Qantas would have slugged me.)

Getting the all-important Swedish personnumber.

Getting the Swedish ID card that should really be automatic when you get the personnumber, but isn’t. It involves an extra fee and a visit to a bigger Skatteverket office.

Getting a Swedish bank account (relies on the personnumber and if your a working foreigner, proof of your employment).

Getting the aforementioned Swedish ID card so that you can access internet banking. Yes, you need one to do the other.

Buying a car.

Yes, I bought a car and yes, it’s a Saab. I bought a 2003 Saab 9-5 SportCombi in Merlot with a black half-leather interior and 5-speed manual shift. It was previously owned by a former tech at ANA and has been well maintained as a result. I gave the boss a lift home last night and even he commented on how smooth and quiet it is.

I’m also living in a ‘Falun Red’ timber cottage with white trim windows. I look like a regular Svensson now 🙂

There are actually three little accommodation units in that building. Mine is the middle one. It’s tiny but that’s good for me right now. The last thing I need is to feel compelled to buy furniture and fill a place up with it. This little cottage in Vjebystrand Vejbystrand has most of the things I need – it’s cheap, it’s 5 minutes drive from work and about two minutes from this beach 🙂

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The 9-5 is actually intended to be my sensible winter car. I’m looking for affordable vehicle storage nearby and hope to store the 9-5, then pick up something less sensible to drive for the remainder of the summer.

The work?

It’s been a very interesting experience so far. It’s a bit like bringing up a kid in that there’s no instruction book. You think of things, you float ideas and you run with what seems best. There should be more strategy to this but I’m working on that. I think it’ll be my job to write that instruction book and I’m going to seek some expert help from friends along the way.

There have certainly been some exciting experiences so far.

I did my first trip for Koenigsegg before I’d even left my old job in Tasmania. I flew to Japan for an event at Suzuka Circuit, which was a jaw-dropping debut. I put a gallery of images in a previous post but here it is again:

Since then, we’ve done an unofficial record 0-300-0km/h run in the Koenigsegg One:1……

….. and I made it to England to cover Koenigsegg’s presence at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Goodwood was astounding in its size and the access to mouthwatering vehicles that is given to spectators. It’s effectively replaced whatever old-style motor shows there were/are in the UK, too. It is massive.

We have more events and campaigns coming up, too. I’ll be abroad again in a few weeks and several times in the months to come after that, too. And there’s plenty to do when I’m here, not the least of which involves making some new friends, learning a new language and culture.

It’s all going OK so far. There are quiet times, which can get a bit lonely, but they’re more than offset by the work and the amazing things I’m seeing and learning.

I do hope to write here a bit more often now that things are getting settled. Being away from regular Australian news bulletins has given me a new perspective on what’s going on in my homeland and it’s distressing to say the least. But it won’t be all about that.

Thanks for reading. It’s been good to write something familiar again.

Have a great week.

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38 Comments

  1. Thanks for hanging around? Thank you for coming back! It’s so exciting to see this happening for you. Just amazing.

  2. Glad you are enjoying your new career. If you can get to the Goodwood Revival I would highly recommend you do so. I much prefer it to FoS.

  3. I had one of those jobs once upon a time, where you pinch yourself, and ask … ” you are going to let me do this? and give me a company truck to drive? … and pay me TOO?? Wow! Keep the reports coming. I’m all ears.

  4. Glad to see you’re still writing here; thught swadeology would go silent.
    Sounds a bit like a spy novel with all the difficulties getting a permit to work there. I absolutely love those little red Swedish cottages, it must be the Swedish blood in me.
    I hope this upward spral continues for many years for you.

  5. Hey Swade, great to see you’re over in Sweden and living the life. Interestingly I now spend at least a few days a month in Sweden too, not so far from you!

    Interesting how the wolrd works. Have a blast!

    Chris / Talladegan

  6. I sympathise with the beaurocratic nonsense but you are nevertheless, a bastard Swade.
    Living by the sea in Sweden and working for Koenigsegg, flitting about at motor circuits and festivals…. I can’t believe you would walk away from a career as an auditor for this…….

  7. BTW – did you deliberately colour coordinate your car and your house? Very cute.

  8. Well you might be enjoying swanning about at the world’s most exciting automaker, attending the world’s greatest auto events, slurping up all the free ice cream you can eat before it melts in the UK heatwave, and driving a you-beaut 9-5 Wagon, but you are missing out on Tony telling Barnaby to pull out of Q&A, and the huuuuge “what will Malcolm do?” question regarding his impending appearance on the show next week..! It’s all go here.

    Miss your writing here, look forward to more in the coming weeks as you get settled. I’ve also moved continents alone, and all I can tell you is to put yourself about, get out there, and to enjoy it. One day it’s ‘normal’ again, but the first 6 months are so exciting and new! Good luck finding your way in your new life, and in the job.

    1. Tony: the not-so-slow progression from government leader to ruler continues……

  9. Nice one, mate! Think we’ve all been waiting for this post to hear how you’re getting on! Sounds like you’re incredibly busy, which is a good way to be! Looking forward to hearing more about the company and getting your perspective. Also, great choice on the 9-5! Keep it up!

  10. Pretty freaking marvelous thing you’ve landed Steven. Well played. And doing the whole “live like a Swede in Sweden” thing is just the right sort of thing to do to fit in quickly in any new place.

    So, as with others here, we’re waiting to hear what’s next.

  11. It’s such a great opportunity to experience a new country and such a fantastic job. I really enjoy your writing. It would be good to hear more about your new life in Sweden. Phillip, NZ.

  12. Swade: Your regular Svensson. LOL!
    Made my day.

    PS. I knew the next car would be a 9-5 SC. Very nice.

  13. good positioning. Now 1st, you make Koeniggsegg incredibly successfull, and 2nd, then, they have enough money to buy Saab in cash. Good plan!

  14. Right…!
    Putting ‘Swadeology’ back into my Bookmarks again…
    Merlot always makes a Saab look the goods, and love the fine finned wheels too!
    Noice!

  15. Thanks for hanging around? We’ve been waiting with bated breath for this instalment! Agree with all the comments about the 9-5 – it looks excellent. I guess the job isn’t 9-5 tho!

    I’m going green… …with envy 😉

  16. Aussie federal politics are real shit house so not missing much there, I’m guessing house rentals are cheaper than Australia, the blues are improving, the bombers are hird’s last stand..

  17. Glad its going ok. I can appreciate the difficulties of moving continents as I’ve done it twice and there’s always new hoops to go through. Shout if you ever hit the east coast and need a place to crash in DC.

  18. Glad to have you back Swade. I’ve been checking the site daily and figured you were probably pretty busy settling into a new country and a new job. Glad to hear things are going well. I’d be interested in your thoughts on the 9-5 once you’ve had a chance to drive it a bit, and how it compares to the 9000.

  19. Great to see you back here!

    Got plenty of Expats here at Geely in Gothenburg, including one Aussie (a former Saab guy).

    If you need some help with the process and everything around it, let me know and I can hook you up with some of them…

  20. Welcome to Sweden, Swade
    Swade! The land of beaurocracy….

    Hope you’ll like it in the long run. Your new job sounds really exciting !

  21. Welcome to Sweden! I guess immigration can be quite bureaucratic, but in other areas it’s actually quite smooth, at least compared to other european countries.

    I really happy for you! Can’t think of anyone deserving this dream job more than you. And I’m happy for CvK as well. He’s quite the national treasure, and I hope that he at some point will get more recognition for his awesomeness. Not that that is what motivates him.

  22. Omg! Omg! Wow! WOW!
    Read your blog quite irregular, usually after another depressing saabsunited read.
    So,I’m almost a month late at the party. Congrats with your dreamjob old man, they couldn’t have gotten a better person.

  23. Things I’ll never get to do:
    Work in Sweden,
    Live in Sweden,
    Write for a car company.
    But, you may never get to
    live in a tent in the desert,
    or have bombs dropped on your head,
    or wear chemical warfare protection suits.

    Maybe I’d rather live in Sweden.
    Congratulations and good luck.

    Just a thought.

    1. PS: Would like to hear more about your 9-5. I thought my wife would buy a 9-5 in 2009, but she bought the 9-3 XWD instead. My 2008 9-3 only has 66,000 miles and I have had a hard time finding a 9-5 which would be reasonable to replace it. Her 2009 9-3 only has 38,000 miles on it.

  24. Great to hear you have settled in. I had a couple of military exercises in the airfield of Ängelhom when I was doing service way back. It’s a nice location. Did your wife tag along? Hope things are working out at home as well and good luck with your new job!

  25. Hey Swade!
    Found my way back to your blog by chance and, man, that’s great news that Koenigsegg is tapping your creative resources. Congrats to that!
    Little over a year ago, I was visiting my crazy friend “Fritz” who lives in Ängelholm and he took me to the Koenigsegg facility. Amazing location on the old air force base, and we drewled through the windows seeing both new and old Koenigsegg cars being worked on. Unfortunately, we were not let in, but interesting it was.
    Recently, the last 1-2 months I have viewed Leno in the TreVita and the Driven program.
    https://youtu.be/FEmG0gSUBhQ
    https://youtu.be/qp_qxKWMsVw
    (…and other) and have to say it is an amazing feat that Christian and his company have been able to reach where they are today.
    Well done. I’m proud to be Swedish for many reasons, Koenigsegg is one ! And that a Tasmanian Aussie has been able to (s)wade through the swedish red tape and now works for Koenigsegg makes me all warm and happy!
    Have a lot of fun, spreading the word for Koenigsegg and the Ghost!

  26. It’s a tad bit surreal imagining you actually live in that Skånska cottage.
    I do not want to be a besserwisser but i am and have to point out that besides the colour sheme the cottage you live in is more of a Danish design than Swedish 🙂

    The first pic “slider photo” in this post is so nice. I love how it looks more like a crazy art-project than a car.