Today is Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk, which encourages people to talk openly about depression and other types of mental illness. I am going to do just that in this blog post.
I have mentioned in a past blog post about my emotional flat tire days, but that is just a small part of the relationship between mental illness and employment. Those like myself who suffer from long term unemployment are vulnerable to bouts of depression that can work against achieving employment. The homeless and those living below the poverty line have little reason to be happy when there’s no money for basic necessities like food or shelter.
Even those who are working are facing the tough challenge of maintaining a healthy work and personal life balance. Companies are singing and dancing to that post-recession hit song, “Do More With Less”, and their employees are stressed out from trying to keep to the beat. This continues onward after work hours with couples arguing over the silliest of thing while their children cower.
Healthy stable employment for all that does not impact personal happiness is important. Canadians who do not have to worry about employment issues are less likely to suffer from mental disorders, which in turn brings forth a prosperous and productive society.
I hope everyone who drives is enjoying the falling oil prices, but for the province of Alberta, it’s not necessary a great thing.
Alberta is the suggested province job seekers should move to if they live in Eastern Canada. Its fiscal house is currently in order with a surplus, the economy is very healthy and businesses and the jobs they create are moving there.
Not so fast. Alberta’s economic prosperity was based on the high price of oil. Now the price of oil is falling rapidly and Alberta Premier Jim Prentice is considering creating a sales tax (it was the only province that did not have a sales tax). While oil prices eventually will go up again — that’s how any commodity that is sold will behave — the choice to go west is not as sound an argument as it used to be.
On the flip side of the coin, if Alberta’s shine as the go-to province for work is fading, then Ontario, currently a have-not province with a sluggish economy, could become the prosperity engine it used to be back in the 1970’s and 80’s. Here’s a CBC story that supports my opinion.
Is the possibility that Ontario will return to better times a good thing? Well, perhaps for me since I don’t want to chase jobs all over the world, but it’s not a solution for the country as a whole. The Canadian economy is just like a well-maintained car. You’d never consider driving a car with one flat tire, a cracked driver’s mirror or a leaky gas tank, would you? Of course not. You wouldn’t work around a defect, compensate for a loss in functionality, or assume the other working parts will keep the car going. You expect everything to work properly. You fix anything that is not working properly.
Same goes for Canada’s economy. Every province, every territory, every region, every city and town, every person must be working at optimal performance. Just like a fine-tuned car.
I’m not against anyone getting a raise for their hard work, or even as a fixed index against the inflation rate. The more money we have, the more we spend, and the more we spend, the more businesses profit. When businesses make a profit, they grow and hire more people, who in turn become awesome consumers because those who are unemployed make really lousy consumers.
What I am against is when only one segment of the workforce gets a raise and the rest does not, even though everyone involved worked their keisters off. I’m talking about the 1%. I’m talking about, as stated in this article from the Toronto Sun, those CEOs who will earn 195 times what the average Canadian worker earns.
I’m not saying CEOs are lazy. I believe they work hard at what they do and the responsibilities they have to bear must be very stressful. I am in full agreement they are tasked to make major decisions that can affect the future of a company and have to take a significant hit their work-life balance. They are not the bad guys.
Having said this, they alone did not make the business a success. They were not the boots-on-the-ground force that made the money. Such credit goes to the managers beneath them, straight on down to the front-line employees who earn a fraction of what the CEO earns annually, and did not get a raise for their share of the hard work.
I should also point out that some of those profitable business decisions the CEOs made also laid off a lot of people, with no thanks for their hard work. They put additional responsibilities on those still employed since they are now doing the work of those who were laid off. They took jobs out of Canada by recruiting cheap labour overseas. They dumped low-quality products and services on the market, resulting in an increase in environmental waste. They put an end to job-mentoring and entry-level positions for our young people to get their career started. They ended some corporate support to schools and charities.
I’m sure all the things they did, including what I mentioned above, was worth their raise. Whether they are proud of their track record that got them that coveted raise is the question that I’ll let these CEOs sleep on before answering.