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job advice from those wiser than myself...(10 posts)

job advice from those wiser than myself...Brylia
Nov 20, 2001 8:00 AM
I have a dilemma and I'm hoping that I can get some good third-party advice...one can only take so much family advice before it all sounds the same :)
I'm graduating from college in December, getting married in January and have some school loans to pay off. I've been offered a job with an environmental consulting firm, despite the current lackluster job market. The kicker is that it's an hour commute each way. Do I take the job in spite of the commute in order to pay off my debt (I hate debt!) and finally have some income or pass on it and hope that something closer to home materializes? Thanks for your thoughts and insight!
take the job and commute on a bike!Dog
Nov 20, 2001 8:08 AM
You'll be in the best shape of your life. Probably not a practical solution, though.

I don't think there is any way to answer this, not knowing your marketability and your job market. Could be your only chance, or there could be dozens of other opportunities.

You might take the job and keep looking. Employers generally frown on that, though. They'll invest time and money training you, and won't want to waste that.

Quality of life is important. Me, I don't want to waste a chunk of my life each day sitting in a car in traffic. I live 6 miles from work.

Don't know how we can answer this for you. If it were me, I'd keep looking. I'd tell this prospect that you are interested, but need to check out some other opportunities, and put them off as long as possible. Then, get really serious about the search. However, employers, unless it's retail, usually aren't in hiring mode over the holidays.

Doug
Where do you live and how many miles is the commuteKristin
Nov 20, 2001 8:37 AM
Try this:
List out your 5 top priorities on a peice of paper. How many will you sacrifice if you take the job? How many will be satisfied? This always helps me to choose.

Depending on where you live, a 1 hour commute can mean 15 miles or 45 miles. If its the previous, a bike commute might be manageable. Are you in a major metro area (where jobs are more abundant) or in hicksville, suburbia or some such? In Chicago, a 1 hour commute is well within the acceptable norm. But for me personally, this was too long. It didn't leave me enough time to ride in the evenings. If it were me, I'd hold out. But then again, I have the luxury still decent job market. I'm assuming that you've already bought a home and moving is not an option.
Ugh. If I were you...mr_spin
Nov 20, 2001 10:08 AM
An hour commute each way is a soul-killing experience. Trust me, I used to do the same thing. You think, it's only an hour, I can do it. But that's two hours of your day you won't get back. Forget rushing home if you forget anything or have an emergency. Planning a night out? Better add some extra time, because all it takes is one idiot not paying attention to wreck your commute and add on another 30 minutes. Every day, as you walk to your car to begin your commute you pray it will be uneventful.

A year from now you'll come home to your new wife exhausted from a day of work and the commute home, just looking to sit down and do nothing all night. Your wife will leave you. Your dog will run off. You'll lost your truck. In short, you'll live the life of a bad country song. You might even become as bitter as I am whenever the subject of long commutes comes up.

On the other hand, it sounds like you are still young, so you won't have accumulated 10 or more years of commuting dread. So maybe with a clean slate, it won't bother you at all. And certain realities about the job market do come into play. You may not have a choice. In which case, you should consider moving.
re: job advice from those wiser than myself...DINOSAUR
Nov 20, 2001 10:58 AM
What kind of a commute? Is it an hour stuck in stop and go traffic or is it an hour drive because of the distance? I've commutted 45 minutes each way (35 miles) and it wasn't that bad. I just listened to good tapes and had a fun car to drive. Depends on the job itself also. Is it really worth it? How much is the commute going to cost you with gas and wear and tear on your car? Lots of stuff to consider. The fact that you are mulling this over in your mind might give you a clue. I guess you could try it and if it doesn't pan out, look for another job....
of course, like everything, the answers are all relative...Js Haiku Shop
Nov 20, 2001 11:17 AM
but, i worked before this job for two years at an awesome company. in my industry, paid o/t is unfathomable, but mine was at 1.5 times hourly salary. otherwise, i was essentially exempt/salaried, and had all kinda good benefits. problem was that i was driving about 30 miles to work and 30 miles home, and paying $600 a year for parking.

in moving from job to job, an important factor was being closer to home. in past jobs i've been able to go home for lunch, and it was a major perk. where i'm working now is about 5 miles from the house, and i go home for lunch everyday. my commute is less than 10 minutes one way, and at lunch, besides eating in my living room while watching tour tapes, i can also run errands and take care of miscellaneous housework and responsibilities.

I actually did put pen to paper in deciding. i can't remember the exact figure, but taking into account:

2 weeks vacation
12 holidays
2 personal days
52 weekends

the amount of time i was spending in the car, roughly 35 minutes each way, per year (not including driving out of town to service offices within a 200 mile radius) was about 277 hours, or about 11.5 days. i think this is around 3.15 of my year.

now that i'm driving 10 minutes one way, NOT including lunch drives, i'm in the car about 79 hours per year. seems this is about 3.29 days, or .9% of my year.

if the math is all correct, that's a pretty big benefit in my opinion.
Depends on a number of thingsTrent in WA
Nov 20, 2001 11:19 AM
What is your degree in, and how close is environmental consulting to what you're trained to do or ultimately want to do? If you're aiming to work in a specific occupational field, how robust is the job market, and are there any jobs in the field closer to home? If you take the job, what would you be doing? Would it require ferrying clients around in your car, and if so, would you need (or be expected) to purchase a new car? What are the hidden costs of making the commute? Would it require that you move eventually? How do you feel about that?

From what little you've said above, it sounds like the job isn't one that you feel inspired to take for its own sake. If you're doing it mainly for the economics of it, try sitting down and figuring out what its hidden costs might be (transportation, but also living expenses you accrue as a result of having two hours less a day to take care of cooking, household chores, etc.), and factor that into the wage you'll earn at the job. It might make more sense to take a job that pays less but is closer to home.

Case in point: My wife (hi, cutie pie!) took a job when we moved to Seattle that required that she commute around an hour each way to be at work at 7 most mornings and be capable of transporting a trunkful of computers to off-site clients. So we had to get a car, and given those considerations we decided that we needed a new car. Had she held off and looked for a job closer to home, we would have effectively been about $3000 a year richer.

Of course, if she hadn't taken that job (which turned into a nightmare), she wouldn't have wound up in the fairly decent gig she's in now. You can't calculate all the variables, since you don't even know what they are. So calculate the ones you can and do what seems best.

Hope this helps,
Trent
May not be wiser but....I AM
Nov 20, 2001 9:46 PM
You may not have noticed but the economy is in the tank and if you read the business section in the paper you would see companies announcing thousands of layoffs every day. If you have a job offer right now take it and consider yourself lucky, once the economy comes back then look for the perfect job. (if that really exists)
re: About the commuteSoftrider
Nov 21, 2001 10:51 AM
How many miles is it? An hour could mean 10 miles or 60 miles.

I assume since you are posting here that you are interested in commuting by bicycle.

My commute is about 20 miles each way, and only about 25 minutes by car. During the spring and summer I ride the bike about 3 days a week, which equates into 1 to 1.5 hours each way. You just have to develope a system for you clothing and cleanup once you get to work. Other than that it is a piece of cake.

I am going to ride those miles anyway, so I am actually saving time that I can use to spend with my family. I only get home about 45 minutes later in the evening when I ride the bike. If I didn't commute I would probably be out at least 3 evenings a week for 2 hours each ride (IF the wife would let me).

It is definately a viable alternative, even if you work quite a distance from home. You don't have to ride the bike everyday, just come up with a plan that works for you.
re: job advice from those wiser than myself...ScottV
Nov 24, 2001 10:37 AM
Make a list. Try to define what your priorities are.

I recently moved to a new town so I had a somewhat similar problem to deal with. I had two options when it came to finding a place to live.

1. Live close to work to have a short commute. Problem was that the area was not great for cycling and had no personality.

2. Live a 45 minute car commute from work. Bonus great place to live and good road and mountain biking right near my front door.

I choose 2.

Oh happy ending. I ended up discovering a great bike commute route that's 45 km round trip. I do this a few days a week during the warmer months. Means I don't have to rush home in the evening.