The new economic reality is forcing many to broaden their search for new employment. This means looking for jobs outside of their local area with commutes of an hour or more each way. But how much does a commute really cost? Is it just time, or are you wasting other precious resources too?
Long Commutes Costs Money
Your long commute is wasting precious time that you could be productive instead. If you work a job with an hourly pay rate, this will be quite clear. This is an extreme example, but let’s say you are a lawyer charging $250 per hour. Now assume you take 15 minutes of your commute per day on billable work. If you work 250 days per year, this amounts to over $15,000 earned a year. What could you do that money?
Not everyone works for $250 an hour, of course, but you can see how even small amounts can add up over time. And what about having a job where you don’t get paid by the hour? This is where the financial burden will be harder to calculate, but you can probably answer it for yourself. How much better could you do your job with an extra 30 minutes every day? How about an extra 15? Over the course of the year an extra 15 minutes per day adds up to over 60 hours of work. How much more effective could you be with 60 more hours of work?
Long Commutes are Stressful for the Entire Family
If you have a family, you know that long work hours are stressful on everybody. Each minute you get to spend with your spouse and children are important to the well being of the entire household. More time for having fun, and more time to discuss more serious subjects such as money matters too. Imagine getting home 30 minutes earlier everyday to have a family dinner, and the immense impact this would have on your family.
A recent study by a Swedish University found that commuting over 45 minutes to work increases the chance of divorce by 40%. With divorce rates going up in our country, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to increase the possibility of you and your spouse separating. Being aware of numbers like these before making the decision to start a job with a long commute is vital. Is the job more important than your family? Can you make it work? These are questions you need to ask yourself.
Long Commutes Affect Your Personal Health Too
Long commutes have adverse effects on your personal health as well. You could probably figure this out on your own, but how badly does sitting in the car for hours everyday affect you? A research by Brown University shows that if you spend 45 minutes driving to and from work, you will lose 2.3 minutes of exercise, 3.5 minutes preparing food and almost 20 minutes of sleep. These numbers seem small, but they become quite large when multiplied over a long period of time. With obesity on the rise, maybe exercising more and spending more time making healthy food would keep you from becoming a statistic.
What To Do
With employment harder to come by, a job offer could be irresistible even if it means long commutes. However, sitting in the car for hours on end are a waste of time you could be spending working, being with your family or sleeping. Long commutes take away from your health, your family’s health and the health of your finances all at the same time. Is your long commute and ultimately job worth the stress? You are the only one who can answer this very question.