How Far Will You Go (To Work)?

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item How Far Will You Go (To Work)?

  • It depends on what stage of life I was in.

    At one point I was willing to drive whereever, however, as long as needed. I used to drive from far out suburban Chicago to pretty much downtown. Commutes over an hour, for a warehouse job, were ridiculous, but I didn't know any better.

    Then I migrated into professional positions. It took time, but I was able to find a job about 5 minutes from home with a market leading company. I took a big step down, both in pay and in responsibility. Within 6 months I was back where I was in pay and job. Within the first year I was far ahead. With the short distance, pay, responsibility and respect, it was a great place to work.

    Next I changed careers again into computers. I took a huge pay cut, and although I had moved farther away this job was slightly closer than the previous one at about 30 minutes. A very poor company, I left when they moved to Minnesota with the claim that "it doesn't snow much there"... Yeah right.

    I worked as a consultant next. Do you count the drive or the flying time I had to sometimes do? The drive in was 70 minutes, home was 1-3 HOURS depending on I284! ARRRGGGHHHH. I gave it up after almost getting killed three times by three (or was it four) trucks on one night coming home. Found something within a half hour again.

    After the terrorist issue a lot of people were out of work, I was no exception. I changed careers again, still computer related but different than what I did. I am now about 10 miles from home, the drive ranges from 15 to 40 minutes depending on how stupid drivers are at the time. You know, it might snow next week, I better drive 20 in a 55MPH zone to be safe!

    Of all of them, I can't say any one drive was less stressful. Chicago traffic is the worst in the world as far as I am concerned, and I have driven in LA, Washington, Atlanta and other major cities. Those are NOTHING compared to the windy idiot driver city. Does it matter how long it is, I prefer shorter, but what would be nice would be to be able to get on the road and go, instead of hitting every traffic light, because drivers can't find the gas pedal. I would gladly drive 40 minutes if I could actually go, I can't stand a 10 mile drive that takes just as long. I feel THAT is a waste of my time.


  • I drive 1 hour one way, by car.

    Depending on the traffic condition and the time of day I leave home or office this could vary between 1 hour and 1 1/2 hours.

    It is the price I pay for getting the best of both worlds, IT and the outdoors. We own a rural property under the guise as a farm on the wayside of the farthest city borders.

    I do remote into the office occasionally but the connection speeds here does not make that a real pleasant or productive experience so it very rarely used. So for the privileged joy of starry nights combined with a good career I have accepted that drive/traffic time is a part of life, as even in the worst of traffic days I just cannot fathom living in the concrete jungle.


  • Most of my jobs were fairly close, 5 minutes to 30 minutes. That, of course, doesn't include the two jobs I held between November 1989 and March 2005.

    The first job (after four months unemployment) was a 90 mile (on a good day 1.5 hours) one way commute. Did that for 3.5 years and no telecommute option.

    The second position (after 5 months unemployment, and a short stint contracting for the previous employers software vendor) was a 68 mile one-way commute (about 1.25 hours). At first the only telecommute option was during the evenings if there was a system problem. That changed after about three years and I started working from home one day a week with the option to do so if the weather and road conditions were unsafe. The telecommute option died during my last year with this company.

    What I find interesting about the long commutes; actually helped me work out solutions to problems, and I couldn't explain to people how I did it day after day. Heck, I drive to Denver today and I wonder how I did it for 15 years.

    I don't want to do it again. I'm getting too old to spend that much time in the car. Plus, I think I lost out on some important family time, even though I left early and was usually home by 5 or 6.

    I think a good commute time should not exceed more than 30 minutes. Anything longer, you should consider moving closer to work if you can.

  • Speaking personally, I would rather have a slightly longer commute than move deeper into the city to get to work--I like being able to see the occasional piece of greenery and not be constantly breathing petrol fumes! At the moment my commute varies between about 1.25 and 2 hours a day, depending on traffic.

    Edit: That's both ways, by the way--I don't think I'd want to do a one-way two hour commute!

  • I have 45 minutes by cycle (3 times a week on average), or 30 minutes by car each way (12 miles). I'll be honest, I would not like any longer, it is a bit of a waste of life. I'd encourage anyone who can to ride in when possible - it does make me feel a lot better.

  • Most IT people in the Home Counties (the counties around London) commute into London, doing either car-train-tube or car-train-walk, so I would guess commutes average 60-90 minutes. Mine is currently 60 mins.

    People within London will use normally use the tube (subway), but getting from affordable suburbs into the City also probably takes 60 mins. Personally, a 60 min journey which is mostly the train is bearable but mostly tube is not.

    I've had a few contracts outside London with an average car journey of 30 minutes, which were good. However, anything longer is unlikely as contract rates drop off dramatically as soon as you go further away from London.

  • Probably depends on how desperate I am for work at the time. At the moment, 30 minutes is about my max. I live far enough away from major city areas that there's no public transportation until I'm > 1/2 way to my destination. At that point, I might as well keep driving. I've seen some great job offers, but with the traffic conditions I'd easily be looking at 45-60 minutes minimum and likely work hours that would put that commute right in the middle of rush hour. No thanks.

    If I really need a job, I'd be more likely to take a job requiring a longer drive. The pay is decent, but I hate losing that much time to just being in a car. I would definitely try to trade that off for working remotely. That brings other challenges, but at least traffic isn't one of them.

  • I've certainly never done any crazy distance commutes (one of my wife's cousins used to commute daily in the UK from Kent to Birmingham - not far off 200 miles each way), but I've also never had a job within walking distance. I've lived and worked in London, meaning commutes of about an hour each way. I've lived outside London and commuted in, and that's ended up about an hour and a half each way. Currently, I live and work outside any major cities, and my commute of about 15 miles takes about half an hour.

    All this said, the company I work for has a lot of benefits for me, many of which I didn't know about when I first joined. My decision of whether the commute was worthwhile was largely based on normal criteria like salary and proximity of similar comparable jobs. Now, I'd have to include much more subjective things too, such as how much it's worth to work for a company that treats me well, or is as flexible as this one is with regard to remote working, school holidays, domestic emergencies and so on. As a result, if I had to move house, I'd be happy to increase my commute by an hour each way to stay working where I do, but would probably reject a new job offer somewhere else that involved an hour and a half journey.

    Semper in excretia, suus solum profundum variat

  • In my previous job, I used to commute 2 and a half hours each way - when the traffic was exceptionally good! I used to set off at around 5am to be in for 9am (normally arrived between 7:30 and 8:30), then get home anywhere between 8pm and 10pm. Stayed there for 11 months, before getting a job nearer to home (20 minutes each way).

    My reasoning was simple - I worked in pubs until I was 24, but for three of those years I was studying at university to get a degree in computer science and move into Development. When I graduated, I was originally quite picky about location - 6 months later I was much less picky and took the first thing that accepted me 😉

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  • The longest I did was 1hr 30min, that drove me mad pretty quickly to be honest. Half an hour is OK; a bit longer is alright, particularly if I can do it on foot/bike and get a little exercise in too.

  • I always used to work close to home (less than 20 mins walk) but my new job is 35 miles away and I travel by train and bike. Depending on the weather I may sometimes bike all the way which is a 2.5 hour journey. Its tiring but gets me some exercise and I can do something I enjoy everyday biking and SQL developement.

  • At one point I used to travel 2 hours to work and 2 hours back. Since then I have relocated closer to work and haven't had to travel more than 30 min. However staying close to work is expensive rent wise.

    Jayanth Kurup[/url]

  • I work in the city (northern Metro Detroit) but get to live in my vacation home (10 acre farm in a rural area 50 miles north of Detroit).

    I’ve always been able to arrange my time so I manage to avoid rush hour. Current position (six years) is 48 miles one-way, and I can consistently do this in 60 minutes or less. Due to my position in life (late 40’s, kids out of the house, wife working) and a focus on some career development, I’m working 5:30 am – 6:00 pm M-F (my choice) plus the commute. This beats the traffic in and follows the traffic home.

    I’m driving a 2000 Ford Focus. Had 69,000 miles when I bought it 5.5 years ago. Now has 232,000 miles. (Just keep changing that oil!) Gets 30-32 MPG, so it is currently costing me about $11/day just in gas. (Would love to get a turbo diesel when this gets replaced.)

    Telecommuting is not an option for regular work hours, but is an option for anytime outside regular hours.

    The commute in is usually spent catching up on news (radio). The commute home is “unwind” time, listening to music, books-on-tape (mp3), running errands, etc.

    Home time is spent enjoying the stars, walking the dog, raising apples and grapes and chickens, enjoying the silence and fresh air, smelling fresh-cut hay, occasionally getting snowed in, and regaling city-dwelling co-workers with stories about well problems, using tractors, splitting wood and heating the house with a wood stove, no cable TV, etc. No neighbors closer than 500 feet away. Also – no home-owner’s association or subdivision rules!

  • I live 8 miles from work and bicycle to work 2 or 3 days a week. When I moved to this state I waited until I found my job then bought a house close enough so I could ride my bike. Furthest I've ever had to commute was about 20 miles and that was still within biking distance.

    It's a lifestyle choice living near the city so I can bike to work, but it works well for me.

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