Getting Through Kilometre 30
By Wayne Prins, Executive Director
Have you ever run a marathon? I admit I have not, but I can imagine what the aches and pains and seemingly endless nature of the event must feel like around kilometre 30.
For many members in Alberta, the economic challenges of the past couple of years have felt a lot like kilometre 30. They’ve had to endure remarkable hardships due to the downturn in oil prices and the resulting slowdown in work in the energy sector. Members in other parts of the country have also had to endure hardships—both professionally and personally—resulting from Canada’s lacklustre economic performance.
In my experience, we tend to approach hardship in one of two ways: optimistically or pessimistically. The manner in which we approach a hardship has a significant impact on whether we get through it successfully or not. And, even when an optimistic approach ultimately leads to a negative result, at the very least, we experience a greater quality of life throughout the course of the hardship.
Let me elaborate. I’ll start with pessimism, just to get it out of the way. Pessimism, by definition, is a way of thinking that anticipates negative and undesirable outcomes from any given situation. It’s a glass-half-empty state of mind.
I’m certainly not immune to pessimism, but I know from experience that life becomes much more difficult and less pleasant when my attitude defaults to the negative. Going back to my marathon analogy, imagine how difficult the race would be if a runner at kilometre one was overcome by the belief that he or she would succumb to fatigue, pain, or injury before the finish line.
Optimism, by definition, is a way of thinking that anticipates a positive and successful outcome. It embodies hope and possibility, and it forms the foundation of confidence and resilience. Optimism is inextricably linked to a good quality of life—a prerequisite to enjoyment and happiness.
In my years as a representative, I’ve been inspired many times by stories of members who have shown a determination to face hardship with optimistic energy and hope for the future. Members who have maintained hope in the midst of mental illness or addiction. Members who have given their time and resources to help a fellow member struggling with injury or a personal challenge. Members who have shown remarkable resilience in the face of wage cuts and job uncertainty.
CLAC strives to be an optimistic union, because we believe optimism is the hallmark of progressive and modern labour relations. Our goal is to make it central to your experience of being a CLAC member, and our commitment to serving you in the best way possible.