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I Am A Whiner

Maybe that Canadian beer company who is soon going to be half American should change their slogan from “I Am Canadian” to “I Am a Whiner”. That’s because Canadians are some of the biggest complainers in the world.

Our number one complaint seems to be about the weather. What is that about? We live in a country with only two seasons, winter and mosquito. It will continue to be that way and even with global warming it will still be too cold in June to do anything but play hockey. This year there has been frost in every month so far in most of the Prairie Provinces, and unless we have a massive heat wave in November and December we just might have frost once every month for the first time ever.

Canadians’ second major complaint is about politicians. Everyone you talk to doesn’t like one or all of the choices. I would vote for N.Ovtabov (None of the Above) and so would many others if it were ever offered as an option. We blame politicians for everything. They are too slow to act on the things that need to be fixed and too fast to collect another layer of my skin in taxes.

Taxes, that’s complaint number three. The problem with our taxation system is that governments are addicted to our money. They can’t ever seem to get enough. They always want more. And even when they get more, like the extra $9 billion dollars in surplus taxes the Feds collected in 2003, instead of saying sorry and giving it back, they immediately start fighting amongst themselves about who should get to spend it.

The weather sucks, our politicians are brain-dead, crooks, or both, and we feel abused by our taxation system. All good topics to complain about and Canadians are very good at it. But at least we have good jobs and safe workplaces to be grateful for. Grateful? Not really. It seems that Canadians have let their whining get out of hand and now we have the research to prove it.

A new study by the Gallup Organization measured job satisfaction of workers in Canada, the United States and Great Britain. Their research showed that about 40 percent of American workers are completely satisfied with jobs and their workplaces, versus less than 30 percent of Canadians, and 25 percent for the British.

The survey of more than 7,200 American, Canadian, and British employees also showed that Canadians were less satisfied than their American cousins with almost every aspect of their working lives, even on things like vacation time, where they receive a lot more than the Americans. In most cases two weeks more.

Not only are American workers much more likely to be completely satisfied with their working lives, but they even seem to like their bosses. According to a recent Gallup Employee Outlook poll, three in four American employees (75%) of for-profit, private sector companies say that their boss is "great" or "excellent" to work for. On the other hand, about one in five employees rate their boss as "only fair" or "poor."

Canadians, with the exception of enlightened Workplace Today readers, feel free to declare open season on their boss. We have “report your bad boss” snitch lines, “how bad is your boss?” websites, and a culture where you have to wonder why anyone would take on any position of authority. Not only do bosses bear the brunt of the coffee room bitterness, but seldom will you hear anyone contradict the complainers.

Maybe it is about time to push back a little on Canada, Whiner Nation. On the weather, I agree. But you know we’ve learned to be very good hockey players, men and women, and when we aren’t swatting black flies, we do enjoy our time at the cottage. On politicians, somebody once said that you get the government you deserve, and maybe more of us who have opinions and ideas should get involved if we want to see a difference. On taxes, at least they don’t seem to be going up as much, and maybe our complaints are being heard if not listened to.

Around work and working conditions I think that Canadian workers, in whatever industry or sector they work, should put a sock in the whine engine. None of us have much to complain about, not at least compared to almost everywhere else in the world. A nice big piece of humble and grateful pie to go with that Canadian whine.


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