A year ago today the Globe and Mail’s headline in the Report on Business read “Surging job growth adds to the improved economic picture”. The national unemployment rate was 5.7%.
Today’s Globe headline should probably say something like “Surging job losses add to the declining economic picture”. The unemployment rate is more than double that of last year in 7 of 10 provinces. We have more than one-third of Canada’s workforce unemployed or underemployed right now.
It is easy to worry and become overwhelmed with our current circumstances. It is hard to imagine there are silver linings in all of this. And yet there are:
- So many small acts of kindness – a smile from a stranger, a cheerful note chalked on the sidewalk, an invitation to a virtual happy hour, sharing of great YouTube videos, playing music, and singing.
- And even bigger acts of kindness – people making and sharing masks, setting up giveaway stations for those in need of food and other things, volunteers who run errands, pick up groceries and deliver them to those who cannot go out.
- Realizing how incredible our health care system and the people who work within it are.
- Cleaner air, beautiful blue skies, easier breathing, and more comfortable eyes in places where air pollution has declined.
- Lots of great information and sharing of ideas on how to manage the complications of juggling work, childcare, teaching kids, and discovering just how hard school work is, and all the routine activities of life with everyone at home all of the time.
- The collaboration made possible by the digital era in which we live and how that is contributing to increased knowledge and faster problem-solving.
- The ingenuity and resilience people are exhibiting in dealing with the challenges with caring for families and friends, getting work done if we are lucky enough to still have work to do, shopping (including dealing with shortages in our grocery stores).
- No rush hour traffic jams and no problem finding parking.
- More time for physical fitness and so many great related online activities.
And probably the most important bit of that silver lining- realizing just how much we have taken for granted.
The nasty gale we are experiencing will blow itself out. When it does, hopefully we will all stay kinder, more generous, and more grateful.