Studies have long shown that a long commute is one of the most stressful experiences in a workers’ day. The unpredictability, the lack of control over the situation…it all contributes to deep unhappiness and/or severe road-rage that extreme commuters have all faced at one time or another. Slate just came out with an interactive graph that calculates average commute times by zip-code.
My most recent location is a mere 18 minutes in average commute time. My previous locations all clocked 20-30 minutes in average commute time, but I know from experience that I was – unfortunately – definitely above average in this aspect.
My longest commute was at my last job, where I drove 65 miles (more than 30 miles each way) to work every day. It was one of the most painful aspects of my job, as the commute would stretch from 40 minutes on a “good” traffic day to a mind-numbing hour-plus on a day with a few accidents or weather issues. Eventually I started working from home on Fridays, but the Monday to Thursday commute still took 7-8 hours of my life. (I couldn’t move closer to the office, because CB’s work was all the way at the other end of the county, and he had a 70 mile round-trip commute.)
Some commute, sometimes, is unavoidable, but I am hoping that I can structure my life to avoid the mega-commutes. At my next job, I hope to be able to live within a 15-20 minute drive of the office, maybe even closer. I do not know what kind of opportunity could make me a “megacommuter,” or someone who drives 90 minutes to work on a regular basis, but even if it’s an opportunity I can’t turn down, I would rather move than make a drive like that. A long commute is not just about the money you’d spend on transportation/increased housing prices, it’s about your quality of life.