The art of commuting is an acquired taste. I had planned to travel from my home town into the big city for just a year. I’d managed to secure a fixed term opportunity, and a hefty pay rise. I felt as though I could cope with a two hour journey to work, and a two hour journey home, every day. Just for a year.
Twelve months turned into twenty four months, and eleven years later, I’m still commuting.
If you are applying for jobs that require a commute, you must consider the implications on your entire life. Whether your journey goes smoothly or not is beyond your control. You may not have as much spare time to do the things that you enjoy. From experience, life all too easily starts to revolve around the commute.
To decide whether commuting is really worth it for you, you should;
Do Your Sums
Can you afford to commute? Think carefully about all the costs associated; train fares, additional fares (bus or subway), car parking costs, petrol. These costs add up – an increase in wages may be cancelled out entirely by your increased costs. Plus, train fares increase annually; will your wages increase, too?
Become a People Person
Whether you currently like to smell second hand kebabs at close quarters, or enjoy strangers touching you for an entire train journey, as a commuter, you’ll have to get used to it. Seriously. Space is tight, and personal space is a luxury that no rail season ticket can afford.
Try to test the journey out before accepting a job with a long commute. There are peak times, and those times are the most popular for fellow commuters. Could you start your day a little later or earlier to ensure that you get a seat on the train? If you don’t manage to get a seat, can you stand for the entire journey? Start thinking about what you’d need to take with you each day – travel cards, laptop, work files, lunch box… these things start to pile up! Can you physically carry all that you need each day, on and off the train when it is packed full?
Have a Goal
If you are hoping to take on a job with a long commute, you are clearly committed to your career. You should start thinking about your long term goals, in work and in life. Would you move to the big city if you could? What job do you hope to be doing after this one? By having a goal in mind, you may be better able to cope with the daily grind!
After considering everything, a job is a job. We all need to work in order to have shelter, food and clothing. To desire anything else really is a luxury! You should make sure that you have a good work life balance. Always remember, your work to live. Simply living to work is not really living at all.