You were not sure if you should apply, because the role was located a bit further out from your home than you would like. But, you went for it and ended up landing the gig. However, after traveling there for several interviews, you have realized it is quite the commute. You are second-guessing if the salary increase is worth the extra time in the car every day.
If moving is not an option, you will have to do some figuring to determine if commuting is even worth it. Here is what you should consider before taking a “better” job with a longer (or different) commute.
Something to think about when you have a commute are your options for travel. In a big city, there might be public transit, like trains, subways and buses, you can take for all or some of your commute. However, the most common method of commuting is driving. According to the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, in 2016 more than 76 percent of Americans drove alone to work every day; only 9 percent carpooled. Be sure to consider the cost of your commuting method into your salary negotiations. Moreover, consider how a longer commute might affect your overall happiness. If sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic is likely to cause you a great deal of stress or anxiety, consider how this might affect your overall attitude towards your new role and company.
This is probably the first thing you thought of: How much more will it cost? There is a calculator for that if you are driving for your commute. It will calculate the monthly and yearly cost for your commute based on the parameters you enter. Something to take into consideration when it comes to cost is the price of fuel. It fluctuates – and sometimes dramatically. When you pull up a 10-year historical chart of average retail gas prices on GasBuddy, the low is $1.59 and the high is $4.10. If your commute is long, this can have an enormous financial impact. So, consider how much gas prices could increase before the drive is no longer worth it. You cannot predict fuel prices, but you can make an educated decision.
The other top consideration is usually time. Maybe you are single, child-free and completely committed to climbing the corporate ladder. Now might be the time to make the commute. However, if you have a spouse, kids and a life outside of the office, your time spent sitting in traffic may be painful. But, if you outsource other time-intensive duties with the salary increase from your new job, maybe you can save the lost time elsewhere (think grocery shopping or housecleaning). Another way to convert the worth of your time is thinking about what your salary translates into hourly and multiplying that by how much longer your commute is. Does it overshadow the raise you got from changing jobs?
Is this offer for your dream job? Or, at least the next step on the way to your dream job? The prospective company is important to consider, not only for the standing job offer but for potential future career opportunities. A longer commute now might be worth it for the experience you will gain or the doors it will open.
Additional Expenses (Parking & Tolls)
Working locally may mean free and spacious parking options. However, a popular business park or busy metropolitan city probably means you are paying for parking that you must hunt down every morning. Add the cost for parking (your new company might subsidize this) and any tolls you encounter on your new commute into the comparison.
Where Do You Live
If you live out in the suburbs, you probably expect to have to commute into the city for work. On the other hand, if the “better” job is all it is cracked up to be, and you love it, could you move closer? Or are you tied to where you live now? A longer commute might not be bad in the beginning but think about it day after day – it might get tiring. If you are renting, it could be easier to pick up and move. Determine if relocation is possible if the commute is unbearable, and calculate the impact a move would have on the budget.
Can You Be Productive
If your new company does not mind if you take a morning conference call (hands-free, of course) en route, this could save you some time and make you feel productive during your commute. Alternatively, the drive can be your own little respite from the world. Do you like to listen to podcasts or audiobooks and can write off this extra time in the car as a type of entertainment? How you will spend the commute is something to think about.
Proximity To Other Interests
Maybe you have decided to go back to school, and there is a college near the new office. You will cut out that extra commute to and from school if you decide to work next door. Or, there is a gym, located between home and work, that you have wanted to check out. If you can piggyback other things on your commute, it may take the sting out of it being longer or out of the way (i.e., more worth it).
Test It Out
A good rule of thumb in deciding if the commute will kill the new job opportunity is to actually do it. You may save this test for a point further along in the hiring process – say, for an interview. Just make sure you do it on a day you would be commuting into the office, around the time you would be traveling. A Saturday afternoon drive is going to be different from Monday morning.
There is always an optimal solution for everyone regarding how to get to work- whether it is commuting or not. Keep these points and suggestions in mind to decide whether or not commuting for your job is the right option for you!