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Too Far to Commute, Too Close to Relocate

For whatever reason, perhaps the available jobs in your local vicinity are either not suitable or there may be few available. Let’s say, hypothetically, there is a job you are considering, you like them and they like you. They are willing to pay more money, but there is a two hour or longer one-way commute on a clear weather and good traffic day. However, it is a good job and the kind for which you have been looking, so you think beyond the commute issue, instead considering the good things and benefits for you and your family.

I’ve witnessed this sort of situation and, most often, accepting these circumstances is rationalized by focusing on the good or because of need, although I do warn candidates of the negatives to which they should give more credence. Everything starts out well, but often it isn’t long before I receive a call from the candidate who accepted the job, telling me they are unhappy, never home and the increased money they are earning is swallowed up by fuel and occasional hotel costs, when there is a snow storm or a late night at the office.

This distance of the commute could be such that it does not make sense to sell your house and relocate with all that includes, such as uprooting children, etc. A long commute can take its toll in many ways you may not have anticipated; not least of which is the total time you are commuting to and fro, combined with the time at work. This could mean, as an example, a four hours or more total commute time added to your work day, which is likely more than just 8 hours. If you’re lucky, you are still looking at a minimum of 12 hours per day and that doesn’t even account for bad weather, highway construction delays or spontaneous traffic snarls.

If you find yourself in such a situation, you must give equal consideration to the negative aspects of such a lifestyle change. It’s easy to justify the good things. I also assume most people recognize relocation should be the logical conclusion, once you’ve settled into the job. Indeed, I know some people who do the long distance marriage thing and see each other on weekends, if their company will pay the expense or pay enough to make that an option. We’re all different, but most people cannot live like this long term without it impacting their personal relationships. If you’re single, perhaps it isn’t a big deal, but you should not overlook the financial costs vs. benefits and remember that your time has value that is measurable, both in monetary and quality-of-life terms.