Entrepreneurs, optimism, prudence and saving a generation


Every time a Canadian moves south of the border to realize a dream because he or she couldn’t find someone here who believed in him or her, we’re diminished. A little bit of our potential, a little bit of our pride, a little bit of our future and a little bit of us slips out of our grasp. That’s not what the immigrants who came here expected when they sacrificed so that they and their children could build a life as Canadians that they couldn’t build in the old country. Those immigrants were our grandfathers and grandmothers, fathers and mothers.

These are tough times. Great downsizings were topical a dozen years ago. They’ve given way to lesser downsizings and restructuring. Both are still very much with us. Rows of vacant desks are still a feature of buildings with exteriors that show no sign of what happened inside. Learning why those downsizings took place will help you avoid them in the future.

I’ve seen 2000 desks and workstations that used to be occupied by 2000 people, each of whom I met personally minutes after they discovered that they no longer figured in their employers’ plans. This chapter of Canadian history is recent enough that most working people and those aspiring to be working people must be aware of it. Our post-secondary-education-bound young people and those holding undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and little else know almost nothing about it. They still believe that they’re entitled to find work in their chosen field. There are no entitlements.

If we’ve learned anything from this period, it’s that the good life is not a right guaranteed under the British North America Act and the Constitution. An ounce of prevention will always be worth a pound of cure. That’s another way of describing personal due diligence

Technologically, intellectually, creatively and socially, Canadians don’t have to take a back seat to anyone. You have options but you have to know where to find them. There are entrepreneurs and visionaries who are looking to you to help bring their dreams to fruition so that we all benefit. You will have to become aware of them.

The only way we can take from Canada is to give something to Canada because no one else is going to give it to us. If you can’t find work in your chosen field, you may have to choose another field. That’s one of the reasons Personal Due Diligence is here.

In his inaugural address, John F. Kennedy said: “… Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” High levels of youth unemployment suggest Canada is at risk of losing one generation if not more. We’re dependent on one another, and not only in times of high water or fire or blizzards. But we have to become aware of each other. It’s what a country is. If we’re going to be one, we have to act like one.

Robert Kennedy said: “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” He also said: “All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.”

Amen.

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