Thursday, December 20, 2007

Long Commutes: Even Worse Than You Thought

heavy traffic

When I was in the corporate world, my commute went from a predictable 30 minutes each way, to a predictable 45 minutes, to an unpredictable 60 minute minimum. That last change was a real nightmare - so I very much related to Penelope Trunk's posting today about long commutes. Here's a brief quote.
A lot of people try to justify their outrageously long commute. I think this is delusional, and I would know, because I used to have one: Two hours each way between Los Angeles and San Diego. Two hours, that is, if I left home at 5 a.m. and went home at 8 p.m. I thought it would be okay because the money was so good, but actually, I nearly lost my mind.

So think twice about accepting an outrageous commute in order to make outrageous amounts of money. Especially if your extreme commute means that the time outside of work for family and friends is gone - to the car ride. Nattavudh Powdthavee of the University of London published research to show that if you are going to take a job where you will give up seeing family and friends on a regular basis, you would need to earn $133,000 just to make up for the lack of happiness you feel from being away from those people.
Read the whole article (and the linked article about nearly losing her mind) for more insights.

[photo from neoporcupine / Simon ]


Cynthia Friedlob said...

Another post that hits home!

And home is where I'm based, fortunately, because driving in Los Angeles traffic has become a nightmare. I've been here for thirty years and the change has been significant. Some areas of town are essentially inaccessible during certain times of the day.

If Penelope Trunk made it from LA to San Diego in two hours, even at five in the morning or eight at night, that was quite an achievement. During rush hour, it can take that long to travel to destinations within L.A.!

Jeri Dansky said...

Hi Cynthia,

Obviously, I need to drive to my clients' homes and offices. (I'd love to have public transportation that I could use, but that's sure not the current reality.) But most of these drives are shorter commutes than I had in my corporate days - and I can schedule to avoid rush hour traffic. And I'm not tacking them onto a 10-hour workday!

I'm enjoying getting to know this lovely area where I live even better as I find my way to my clients' places. These drives have a totally different feel to me than the daily commute to an office.