Work, Rest & Play – Career & Lifestyle Choices

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in 11-12, Work and Home | 0 comments

This lesson, which is informed by the big idea of Interdependence, asks students to reflect on the meaning of “work/life balance” and “quality of life” and to identify priorities for their future personal and working lives. Students examine the relationship between wellbeing and work, and identify the various characteristics of a job that might contribute to their overall health and happiness. Then, they research a job connected with the activities at the Port of Prince Rupert and analyze it with reference to their work/life goals and priorities.


1-2 instructional sessions of 40-50 minutes, plus 2-3 sessions for the student-directed research project


Students will:

  • Explore the meaning of work/life balance and examine jobs that are directly related to activity that is supported by the Port of Prince Rupert through this lens
  • Relate emotional health and wellbeing to the workplace
  • Access, use, and evaluate resources related to educational, career, and personal goals
  • Apply research skills to acquire information related to job possibilities and career interests


  • “Five Balls” Quotation (see Resources section)
  • White or black board and appropriate markers/chalk
  • Sticky notes (at least 5 per student)
  • Port-Related Jobs and Careers resource (see Resources section)


  • Computer and projector or Smart Board to display “Five Balls” quotation
  • Internet access for student research


  • Prepare the computer and projector or Smart Board to display the “Five Balls” quotation
  • Draw and label the five balls (in accordance with the quotation) on the board

CRITICAL VOCABULARY (see Glossary for definitions)

Bunker Fuel Analyst, Environment Canada Officer, Port Authority Manager, Captain, Environmental Engineer, Project Manager, Cargo Superintendent, Fisheries Habitat Officer, Public Relations, Coast Guard Officer, Firefighter, Safety & Security Officers, City Planner, Gantry Crane Operator, Shipping Agent, Civil Engineer, Health Canada Officer, Stevedore, Claims Adjustor, Insurance Agent, Transport Canada Marine Safety Officer, Construction Worker, Longshore Worker, Tug Boat Operator, Crane Operator, Machinist, Translator, Customs Broker, Marine Engineer, Truck Driver, Customs Officer, Marine Pilot, Vessel Traffic Officer, Dock Supervisor, Mechanic, Warehouse Supervisor, Electrician, Meteorologist


  • Tell students that this lesson will focus on exploring local job and career opportunities that are directly related to activity that is supported by the Port of Prince Rupert.
  • Explain that they will be asked to investigate those jobs and careers through the lens of “quality of life” – how that job can support or enhance what is important to them for general happiness and wellbeing.
  • Display the following quotation (attributed to Brian Dyson, Former CEO of Coca-Cola) on the board:
  • “Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls: Work, family, health, friends and spirit. You’re keeping all of these in the air and you will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it’ll bounce back; but the other four balls are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, damaged, or even shattered. […] You must understand that and strive for the balance in your life.”

    (See Resources section for a projectable version of the quotation.)

  • Ask students for their immediate reactions to this quotation:
    • What does it mean?
    • Do they agree with it? Why?
    • Do they disagree with it? Why?
  • Continue the discussion by “unpacking” the five different “balls”: What do we understand by “family”, “health”, and “spirit”, etc.? (For example, “spirit” might encompass religion, emotions, our passions and interests, etc. “Health” might include mental and emotional as well as physical health. People also have different definitions of family and varied family structures.)
  • On the board, draw and label the five balls. Give each student a handful of sticky notes and ask the students to write down the most important aspect of each ball (for them), using one sticky for each ball.
  • Have the students come up to the board and place each of their sticky notes on the appropriate ball.
  • Review and discuss the class’s responses:
    • Identify points of consensus and difference;
    • Note any conflicts between the priorities for one ball and those of another (for example, “making lots of money” in the work ball might be in conflict with “time to pursue my hobbies” in another ball); and
    • Note alignments between the priorities in one ball and the priorities in another (i.e. where a priority in one ball also works to support or contribute to a priority in another ball.)


  • Following on from the discussion of alignments above, explain to students that you are going to ask them to think about what they might want from their future jobs or careers with regard to supporting their other life priorities (represented by the other four balls).
  • Ask the class:
    • What kind of working life and conditions might best support our health, our family lives, our friendships, and our spiritual wellbeing (however we choose to define those things)?
  • Record students’ responses on the board, prompting them, as necessary, to consider the following matters:
    • Work hours/schedule (e.g. 9-5, Monday through Friday; shiftwork; nights; weekends; flexible hours)
    • Salary and benefits (extended medical, dental, pension, paid vacation, etc.)
    • Working with others versus working independently
    • How a job/career might match personal interests and values
    • Opportunities for career advancement and ongoing learning
    • Job location, commuting distance, requirements to travel for work or to spend time away from home
    • Job satisfaction
  • Have students, individually, make a list of their priorities for their future job/career from the perspective of how their job can support their identified needs and priorities in the other aspects of their lives.
  • Put students into pairs (or have them find a partner) and ask them to share their list of priorities.
  • Give students the option of editing their list following the “pair/share” process.


  • Have each student choose a port-related job/career. They can choose one from the list of Port-Related Jobs and Careers (see Resources section) or, if they already know of a Port-related job that they are interested in, they can use that one.
  • Explain to students that they are going to research the job/career that they have selected and evaluate it against their set of work/life balance priorities. Their evaluation might include a consideration of what compromises they would have to make or be prepared to make with respect to their priorities.
  • Give students time to research the job/career that they have chosen. Share the list of Great Canadian Online Resources for Researching Careers to support their search (see Resources section).
  • Have students present their research and evaluation as a written document or as a poster.


Students share their findings and conclusions with the class through an oral presentation and submit their research and evaluation as a written paper or as a poster.


Compare a Port Job with a Non-Port Job

Students select a non-Port job in Prince Rupert. They research it and evaluate it against their work/life priorities and then compare the results with the Port-related job they examined.

Interviewing a Local Person in a Port-related Job

Help students set up an interview with someone who works in a Port-related job in Prince Rupert to find out about that person’s work/life priorities and how his/her job supports his/her lifestyle choices.



Great Canadian Online Resources for Researching Careers

Career Edge – Connects job seekers with Canadian employers through paid internships

Career Trek – interactive, BC-specific career exploration site (part of WorkBC)


Education Planner – BC-specific site for exploring and planning post-secondary training and education

Research Your Chosen Career – Government of Canada “portal” to online career and job information

TalentEgg – tools and resources for students and grads transitioning from school to work

VECTOR – Video Exploration of Careers, Transitions, Occupations and Realities

WorkBC – Government of British Columbia site for learning about careers and jobs, training and education, and labour market information

Working in Canada – Federal site containing career and labour market information and video sources

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