It wasn't a pleasant time to be at General Motors in January, 2009 when the company filed for the fourth-largest Chapter 11 in history and was rescued by taxpayers through direct loans, bailout cash and bankruptcy aid.

"The workforce at GM was pretty disheartened as you can imagine," says Ed Whitacre, who was tapped to turn the company around after the bailout. "You’re being called “Government Motors” by everybody," Whitacre tells Big Think. "In some cases your neighbors won’t speak to you because you’re in bankruptcy. You're embarrassed about going home or going to the grocery store. Some of your friends aren't your friends anymore."

Nobody knows you when you're down and out. Ain't that the truth!

Now let's fast forward to April, 2010, when Whitacre announced that GM had beaten its self-imposed deadline and had repaid the entire amount it had borrowed from the U.S. and Canadian governments, with interest. 

How did Whitacre and the employees of GM get their groove back so quickly? In the video below, Whitacre tells us that GM and its employees were on a mission to prove that they were worthy of being saved. "Give us a chance," the company and its employees were saying, and "we’ll show you what we can do. And, by golly, they did."

Watch the video here:

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