Should i take a job with a long commute? 5 things to consider

The recession is finally beginning to turn around. Companies have started to relax their hiring freezes, and the unemployment rate is decreasing month after month. More highly qualified people such as yourself are finding job offers coming in, and now it boils down to choosing the one that is right for you. One of the major elements you must evaluate about any job is the length of the commute. While it is of course preferable to enjoy a quick drive or even a walk to work, in some places that is simply impossible. In fact, many people work jobs that require a commute of over an hour in each direction, just because the opportunity is too good to pass up. So can that be said in this case? Here are five things to consider before accepting a job with a long commute.

Does the paycheck make up for the added expense? Don’t forget that you are using up more than just your time with than longer commute. You’ll go through more gas each week, which will come back to bite you at the pumps. You’ll probably pay frequent tolls, and you’ll certainly log more miles and increase the wear and tear on your vehicle. You must factor those expenses into your salary and make sure that you can swallow the costs. Most companies won’t reimburse you for daily commuting expenses, so if the paycheck isn’t significantly more than what a geographically closer job is offering you, there’s a good chance it isn’t worth it.

Is the schedule conducive to a long commute? This can be answered in a couple of ways. First of all, if you have a long commute by mileage but can organize your schedule so that you aren’t driving during the peak hours of traffic, the commute won’t be terrible. Those long commutes are made much worse by gridlock and road rage, so if there is some way to circumvent that you will be in good shape. Also, will your hours be consistent or will they fluctuate? A long commute can be even worse if your manager frequently asks you to stay late without any warning. You can make a long commute work as long as you can schedule knowing when you will be home. If you don’t have that ability, you could be in trouble.

Are there opportunities to handle ‘chores’ around your office? A long commute saps time out of your daily schedule that you could use to manage your life. With hours added to your day on either end, those chores will be relegated to the weekend, further sapping your free time. But if the office is in a convenient place, with access to quality dry cleaners, supermarkets, car mechanics and shopping centers you’ll be able to get some of those things done during your lunch hour, keeping your weekend free.

Can you handle the commute? At this point, you’ll have to be honest with yourself. Some people can keep themselves calm and occupied during long car rides. They listen to music or books on tape, catch up with phone calls, use voice recorders to make notes for the day, or simply enjoy the scenery. Other people get antsy after only a few minutes in the car, don’t really like to drive and don’t trust other drivers on the road. If the commute will raise your blood pressure and leave you stressed each and every day, you should probably look elsewhere.

Finally, is the job worth it? You’ll be at an increased risk of car accidents and stress. You’ll have less time at home with your friends and family. You’ll spend your nights hunting down discount auto insurance quotes online to save commuting costs. If the job isn’t a real opportunity that will further your career, it’s probably not worth the headache. Talk to others who have a long commute, but go with your gut instinct. In the end, it will be you in that office and behind the wheel for countless hours. Just make sure you’re up to the challenge.


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Jenni Proctor

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