Times Are Tough…

I have lived in Alberta for about 5 years now and in the little while that I have been here, I have been told by other Calgarians that this economic downtown in the province of Alberta is worse than that experienced in 2008-2009.

Although I have never worked in the oil & gas industry, I can feel the ripple effect of these changes in the city of Calgary. Alberta is known for its prosperity and job opportunities. I know that was a deciding factor for my move here 5 years ago. It’s a place where new grads with minimal “real life” work experience can start sculpting their resume and building their careers without having to wait for people to retire for a position to be open for them. It’s a place where experienced professional can come and gain competitive wages and develop their skills even further. I like living in Calgary. I like the mountains, the hiking, the church community, the Chinook’s in the winter…although I can do without the short summers. Ontario is my home, but Alberta is my home away from home.

However, there has been a “change in the air” so to speak. When I take the train to work every day it seems like there are less and less people on it, nobody is smiling and the downtown core is not bustling as it used to be. People are in despair, and understandably so as unemployment rates have almost doubled from 4% to 8% in just under a year and a half with the hardest hit sector being oil & gas, construction, mining and no sign of it slowing down. Everyone is affected.today-i-choose-joy

So how do you remain joyful in times of such great uncertainty?

I don’t have the answer to that, but I can will share with you what works for me. A spirit of gratitude and putting things into perspective. Every morning and night, I take the time to be grateful not only for my job, but for my health and family. I am thankful for getting to live in this beautiful country where social services exist for all Canadians who need it. It is not a perfect system (that’s a completely different discussion I don’t want to get into), but for those who really need it, it’s a big help. Applications for EI have sky rocketed in Alberta along with people using food banks and shelters. But people are out there helping others (with their time, resources and money) and that is always a good thing to see.

Remaining in a spirit of gratitude and joy in the wake of all this gloom and doom is a challenge, I will be the first to admit. But I think life has its cycles. There will be good seasons and there will be bad ones. I have been laid off before but I have also been promoted. I have lost loved ones, but I have also gained new ones. The key is not to let our circumstances dictate our feelings. I am still a work in progress in this area, but I am trying each day, are you?

Take away: Be an encouragement to someone today, and find ways to build people up.

Categories: Life

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11 replies

  1. There’s economic downturn everywhere and if we base our state of gratefulness or joy on the state of the economy, then we will live very miserable lives and a yo-yo life as well. Great post Pamela.

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  2. Happiness and fulfillment will never be achieved based on the economy we live in. Financially it always feels better during “good times,” but unless we are willing to find passion and purpose in our lives, “good times” simply makes it easier to pay bills; good times do not complete our lives. It takes awareness and discovery for the meaning in each of our lives to become fulfilled in life.
    It’s a wonderful journey to pursue! Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

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    • Very well said. I think those that are most devastated by an economic downturn are those that are heavily leveraged, and also those that put a lot of worth and value in themselves based on how much they make or assets they own. I do have to say though, being out of work for a long period of time can drain someones ambition and make them feel down so I get that as well. Gratitude is the “cure” for all of these issues in my opinion.

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    • I totally agree with your opinion. Our in-depth happiness and fulfillment don’t come from the economy that we live in but from within. Great comment.

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  3. This is such a great perspective to have! Gratitude is one of those feelings that doesn’t one up often enough in my own life, or at least, not as often as it should.

    I did fall into a pattern where every shower I take, I think for a moment, how lucky I am to be able to take a fresh shower each day. It is a brief moment of gratitude each day for me.

    Thanks for sharing this article and I’m curious how things will shape up. Part of me thinks people take more risks when the economy is in a downturn. I think that’s why we see a lot of businesses are started and emerge successfully through downturns in the market.

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    • Yes, gratitude is so important no matter how the economy is doing. I would have to say though I think most people take less risk during an economic downturn (just based on my own experience and what I have observed). Entrepreneurs however think differently than most people, and I would have to agree with you that is most likely when they would start a new venture. It should be interesting to see how the economy unfolds. I think the next two years will be rough though in oil-dependent economies like Alberta. Hopefully we will all learn something from this experience.

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  4. Ah, the good ol’ Albertan economy – the same thing that drove me to leave Ontario for Edmonton many years ago! I missed home intensely (hence my short 8-month stint there) but the job market and pay were amazing and the jobs I landed myself there helped me get into the company I eventually met my husband at back here in Ontario! I don’t regret it one bit, but neither do I miss it!

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    • What a nice story. I know what you mean though. after you live in Ontario its hard to like anywhere else. There are great things I like Alberta of course. The hiking, mountains, outdoorsie life, but home is where the heart is. This is my new home for now though. I have made some great friends so can’t complain.

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  5. Pamela, you are on to something big here! Congratulations – and THANK YOU – for having the courage to share with us all your ups and down about money. I am glad you have chosen to take the responsibility to share and educate others. As I reminisce about high school days, I recall a hip pop/rap song with a chorus that went something like….”…Messing with ma’money is like messing with ma’ emotions…” So true! Money is a sensitive subject to many. I hereby declare myself to be your #1 fan (after your hubby who toiled away with you towards debt-free living, of course!).
    Cheers,
    Leila

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    • Thank. Yes, debt is no longer a “4 letter word” in society. It used to be frowned (except when buying a house). Now its a social norm that is sought after, admired and even encouraged. I look forward to learning more about earning, spending, saving & investing money so this does not happen to me again.

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