It’s not just a paycheque: Finding happiness through employment

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Work-life balance is more than just a buzzy term: a new Ipsos poll finds a significant percentage of people think a new career can lead to improved overall well-being.

“A strong 45 per cent said getting a new job or career would help their personal well-being,” said Jennifer McLeod Macey, a vice president of public affairs with Ipsos’ and a lead of its Health Research Institute.

“That’s a significant number of Canadians who think that they would feel better overall in life if they got a new job.”

Unemployment and jobs have overtaken healthcare at the top of priority lists for Canadians, McLeod Macey added, a shift that’s largely sparked by Canada’s oilsands taking a hit and the ensuing economic challenges.

TIMELINE: Tracking the layoffs in Alberta’s oilpatch

This holds true in Alberta as well as in Ontario, where half of the province’s residents agreed they would be happier with a job change.

“Personal well-being is so much more than physical health and mental health, this goes to show that.”

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The numbers of those who think that shifting jobs will improve well-being were particularly high among those in lower income brackets and Millennials.

“It’s significantly higher among those at the lower income [level]… unhappy with finances overall, thinking that better job would help with that, a better paying job,” said McLeod Macey.

“Often the lower paying jobs are not our preferred jobs.”

READ MORE: Why you can’t trust Canada’s unemployment rate

People in higher income brackets were more likely to respond that a better sex life or weight loss would improve their overall well-being.

Taking the leap

From being in a rut, to personal growth or to making more money, there are many motivators to wanting or needing a new job.

“People experience their challenges and barriers in different ways; tied back to their strengths and their life situations and expertise, gifts they have or are missing,” said Robin Swets, certified life coach with LifeExcellence Coaching in Victoria, B.C.

Some people lack challenge in their role; others simply never settled in one position for long – Swets calls them “envelope pushers.”

“It depends on what drives people. Some people are more happy at the front end of a situation where they are innovating, creating something. Other people are happier maintaining an existing system, drilling down into the details. So it depends on the person’s learning style and work style. And ultimately their personality.”

Swet says people need to not be frozen by fear of change, and work to drive themselves to see it as an opportunity.

“People will always be unsettled in change… felt by some people more than others.”

READ MORE: Vancouver, Toronto accounted for all job growth in Canada last year: BMO

He recommends having an accountability partner to help maintain a feeling of control while taking the leap.

“Life is too short; the vast majority of our waking time is spent in our career. We want that time to be extraordinary.”

Passion and fulfillment are just as important as compensation supporting the lifestyle people desire.

“At the end of the day, are you feeling fulfilled, are you feeling connected? Is there meaning in your everyday work? I think those kinds of things are basic human needs in relation to their careers and typically people feel engaged and passionate about their work when those factors are met.”

Workplaces need to understand the whole of their employees, McLeod Macey added.

“People are juggling quite a bit. Life is not as easy as it used to be – more difficult than ever before.

“I hope people understand the complexity of what goes into happiness and well-being. There is more to it. And Canadians recognize that.”

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted in April/May 2016 with a sample of 1,001 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within +/ – 4.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.

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