Welcome to the Friday Forum!
Every Friday, we take a question submitted by one of our readers and have our professionals field it and provide advice. We then encourage members of the Need a New Gig community to comment below and give their take!
Here is This Week’s Question:
“I have been looking for a new position now for over three months and I have only had a few interviews. One of those interviews recently turned into a job offer, but the company is about an hour from my house. It is a good opportunity, but I am really nervous about the commute. I feel that with traffic or weather I could easily be spending close to 3 hours in the car a day. How do you decide if the long commute is worth it? Should I keep looking?”
Commute time plays a big role for job seekers as many would prefer their new position to be closer to home. With that being said, sometimes this is a difficult variable to control. Candidates need to have some flexibility when it comes to location as it opens you to more available opportunities. However, how far is too far? Is there such a thing as too short of a commute?
Think About Your Situation
One of the most important things to think about when considering a new position with a long commute is your personal situation. Have you been looking for a job for a long time and not had much luck? Are you out of work? Do you need to get back to work as soon as possible? Are you in a specialized field where there aren’t frequent jobs available? All of these are important things to consider, but I always recommend that having a job is most important. Maybe you just started your search so you have the ability to be choosy. Either way, be realistic and think about your situation.
What You May Like
The first thing that may make a long commute worth it is the job itself. If you have the opportunity to do something that you are very excited about or love doing, chances are that you won’t mind a long commute. The flip side is that if you end up not being happy with your role, the commute will become even worse.
Another benefit that some commuters seem to love is their “private” time. They use their commute as a time to wake up in the morning and decompress on the way home. You can also use this time to catch up on some new music, listen to an audio book, or chat with a friend on your hands free.
Explore New Areas
Sometimes a longer commute can take you out of your comfort zone, but it can also open you up to places that you’ve never been. Working in a different area will let you experience a different community and you may be surprised at what you find between restaurants, shopping, entertainment, etc. You can also take multiple routes to work which really let you explore!
What You May Not Like
Something that can’t be overlooked is the actual cost of commuting to work. Depending on how far you are traveling it may be a big hit on your wallet. If you take public transportation, it will cost you more to go farther and you also have to make sure that a route is available. If you drive, you will spend more in gas and put more miles and wear and tear on your vehicle.
While it may not seem like a big deal initially, sitting in the car or public transport for an extended period of time could take it’s toll on you. When you are faced like things with traffic and weather it may make you reconsider if the position is really worth the commute.
Effect On Personal Life
It may sound crazy to think that your commute to work could effect your personal life, but the reality is that it does! When you take on a longer commute you are losing free time in your life. You have to remember that it may be more difficult to get to family events, make it home on time for dinner, or simply be where you need to be. It can also have a negative effect on your personal life if you are stressed from the commute and in a sour mood when you get home.
Is too short of a commute even possible? Some job seekers say yes. This is because if you have a short commute you get zero benefits of the long commute. It might sound crazy, but some candidates feel that your commute should be in that “sweet spot” of 20-30 minutes. This will allow you to take advantage of the benefits of a long commute like private time to wake up and decompress, but it takes away the negatives like extended time in the car.
Overall, it really comes down to your personal situation. There isn’t a right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a position with a long commute. We suggest looking at the commute and its direct impact on your life. If it is the perfect position or you need a job and you can make it work it may be worth exploring. If you feel that the commute time is going to be problematic and cause you stress and issues, it probably will.
What are Your Thoughts? Comment Below!
How long is your commute? How does it work for you? Let us know your thoughts!
Dan Metz is the Director of Executive Search and Employee Development at the Resilience Group, LLC, and Co-Founder and Contributing Author for Need a New Gig. Follow his blog for more great tips like this!