Work and the Life Course

Wednesday May 31 8:30 am to 10:00 am
TRSM 2-099

Session Code: WPO3
Session Format: Regular session
Session Language: Bilingual
Research Cluster Affiliation: Work, Professions and Occupations
Session Categories: Regular Session

This session focuses on the issue of how life course processes and people’s social roles and health statuses affect their labour market outcomes and vice versa. Papers in this session examine how work disabilities, incarceration experiences, caregiver responsibilities, and rising expectations of constant connection to work, affect labour force outcomes and people’s mental health. This papers in this session used quantitative and qualitative methods to address these issues. Tags: (in)equality, Work And Professions

Organizers: Annie Gong, McGill University, Xavier St-Denis, McGill University; Chair: Annie Gong, McGill University


Taylor Mooney, Memorial University of Newfoundland; Rose Ricciardelli, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Transitioning from Incarceration to Employment: Experiences of Parolees in Ontario, Canada

This paper explores the transition from incarceration to employment upon release from prison. Employment has been identified by researchers as an essential element in ex-prisoners’ community re-entry process. However, while the benefits employment has on community re-entry are clear, the path to attaining employment after incarceration, particularly meaningful employment, is far more complicated. Drawing on in-depth, semi-structured longitudinal interviews with 24 parolees occurring over a three-year period, we seek to better understand the experiences of ex-prisoners as they attempt to find work, particularly the barriers they face and any indications of how these barriers might be mitigated. A key finding indicates a disconnect between parole conditions that stipulate attaining employment immediately upon release and a perceived lack of preparation or readiness to do so on the part of our participants. Consistent with the literature, we found that the work our participants did find was low-paying, non-gratifying, and unstable – there was a prominent theme of lowered standards for employment as a result of incarceration. We then proceed to review shortcomings in parolees’ institutionally-offered employment preparation and discusses participants’ suggested strategies to improve these circumstances.

Andrew Nevin, University of Toronto

Technological Tethering and Cohort Effects: Understanding the Relationship between Job Contact and Work-to-Family Conflict for Digital Native Workers

This paper examines work-related communication and the blurring of the boundary between home and job contexts among workers of different generation cohorts. Using data from the 2011 CANWSH survey ( N =4,643), this quantitative study investigates Canadian workers’ work-to-family conflict (WFC) outcomes associated with the rising expectations of constant connectivity, that is “technological tethering”, in the workforce. I explore whether being in the digital native cohort (born ≥ 1980) moderates the relationship between job contact outside of standard hours and work-to-family conflict, while controlling for the competing responsibilities of being a partner, caregiver, and worker which are attributed to life stage role conflicts. Digital natives have uniquely experienced technology and the Internet as a fundamental part of their learning, culture, and labour while growing up (Prensky, 2001; Tapscott, 1998). As such, assumptions have emerged regarding the heightened ability of these younger workers to adapt to higher communication demands delivered via work extending technologies. Preliminary findings demonstrate that, contrary to expectations, generational differences do not moderate the relationship between job contact and work-to-family conflict when controlling for life stage. However, for those in executive and professional occupations, being a digital native significantly predicts lower work-to-family conflict when holding constant job contact at higher levels than in the full sample.

Fabrizio Antonelli, Mount Allison University

Understanding possibilities for career choice among Atlantic Canada’s undergraduate university students in the social sciences and humanities.

This paper presents findings from interviews with 40 undergraduate students from the social sciences and humanities who are in the early stages of their career development. Interviews with students in their graduating year from Atlantic Canada explore the impact of precarious labour markets on career aspirations, expectations, and development. The relatively high unemployment rates coupled with population retention rates, especially among young people, presents Atlantic Canada as a unique region for their career development. As well, labour market insecurity is particularly acute among university graduates in the social sciences and humanities. These students comprise a large portion of post-secondary graduates, yet are placed in the margins in terms of direct employability options. Preliminary findings from this study indicate the concerns regarding precarious employment lead students to question the value of their degree and the possibility for a successful career. The findings from this study will help shed light on the impact these vulnerabilities have on early life course development.

Stefan Wolejszo, Department of National Defence, Government of Canada

An Initial Examination of Elder Care in the Canadian Armed Forces

Caring for elderly family members can have considerable negative professional and personal consequences for care providers (e.g. Jacobs, et. al., 2013). The nature of military employment, which requires Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members to be deployed and relocated as a part of the normal posting cycle, can lead to increased challenges for those engaged in elder care. Despite the fact that elder care responsibilities may lead some CAF members to release from service early, the topic of elder care has received little research attention.In response to this lack of information, a quantitative study was launched in 2015 that examined the impact of elder care upon CAF members. The data collected provides a demographic overview of CAF personnel responsible for elder care and illustrates the association between elder care and psychological distress among CAF personnel. Written qualitative comments provide added insight into difficulties experienced by CAF members who are engaged in elder care, including managing work schedules and providing elder care after relocations, as well as mutual benefits of the support provided for both the elderly family member and CAF families engaged in elder care.