Gordon B. Cooke, Deidre Hutchings, Jimmy Donaghey & Isik U. Zeytinoglu (2019) Happy at a price: employment challenges, life satisfaction, and lifestyle benefits among older individuals in rural communities in Canada and Ireland, Community, Work & Family, DOI: 10.1080/13668803.2019.1661830

In this paper, we analyze individuals in rural communities within Ireland and two regions in Canada (Newfoundland and Ontario) to explore the relationship between employment, lifestyles and life satisfaction. A total of 106 participants were interviewed, with the vast majority being over forty years of age. We explore their employment experiences, and address two questions: how strongly is life satisfaction related to employment among older, rural adults?, and are there gender differences with respect to rural employment and life satisfaction? Relatively few of the participants we interviewed within these communities held permanent, full-time employment locally. Many of the ones holding (only) seasonal/casual employment or self-employment indicated that it was difficult to make a living, but were determined to stay and ‘make a go of it’. While the participants tended to tolerate, rather than be fully satisfied with, their employment conditions, the vast majority were satisfied or very satisfied with life, and many pointedly described the benefits of living in their chosen community. This held for women and men, and for those near 40 years of age (and among the few in this study who were younger), to those of retirement age. Typically, they were happy, but at a price.