Canadians are more interested in leading fulfilling lives than they are in monetary or career success, a new study shows.

The study, conducted by market research firm Angus Reid, found that more than three quarters of Canadians (77 per cent) are focused more on their personal life experiences than their careers.

The study also found that when asked to prioritize different aspects of their lives, nearly half of Canadians (45 per cent) said that time with family and friends is most important to them, followed by a healthy lifestyle (17 per cent) and rich life experiences (15 per cent), with monetary (nine per cent) and career success (seven per cent) much less important to Canadians on average.

Jeremy Gutsche from, a magazine that tracks and reports on cultural trends, says life-fulfillment is proving to be a powerful career force for many Canadians.

“There are a lot of situations where people are seeking out fuller experiences. People want to enrich themselves, even if it means taking a pay cut,” Gutsche said.

Thirty-seven per cent of respondents in the study also said the economic recession has made them re-evaluate what is important to them, less than 10 per cent said making more money or finding greater career success is their main priority.

In tougher economic times, Gutsche says people are more likely to reconsider their life priorities as people around them lose their jobs and start up new careers.

“Even if you don’t lose your job, you see people lose their jobs and ask yourself, ‘What if?’ You might reconsider what’s important to you,” he said.

Master caterer Mike Thompson worked in the Vancouver film industry for 12 years before realizing he was missing out on time with the most important people in his life — his family.

The pay was excellent but Thompson frequently worked up to 100 hours per week and hardly saw his children awake.

“My son told me he couldn’t remember what I looked like. You wake up one day and realize you’ve missed a lot,” Thompson said.

Two years ago he quit his job and opened his own sandwich shop, Duke’s on Broadway in downtown Vancouver. He counts many of his former coworkers as customers now and while he makes less money on the bottom line, he gets to spend as much time every day with his family as he wants.

“Getting ahead was most important to me before. Now it’s enjoying life.”

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