With the average daily U.S. commute at about 25 minutes, many workers are spending at least an hour traveling each day to and from work. For some densely populated cities, such as Chicago or New York, this average is 30 to 35 minutes, sometimes more.
Then, there are workers who are considered “extreme commuters,” who travel more than 90 minutes each way to their jobs each day (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau). That’s at least three hours spent in the car, on the bus, or otherwise, traveling every day to work.
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While you might be eager at the chance to jump at any job opportunity—no matter the commute—there are important things to consider before taking a job with a long commute. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:
1. Can you afford the costs? If you plan to commute with your personal car, the costs can be killer. Gas, car repairs, regular car maintenance, and public transportation costs are just some of the costs you might incur on your daily commute. Not to mention adding to pollution and increasing your health risks for things such as high blood pressure and musculoskeletal disorders.
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2. Is the job really worth it? Sure, you might be getting paid more money than if you accepted a job in your local area, but does the increased salary really make up for the other things you’ll need to worry about? Commuting costs, lost time, and more stress are just a few to consider.
3. Can you handle it? Will the trade-off ultimately be worth it? There are a lot of stories of workers taking on long commutes for what they think are good reasons, only to regret their decision in the end.
4. Will it eliminate a lot of your free time? Do you enjoy spending time off with family and friends? Do you like going to the movies during the week or enjoy helping your kids with homework? Think about how much free time accepting a job with a long commute might eliminate, and consider if you can accept not having as much time for things you enjoy.
What do you think? Would you accept a great job with a long commute? Have you had one before? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.